A Brace of Borgwards is Heading to Auction

by Nik Berg
22 January 2024 2 min read
A Brace of Borgwards is Heading to Auction

Borgward was once one of Germany’s most popular and prestigious car brands, rivalling BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The company, founded by Carl Borgward, can trace its roots back as far as the early 1920s, with the first Borgward-branded vehicle appearing in 1937. In the 1950s, Borgward expanded its range with saloon, estate, and coupe variants of its charming Isabella, or “The Belle from Bremen”, as it became known.

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In 1956, Mike Hawthorn road-tested a Borgward for the Sunday Express and reported: “If only the German Borgward Isabella TS were British! Top speed was a decimal point below 100 mph. It goes! And it goes in comfort, and the petrol pumps are spaced a very long way apart.”

With high praise coming from a Formula 1 ace and car magazines of the day, demand was strong and more than 26,000 Borgwards were built in the company’s best year of 1955. Sadly, today Borgward is largely forgotten (despite a fairly recent failed attempt to revive the marque).

However, with two cars coming up for sale at Historics Auctioneers, could we see a revival of interest?

First up is rare right-hand-drive Isabella Combi from 1960. It’s reckoned to be one of just four such cars in the UK and is only being sold because the current owner is moving abroad. The car is said to be in pristine condition, with its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine routinely serviced over its 64,500 miles. With an estimated price of £14,000–£18,000, someone is going to get themselves a Borgward bargain with this highly unusual two-door estate.

The 1959 Isabella Coupé that will be auctioned alongside it is being sold by the Combi keeper’s next-door neighbour, who is a fellow member of the Borgward club. With its blue/back two-tone paintwork and Karmann Ghia–like styling, it’s a very pretty thing indeed. It is one of fewer than 10,000 Coupés made and was completely restored in 2000. It shows 61,000 miles on the clock, and its eccentric elegance tips it to sell for £18,000–£24,000.

“The Borgward marque is enormously revered amongst enthusiasts and once you drive one, you appreciate why,” says Stewart Banks of Historics. “Both the Combi and Coupé are a tremendous tribute to Carl Borgward, who not only founded and owned the company but was also its chief technician and designer. What’s more, the examples coming to sale are enticingly affordable and hugely collectable for their style and rarity value.”

The brace of Borgwards will feature among 180 classic and collector cars at Historics Ascot auction on 2 March.

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