The History of my Involvement with Borgward
Hi to all Borgward folks,
I am a 50 year old man who has a long relationship with Borgward cars. I was raised in a somewhat uncommon environment. I grew up in a fire station where my father was the manager director of the Gothenburg fire brigade and at one of the fire stations my family rented an apartment. Here there were many possibilities to learn how to care for and service a vehicle, as there were several garages and maintenance places for the fire vehicles. I soon learned to handle a welding machine, a car jack and the air compressor tools, making it rather easy to service an Isabella. Our family owned two Isabellas at the same time, a “Fishsilber” grey 1958 sedan and a “Graphite” grey 1960 sedan, so there were frequent opportunities to make repairs or service the vehicles. This was about 10 years after the Borgward bankruptcy, so the spare parts situation was not that good. I had to improvise and use my imagination but I also had the help of being given a spare parts Isabella as a gift from the former Borgward dealer in Gothenburg. This was a 1961 Isabella sedan that had been stored at the dealer without being sold. The car did not look nice, but it was only the front fenders that were rusty, so I set out to make it ready for the street as my first car when I got my drivers licence in 1971. Unfortunately, rear axle problems on the family cars occurred one after the other so the necessary parts came off my spare parts car and it was not possible to make the car street worthy any more. Instead, I had to start my driving in an Opel Rekord model A from 1964!
Many years later I saw an ad for an Isabella Coupe, stating “somewhat rebuilt,” but the price was affordable, only 500 EURO. I purchased this “Borgward /Volvo / Mercedes”, which was very much rebuilt and changed into a cheap looking MB Pagoda (MB 230/250/280 SL). The car was equipped with the MB “Fin Tail” head lamps and the rear end was cut off and replaced with the rear part from a MB /8. On top of all this the engine was exchanged for a Volvo B18 engine and a Volvo M40 gearbox. The steering wheel was a black MB one and most of the dashboard was gone. Not even the front seats were there, instead some sort of Toyota Corolla parts were installed. The bonus of this purchase was that the wood trim was still there (and in rather good shape), also door panels and the rear seat was with the car. After the purchase I got a membership in the Swedish Borgward Club, and I now started to collect spare parts for a real restoration to an original Isabella Coupe. I purchased an Isabella sedan to have something to drive to the annual meetings and I also purchased an extra spare part Isabella TS (with a Golde canvas sunroof) and an empty Isabella TS de Luxe body with additional spare parts such as fenders, front and rear axles, interior and other necessary parts. Over the years, I have come across a lot of NOS parts for Borgward and I have also collected used parts from various old-timer markets. In 1996 I purchased a “not that much” rebuilt Isabella Coupe (also with a Volvo B18 engine) and the first coupe is still waiting for the “restoration”. The value of a totally restored Isabella Coupe has also changed over the last 20 years. Now you cannot acquire an Isabella Coupe in good shape under 20 000 EURO, and the spare parts situation has also much improved making it easier to achieve a total restoration.
I have also expanded my library of Borgward literature over the years and I am now in possession of nearly every book that has been printed concerning the Borgward Empire (some 30 different titles are in my possession). The internet has also given me access to lots of pictures and technical information and not to forget I have now Borgward friends all over the world, in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, USA, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Germany, England, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
For the moment, I am the secretary of the Swedish Borgward Club and I have been the editor of the Club magazine “Borgward-Nytt” between 1998 and 2002. On my Borgward Links page I try to keep updated with all relevant links and with interesting pictures. If you have any questions regarding Borgward products do not hesitate to send an E-mail to me (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)