A forgotten German nameplate sets its sights on a rebirth.
By Eric Bryan
Borgward is hardly a household name today, but in the 1950s and early 1960s, this German carmaker was rivaling Volkswagen and some of its models were outperforming Porsches! Founded by Carl F. W. Borgward, the Bremen-based company produced a broad range of cars, trucks and a utility helicopter.
Borgward had great success from its first vehicle in the 1920s to its famous Isabella cars in the 1950s. But by 1959, time was running out for Borgward: a combination of circumstances led to the company ceasing production in 1962. Daimler-Benz and BMW filled the void and all but eclipsed the memory of Borgward as a German car brand.
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward was born November 10, 1890 in Altona, Hamburg. From a large family, Carl’s father worked as a coal seller. As a child, Borgward used to tinker after school and around 1900 he built his first motorized toy car of cogs, screws and a clock spring drive unit. He attended the Hamburg Machine Construction School and worked as an engineer’s apprentice for machine manufacturer Mencke and Hambrock in Altona. After graduating, Borgward enrolled at the Technical High School in Hannover and held a job in a steel manufacturer’s office.
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