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Video 1954 Isabella
Video 1954 World Record Car
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          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Borgward Isabella

Its predecessor - Hansa - was the first reconstruction with pontoon body after the Second World War in Germany in 1949. Its larger brother introduced the air suspension into the upper middle class. The Borgward Isabella was presented in 1954 and supplemented in 1957 by a nearly independently designed coupe (see picture). Besides the modern design, the performance of the engine with 55 KW (75 HP) and the pendulum wheel suspension were pointed out. It was a relatively short-stroke 1500-cm³-engine. The end of the entire Borgward production came in 1962.

Although there are a lot of other Borgward products in even greater quantities, Isabella may well be the the best known. Even today, the harmonic shape impresses and if one only considers its time of origin around 1953, the automotive progress will be really clear by this car.

The small BMW in the fifties ...

They say the boss Carl Borgward -behind closed doors - has developed , starting from the more rustic shape of Hansa sedan this much more filigree. The name for the car said to have originated from a flippant remark by Borgward as test drivers were asking for a cover name for the prototype.

Whether coincidence or not, the name 'Isabella' is suitable for the as 'nice' perceived shape of the car and the time in which advanced auto nations make efforts women also to win as drivers and thus naturally as buyers. The Coupe derived therefrom succeed it even into the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Here will be particularly evident a certain lightness in the design, in Germany the most products lack developing at that time. The rear fender of the coupe look more Italian perhaps also the influence of the Karmann Ghia of 1955. Consequently, the successor of the Isabella should be styled also by the Italian Frua but it never comes.

Completely revolutionary the technology of this Borgward is not. The standard engine brings it to 44 kW (60 HP) from 1.5 liters of displacement however, even has a cylinder head from light alloy. Definitely not a bad value and good for 135 km/h. Later there is theTS model with 55 kW (75 hp) and 150 km/h. Compared with competitors in any case, a noteworthy feature.

If one now considers that instead of the usual rigid axle rear is installed a swing axle with a little more effort, the price of 7200 DM is already a sensation. However, thus will be earned only a little money, one reason for the liquidity shortage of the Carl Borgward company.

Typical for companies with only one head: They are quicker with new products on the market. Typical of big companies: they need more time, but sometimes roll over the smaller ones. Thus, Ford and Opel can not compete with this price-performance ratio but then develop alternative shapes like the Rekord P1 or later the famous 17 m. Would the company still have existed in 1963, it would not have been easy to compete with a Rekord A.

Also, the 'lady' is not free of shortcomings at the beginning. Its body is said a lack of stability and bad paintwork, criticizes the gear changing. Some people are disturbed by the ergonomics for the driver, but still conjures only the word "Isabella," a gloss on the faces of elderly car enthusiast. Contrary to other Borgward products one has here obviously managed the changeover from the charm of novelty to the solidity of tried and tested. 10/11


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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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