The Borgward Hansa 1500 RS emerged from the 1,000-kilometer race at the Nürburgring as class winners, and finished third overall behind a 4.5-litre Ferrari and a Jaguar.
Legendary was the 1953 Carrera Panamericana, with two Hansa 1500 RS race cars competing against the Porsche Spyders. It would have ended with a class victory –if the leading Borgward had not exceeded the stage’s three-hour time limit by a mere seven seconds. That same year, Borgward entered two cars in the 24 Heures du Mans.
Borgward also documented notable successes in touring car racing, including a particularly remarkable achievement in 1954, when a more-or-less standard-equipped Isabella finished the Carrera Panamericana in sixth place in the European touring car class.
In 1956, Borgwards’s racing division in Bremen set about developing a 1.5-liter four-valve engine, based on the Isabella, with fuel injection and dual ignition. The resulting 150hp engine powered the Borgward RS to numerous class victories. In 1959, this model was ideal for the newly established 1.5-liter Formula Two. Stirling Moss was driving a Cooper-Borgward and recorded four wins in the first four races. The famous racecar driver is quoted as saying that Formula Two meant little to him at the time – until he sat in the Cooper with the Borgward engine.
Weighing in at just 650 kilograms and generating an output of 165hp, the Borgward Hansa RS 1500 was the most feared opponent of the 135hp Porsche 550 Spyder in the 1.5-liter class. The Hansa RS also had a 1.5-liter engine, which powered the aluminum racer to more than 155 mph – and this at the end of the 1950s. “The engine was brilliant,” said owner Ralf Jüttner, “Simply an outstanding performer.” This was the view of an expert – as managing director of Joest Racing, he is responsible for Audi’s Le Mans entries. Motor racing is in his blood: In 1949, his father Fritz was both a member of Borgwards’s racing division and a Borgward racecar driver.
It was Fritz Jüttner who rescued the Borgward RS – without an engine – from the remnants of the racing division. Once a suitable power unit was found, a restoration project that spanned across several years’ time was undertaken. From the 1970s onwards, Fritz Jüttner frequently took to the wheel of the RS in vintage car races. He was joined by his son Ralf, who also helped out in the pits. When Fritz Jüttner passed away in 1985, Ralf inherited the sports car that was sitting in his father’s garage. Nowadays, when it’s not out on the racetrack, the Borgward Hansa RS 1500 can be admired in the Prototype Car Museum in Hamburg.