History of Borgward
It is November the 10th 1890 when in Altona Carl F.W. Borgward is born. At home, as the only boy between 12 sisters, his technical feelings where not understood. Carl Borgward keeps himself busy by making little cars witch are driven by the springs of clocks and watches.
After his technical education at the "Hoheren Machinenbauschule" in Hamburg, Carl Borgward went working as a young engineer in Bremen en Berlin. When Carl Borgward returns wounded to Bremen after World War I, his first priority is to marrying and raising a family. In 1919 Carl Borgward begins as an independent
entrepreneur, he becomes a partner in the "Bremer Reifenindustrie" at the Forhenstrasse in Bremen-Hastedt and he is allowed to lead this company. Although the will name suspect differently, this company makes everything from kitchen equipment to small agricultural machines.
Because this is not very profitable he searches for other markets. He succeeds in capturing an order to make radiators and mud-guards for the "Bremer Hansa Lloyd Werken", who have lots of work in fixing the heavily damaged cars which came out of the war.
In 1921 he takes over the company and names it "Bremer Kuhlerfabrik Borgward & Co".
Now Carl Borgward can finally carry out his old idea of making a car himself. The first prototype is a small sportive twositter, but as he has neither the money, nor the room needed
to make the car all by himself, he lets it built by the "Hansa-Loyd Werke".
With the money he makes with this transaction, he buys a piece of land at the Steinstrasse 28, where he builds a new business which is put into use in 1922.
It takes until
1924 before his first motor-car comes of the assembly-line. It is the "Blitzkarren" (a kind of motorized carrier cycle) with a 2,2 Hp engine. The prize was 980.- Mark.
The "Blitzkarren" is developed for internal transportation in his own factories but it is Carl Borgward's aim to also sell the little car outside his own business. At first this goes very laborious but, after a certain Wilhelm Tecklenborg who sees something in the
"Blitzkarren", becomes a co-partner in the company and engages himself with the selling, it soon gets better. Certainly at the end of 1925 when the "Deutsche Reichspost" starts using them for delivery and emptying the letterboxes, the little car becomes a well known phenomenon in the streets. This is the best publicity you can imagine.
Carl Borgward is a very active man, by now he is thinking bout a more modern and powerful tricycle car This becomes the model Goliath and will be produced besides the smaller Blitzkarren. The factory in the Steinstrasse is becoming to small for this expansion. Borgward buys an old factory in the Industriestrasse and after a radical reconstruction the Borgward company moves in
at the end of 1925.
In 1928 the companies name is changed to "Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co GmbH".
Business is booming and the new factory is already growing to small. Carl now buys the company "Bremer Carosserie-Werke" in the Fohrenstrass who are having difficult financial times. This company is oppositte the "Bremer Hansa Lloyd Werken".
1929 The Bremer Hansa Lloyd Werken are on the edge of bankruptcy. Carl Borgward and Wilhelm Tecklenborg acquire a majority in this company and take charge.
1930 Borgward developes a small truck, the Superior which can carry 1,5 metric tons. Because Hansa Lloyd was already developing more modern trucks and Borgward took over the factory, the Superior was only produced until 1931.
1931 In the Hansa-Lloyd factory a number of truck types, developed by the old company, are built and refined by Carl Borgward. More information about this is available on the Hansa-Lloyd page.
On the end of this year the gentleman take over Hansa-Lloyd and change its name to "Hansa-Lloyd und Goliath-Werke Borgward &Tecklenborg oHG".
1932 De first Goliath tricycle passenger car leaves the factory gates. In three years 4000 of them are built.
1934 Borgward introduces two new cars. The Hansa 400 and the Hansa 500. They where small cars that could carry four passengers but their introduction was a few years overdue. The crisis was coming to an end and the customers where getting more demanding 1934 Borgward introduces two new cars. The
Hansa 400 and the Hansa 500. They where small cars that could carry four passengers but their introduction was a few years to late. The crisis was coming to an end and the customers where getting more demanding.
The first serious cars came later this year. The Hansa 1100 and 1700 come on the market. They are an instantaneous success. They get great reviews from the press and sells are so successful that you have to wait six months for one. The market leaders Opel, Ford, Adler, Hanomag and Wanderer carefully follow these new
Hansa 1700 Cabriolet
1935 Borgward develop their first sports car, the Hansa 1700 Sport.
1936 Borgward starts with the development of big luxury cars and comes up with the "Hansa 3500 Privat" powered by an six cylinder 3.5 liter straight six and 90 bhp. Business is so good that the Hansa-Lloyd factory is rapidly becoming to small. In Hemelingen Borgward makes a deal with the mayor to buy farmland and build a
car plant on it.
1937 On the automobile and motorcycle show in Berlin Borgward introduces two new models, the "Hansa 1500 Windspiel" and the "Hansa 2000". Carl Borgwards relation with Tecklenborg gets worse and he quickly buys his share of the company.
