By Rod Ward
Carl Borgward is one of those characters who fascinate automotive historians. He was, like so many entrepreneurs, single-minded, autocratic and often disagreeable. His only interest was in his cars, not in the details of running a business, especially where money was concerned, and that blind-spot would ultimately spell his downfall. Carl Borgward’s achievements, and his lost opportunities, are described in this publication. Borgward owners attested to the high standard of design, construction and materials used in their cars; much higher than one could expect for the price, especially in the case of the Isabella. In fact the standard was too high for the prices charged, so it would always be hard for Borgward to make a profit. Owners were very loyal to the Borgward brand, keeping their cars much longer than those made by competitors. Little things like fully-adjustable seats, counterweighted bonnet and boot lids, reversing lights and selectable parking lights may be standard issue in the 21st century, but in the 1950s they were exceptionally rare in a middle-priced car. Here we cover the stories of Goliath, Hansa and Lloyd cars as Carl Borgward grew to prominence, the postwar stories of all the Borgward Group products including the Hansa, Isabella and Arabella, and the excursion into helicopter design with Focke (the stories of Focke-Wulf and Focke-Achgelis are also told here). The sad and unnecessary ending of Borgward Group and the life of its founder are also described. In 2016 the marque was revived by the founder’s grandson.