Borgward Isabella Coupe

Another car that I saw at the Technik Museum Speyer that I had heard of, but had never seen before, was the Isabella Coupe.  The car shown was a 1958 model.  The Borgward Isabella is a medium-sized car that was manufactured by Carl F. W. Borgward GmbH in Bremen, Germany from 1954-1962.

Borgward Isabella Coupe at Technik Museum Speyer

The Borgward Isabella had a 75 horsepower 1493cc inline 4 cylinder OHV engine of 75 x 84.5 mm bore and stroke with a single downdraft carburetor, fitted to an extremely short intake manifold inside the rocker box. This approach made the Borgward Isabella look like it had an OHC engine.  The Borgward Isabella had a top speed in the 85 – 90 mph range.

 

Borgward Isabella Engine

The car was rather light so it was able to get about 34 miles per gallon.

 

The Borgward Isabella in Profile

The Borgward Isabella had a four-speed column-mounted transmission.  The interior was rather spartan in comparison to the stylish exterior.

Ignore the Tacky Dice Hanging From the Mirror

 

The body of the Borgward Isabella has a certain 1950s American look to it.  The body was a unit construction body with separate front and rear sub frames. The front suspension featured unequal wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and an anti roll bar.  At the rear the car had a fully independent swing axle, with featuring coil springs, and telescopic shock absorbers.  Drum brakes were provided on both the front and back wheels.

The Rear Deck of the Borgward Isabella Looks Large

Borgward declared a controversial bankruptcy in 1961.  The Government of the state of Bremen (where Borgwards were built) claimed that Borgward was insolvent,and then effectively compulsorily acquired the company.  Evidently some schemes which might have saved the firm were ignored, putting the cars out of production and selling up the assets.  All creditors were paid in full, which suggests that the company might not have been insolvent.

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12 Responses to Borgward Isabella Coupe

  1. ajholt says:

    hi my name is aj holt i am form rimbey alberta i juts moved here to live with my uncle and he has had this isabella 2 door 4 cyl car sitting out back in the woods and i dragged it out and i was juts woundering if u could give me some info on the engine and the how tos simple? or not and easy ways to restor one of the motors and ya what is compatable form todays tecnolagy pelase and thanks

    • Hi AJ!
      Restoring a Borgward engine in North America would not be very easy. And when you are finished the market for such an engine in North America would be very small. It would a better use of your time to find a buyer in Germany who might be interested in the good parts that might be on your uncle’s car. One of the hardest parts of any potential restoration project is to recognize the reality of the marketplace. Just because it might be possible to restore a car, it does not mean that you should restore a car.

      Regards,
      Steve

    • barry says:

      we just stumbled on this website. We live south of High River Alberta and also have a borgward isabell combine wagon. it still runs. would you be interested in buying it?

      • Hi Barry,
        I have too many projects right now, but perhaps someone will see this and be interested. If you send me a picture(s) of the Borgward, then I would be pleased to post it on my website with any other information you might want to include. My email address is: shanna12 at comcast dot net

        Regards,
        Steve

      • Ron Engle says:

        Hi Barry,
        I might be interested. Could you send me a photo, info and a price? My email is: ronengle@gte.net.
        Thanks,
        Ron in Minnesota

  2. oldcarjunkie says:

    Lots of Borgwards in Alberta for some reason. There used to be a coupe in Calgary – very rusty. http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/465491250/

  3. Robert Ings says:

    Hi Steve,

    I bought Barry’s Combi and would like to get in touch with A.J. Holt about the Borgward he found in his uncles field – I would be interested in buying it for parts of perhaps a restoration if it is a TS.
    Do you have any other contact info for AJ? If possible would you mind passing my email on to him? I am wildworld@hotmail.com.
    Thanks very much!
    Rob Ings

    • Hi Rob,
      I do have AJ’s email address. I will contact him directly and privately in case that he does not want his email address displayed publically. I will provide him with your address as noted in your message and then he can contact you.

      Good luck with the Borgward and please send me some information about your project as it moves forward!

      Regards,
      Steve

  4. Robert Ings says:

    Hi Steve – I never did hear from AJ about his borgward, but I tracked down another Isabella in Tofield, Alberta. It is a 1957 or ’58 model, but not a TS. The engine is siezed, but the seller has a complete replacement engine/transmission assembly sitting on a pallette. The body is actually quirte nice, with minor rust-through in the passenger footwell area. The spare parts are what really caught my eye, as there are spare fenders, doors, steering column and instrument cluster. I bought the whole package, but I think I am going to look for a buyer for the car, and keep the parts for my Combi. If you hear fo anyone looking for an Isabella, please forward my information to them. And if AJ ever does get in touch with you again, I am very interested in seeing what he has, or helping him find parts if he is restoring it.

    Regards,
    Rob Ings

    • Hi Rob,
      If you send me some information about the car and possibly some pictures of the parts car that you now want to sell, then I would be pleased to post the information on the website. It might be easier for a visitor to find in a titled posting rather than rooting through a bunch of comments.

      If AJ or anyone does contact me about these cars, I will have them get in touch with you.

      Good luck with your restoration, I know that it is difficult with a car that was not particularly common.

      Good to hear from you!
      Steve

  5. Robert Steen says:

    Borgward International Spareparts.
    The Netherlands

    Robert Steen.
    Phone: 0031 24 6417030.
    Fax: 0031 246456291
    Mobile: 0031 630561752
    E.mail: robsteen@online.nl

  6. Jerry Lips says:

    Hello Steve, My wife and I are visiting Krefeld,Germany. I was here 26 years ago. In 1986 I brought my collection of oldtimers from Denver to sell thru Ford Kuhn. The 40 cars included 3 Borgward coupes’,a MB Ponton cabriolet, BMW 600,Goliath 1100, and many American cars from the 30’s 40’s,and 50’s. I sold several of these cars in Krefeld. I would drive early each Sunday morning and park on Konigs ally in Dusseldorf. It took 4 months to sell them all. I came back now to see some of the people that purchased those cars. I still have one Coupe’ that I didn’t sell, It’s titled as a 1959, but it really is a 1958 because it has the large diamond grill that extends into the hood.I bought a lot of Borgward cars from Dean Wolf before he sold all remaining cars and parts to a German man that came to Denver and packed everything in containers and shipped them to Germany. If you are close to the Dusseldorf area I would enjoy meeting another Borgward fan. Best Regards, Jerry Lips

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