In the classic car world, manufacturers come and go, with some never to be heard from again. Others have been revived for a modern audience, with Borgward being a prime example of a brand that can be born anew. Founded in the early 20th century, the marque specialised in luxury vehicles across four brands until it went out of business in 1961. Borgward was started up again in 2008 by the grandson of founder Carl Borgward. We’re looking back on the history of the marque to chart its journey up to the present.
Originally, Borgward was an amalgamation of other brands that included Hansa, Goliath and Lloyd. Hansa and Lloyd merged together in 1914 to form Hansa-Lloyd-Werke AG. After WW1, owner of Goliath-Blitzkarren, Carl Borgward stepped in to help the company from going bankrupt. Borgward had designed a vehicle in 1924 called the Blitzkarren, a small three-wheeled van that helped traders with deliveries.
By 1929, Borgward had become the director of Hansa-Lloyd, merging the company with Goliath. After WW2, Borgward decided to use the brand names he’d acquired to create three different companies: Goliath, Lloyd and Borgward. This was done to increase the amount of steel for his business during a time of rationing. Although the companies were intended to be run as a single organisation, it led to a series of legal complications that would eventually lead to bankruptcy.
The 1950s involved a lot of expansion for the company, with the Borgward Isabella being created in 1954. A stylish vehicle, the Isabella had an extravagant exterior and spacious interior. Around 11,150 Isabella’s were produced early on, ensuring that it would become the most commercially successful Borgward ever.
Another car that was developed during this period was the Borgward P100. It came with a traditional three-box design that Borgward had innovated in 1949. Debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the P100 had a similar structure to the Isabella.
Bankruptcy and revival
While Borgward developed some outstanding vehicles, the company faced financial difficulties. This culminated in Borgward going into liquidation in 1961, though a lot of controversy surrounded the decision. Carl Borgward insisted that his businesses weren’t insolvent because creditors didn’t lose any money. Several conspiracy theories revolve around the event and for many years it seemed that Borgward was gone for good.
However, in 2008, Borgward’s grandson Christian set up Borgward Group AG in Stuttgart. Backed by Chinese automotive group Beiqi Foton Motor, the new company manufactured SUVs. The company is also keen to become a leading marque in the electric vehicle sector, developing an electric SUV called the BXi7. With electric cars becoming more popular, it appears Borgward has a bright future ahead of it.