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1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe Barn Find

It still amazes us how many of the barn finds we come across are being sold because the owner parked the car with the dream of someday restoring it, but never got around to it. That’s the case with this 1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe, which has had the last three owners buy and park the car with the dream of restoring it one day. Well that day has still yet to come, so the current owner has decided to move it on in hopes that the next owner will actually do it. If your up for taking on this project, find it here on eBay.

Restoring a car is an expensive and often difficult process, which likely explains why so many cars never get finished. Sometimes best intentions can do more damage to a car than anything else, but thankfully this car has been stored indoors and hasn’t been messed with. The previous owner bought the car after finding it parked, but simply moved it into their large collection of cars that were parked in their estate and this car was among those cars that were sold off after their death. Just as the two previous owners had done, the current owner parked the car indoors and left it to sit.

The interior looks to be in nice shape but could benefit from a good cleaning. The driver’s seat is in need of repairs, but a good upholstery shop should be able to fix it without recovering the seat. One other major issue we see is the damaged windshield, but thankfully the seller has a replacement that comes with the car. A little work and this interior could look like new.

This car still has its original 1.5 liter straight four, which still runs smoothly. However, the seller states that while it runs the oil pressure is very low. This could be a big issue or a simple fix, but will likely involve pulling at least part of the engine apart to find out. The seller does have a couple of extra engines that are included with the car, plus boxes of parts for it. This should make this project a bit easier. Borgward’s engine was known for its reliability and quality, so it’s no surprise that it still runs after all these years. We just hope that it can be kept running for at least another 50 years.

We’ve come to love the looks of the Borgward Isabella Coupe and we think we would enjoy having this one. It is in need of some work, but looks to be a good starting point and all the extra parts are a huge bonus. It would be a struggle deciding whether to restore it or leave it original and just get it running and driving. A car is only original once, right? We don’t care which route the next owner takes as long as they actually get the car back on the road instead of letting it sit. What would you do with it? Restore it or leave it original?


  1. paul

    While I don’t know much about these cars, I do remember them driving around. This looks like it is all their, so go through it mechanically, replace the windshield, maybe rechrome the bumpers & a good detail.

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  2. Joe Herald

    Would someone who is familiar with these vehicles help me understand the engine configuration. It looks like the carburetor is sitting on top of the cylinder head.

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  3. Gnrdude

    PUT it in H!!!! It Goes a 150 Hectares on a Single Tank Of Kerosene! Just Remember to SENd your Friends to Crazy Baklevs USED cars!!!!

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  4. Cynthia

    Good looking car. Reminds me of the Nash Healey coupe. I’d leave it as is and get it running. I see them in Germany at shows a lot.

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  5. Horse Radish

    Leave it alone !

    Everything else would be foolish !!

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  6. Dan Farrell

    Is it a side valve, ohv or ohc engine, anyone know?

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  7. Europa TC

    I saw these when I was young. They are quirky with a little over the top ginger bread design………..I like them. But, parts and who would work on it………..
    The color combo is just right.

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  8. Dolphin Member

    This Borgward engine does look like it has the carb sitting on top of the head, but it’s actually on a short intake manifold that’s inside the engine top cover. The exhaust manifold is on the side of the silver head as shown in one of the photos. At first glance it looks like this could be an overhead cam engine, but it’s really an overhead valve engine.

    These Isabella Coupes were very well crafted and cost more to make than was sustainable based on the selling price, so unfortunately they helped to bring down Borgward, which ended in bankruptcy.

    Some people don’t care for the proportions of the small greenhouse and long trunk, but they were very well made cars and had a beautiful interior that was pure 1950s. However, with such a small company and unsustainable economics and money flow, it was only a metter of time before they went under.

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  9. swm

    Had a neighbor in Edmonds, wa. with a car exactly like this one (that plate looks vaguely familiar..). He also had an Auto Union van and would switch one plate between the two vehicles assuming the local cops were too stupid to catch him.

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  10. Sam Berr

    Looks to me like a 65-66 mustang 6cyl radiator

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  11. Chris

    I rebuilt a Borgward TS engine. OHV engine w/ verticle intake manifold partially cast into head, rest in valve cover. What look likes cam covers are valve access covers for setting intake/exhaust valves. Carb should be twin throat Solex. Air cleaner is not stock. Stock a/cover is wide and flat. Easy engine to work on.

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  12. Chuck Z

    Fell in love with car back in 57 NAS Pensacola

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  13. Johanna Friedt

    I used to have a 1958 Isabella Coupe beautiful fun car to drive, mine had a 5 speed on steering column. Had to familiarize with 5 speed, however I learned on standards so was easy. Only problem when I owned it was had white metal and at the time I owned this car wasn’t many shops that could weld white metal. Had a drunk that ran into my car when it was parked, had to phone eastern Canada to order body parts. So had parts replaced and opportunity came to purchase 59 Ht Chevy Belair so my Borgward got sold.

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