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Borgward Isabella (1954 - 1961)

Last updated 25 August 2013

 
4
Beautifully engineered and good to drive, too
You'll need good connections in Germany to keep it on the road
202,862
were produced
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Introduction

Fondly regarded today as an elegantly understated saloon that should have sold more, the Isabella was Borgward’s staple product during the latter half of the 1950s. More importantly, it sold moderately enough to keep the company afloat during these financially trying times. In standard form, the Isabella was offered in saloon or estate form, and was a technically conservative evolution of the earlier Hansa model. So called because Borgward engineers wanted to put a badge on a pre-production model to disguise the car’s origins and not run the risk of being identified when testing on public roads. Carl Borgward suggested Isabella – his wife’s name – and it stuck into production.

Despite being based on the Hansa, the Isabella remained advanced for its time. It featured aluminium alloy construction and boasted fine build quality. Separate front and rear rubber-mounted subframes for improved noise insulation were a nice touch too. The saloon version was followed up by the launch of coupe and convertible models, which seemed to perfectly suit the curvaceous and glamorous style of the marque. The 1498cc engines might not have endowed the car with sparkling performance, but it did little to dent the car’s solid all-round appeal. Parts supply is still good to this day, but only in Germany.

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