1938 Borgward opens the new factory "Sebaldsbruck". It’s grounds measure 223,000 square meters and unlike the other factories of it’s time there are gardens surrounding the buildings and factory halls are light and spacious. At the end of 1938 General Major von Schell is put in charge of the factory by the German
government and Carl Borgward is forced to concentrate the production on middleweight trucks and luxury car.
1939 The start of WW II and Carl Borgward is only allowed to produce one model, the “Borgward 2300” which is a further developed version of the “Hansa 2000”. He also receives orders to build trucks, torpedo's and flak anti-aircraft guns.
1942 The truck model B 3000 A is taken into production. This model only slightly differs from a already pre-war developed type.
1944 Allied bombardments in the middle of October 1944 destroy 87% of the Bremen Hastedt factory and 58% in Bremen
1945 Carl Borgward is arrested by the Americans and serve 2,5 years in prison.
1946 Just as after WW I the Germans are ordered by the English to repair the remaining cars with used and new parts. It is not allowed to build new cars. Despite this Borgward introduces a new model of the B 3000, this time with a new rear-wheel drive.
1947 Besides the 3 metric-tons truck a 1 ton truck is taken into production. Model B 1000. ( More information on the Borgward trucks can be found on the “Truck” page)
1948-1949 Because of a lack of raw materials every company gets an even share. This is the reason that Carl Borgward splits his company into "Goliath Werk GmbH", "Lloyd Maschinenfabrik GmbH" and "Automobil- und Motorenwerke Carl F.W. Borgward GmbH".
In 1949 the “Borgward Hansa 1500” is introduced. A model with a so-called pontonconstruction. (headlights integrated in the wings, no footboards next to the doors). This model was far ahead of his time.
1950 Even before the war Carl Borgward wanted to build a racecar but the war came in between. He now builds the "Borgward Hansa 1800 Typ Inka" which breaks the 1000-mile record.
1952 Carl Borgward wants to penetrate in a higher segment of the luxury cars and launches the "Borgward Hansa 2400". This car gets a very bad press: bad brakes, a bad automatic transmission and poor visibility from the car. No wonder that the car sells very bad. Until 1955 only 1032 where sold. Borgward also introduces the
"Borgward Hansa 1800". Because there only marginal differences with the 1500 this is also no hit.
Borgward Hansa 2400
1954 The Isabella introduced in June was a real hit. In 1954 only Borgward sold 11000 Isabella’s. This car was the best buy of it’s time. Carl Borgward’s slogan was: “You can’t get more car for your money anywhere”.
1955 The Isabella models Combi and TS (sport) are presented, 35 % of the production is shipped into the United States. In all the Borgward Group produces 108.000 vehicles this year.
In this very year Chrysler makes a huge bid of a total of 200.000.000 Marks, this on the condition that it gets 51 % of the company shares, Carl Borgward refuses the offer.
Also the new "Borgward Hansa 2300 Pullman" is built. Again it is not successfully.
1957 Two more models of the Isabella are launched, They are the "Isabella TS de Luxe" and the "Isabelle Coupe", a car which even now is called the most beautiful car of all times. In this year the 500.000th car since the end of WW II is produced.
1958 Helicopters are going to make it and there the future lies Carl Borgward thought, but after a long period of testing, the money eating project is put on ice.
1959 On the IAA in Frankfurt the new Borgward 2300 is shown. It was the companies most prestigious model and was the first German serial built car with air suspension. Later this model is called the "P 100" and it looked like it was to become a success.
This year is the best year in the history of Borgward, the sales of the Borgward company raises to an amount of 632 miljoen DM.
1960 In the first half of this year one had to wait for months to get a new Isabella delivered, but in the second part suddenly everything turned out differently. The American company that imports the Borgward cars goes bankrupt and the dealers there are canceling over 9000 orders.
Also the in 1959 introduced "Lloyd Arabella" appears to have all kinds of defects and the first 1000 models are called back to the factory for improvements, even while this car already is sold at a loss.
All this leads to great difficulties within the Borgward company and the months after this are dramaticly. When the paper "Der Spiegel" publishes an article of 14 pages bout the problems inside the Borgward company, the disaster is complete. Sales are going down and the company is left with enormous stocks.
1961 It looked like everything was turning out well, Borgward seems to be saved by a plan of the Senate. Only this requires an amount of 10 million Marks. The banks are refusing this option and the suppliers won't deliver any goods.
It is a total disaster. The reorganization of the Borgward company is done by Johannes Semler (founder and chairman of the board at BMW).
At the end of 1961....... Borgward is bankrupt..........
The production lines of the Isabella and the P100 are sold to an Mexican entrepreneur who has plans to produce these cars in Latin America.
1963 Carl Borgward dies on the 28th of July exactly two years after the bankruptcy of his company.
1965 Der Spiegel reports that the Borgward company had easily could overcome the problems in 1961 with a little help, the company didn't had to go bankrupt at all.