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1959 Borgward Isabella Field Find


Long-time Barn Finds readers will remember we’ve covered Borgward Isabellas before. With very unique styling and a fairly advanced small four-cylinder engine, the pretty German coupe was a very different offering when new. This one has been sitting in a field in College Station, Texas since 1971 when a college student left it for some brake work and never returned. I wonder if the work was ever completed? Anyway, the windshield, rear window and a side window were broken out at some point and the floor pans rusted out as a result (the proximity to the ground might have helped as well). The seller has taken the rims to be powder coated and is putting new tires on the car so it can be rolled around. No title is included with this sale, which you can find here on eBay with bidding still below $600, but also below whatever the reserve is. If you’ve resurrected a car that’s been outside for this long, tell us your story in the comments – and let us know what you think of this Borgward.


  1. Luke Fitzgerald


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    • Horse Radish

      gotta love those constructive comments.
      I bet you drive a Camry

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  2. Chris A.

    Unfortunately Luke may be right, but this Borgward deserves better. The coupes are rarer than the 2 dr Isabella sedans and this may be a good source of restoration parts for someone restoring a coupe in better condition. I had a 1958 Isabella TS sedan and once it was fixed up it was a pretty neat car. The TS engine had about 65 hp connected to a 4 on the column shift with independent suspension all around. Solid build with Bosch and Ate electrics and brakes. Nice ride, reasonable handling and easy to work on. Mine went over 70K miles and it held up well. Borgward built trucks and it shows on how tough these are. After 55 years of being an orphan it might be hard to find parts, but there is a club.

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  3. redwagon

    wow. this was 12 yrs old when it was abandoned. no wonder the student never came back. wonder where they are now.

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  4. don

    scrap money at best, not worth saving, not sure why they are powder the wheels and put new tires on it, not worth the effort.

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    • Horse Radish

      Wow this post is just littered with go-getters and people gushing with enthousism

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  5. Randy Forbes

    I’m pretty sure that the only one I ever saw was parked in the driveway of a house somewhere on the San Francisco peninsula. I remember it being in relatively perfect original condition, in coral & ivory 2-tone colors, inside and out, and it was a Sunday morning during Fall in 1972.

    A friend and I were passing out handbills door to door (paid $10.00/day and all the walking you could do) when in the__VERY__early morning light, still covered with dew, I spotted the car. I knew what it was immediately (I read Road & Track, you know…) and said the name before we got up to it. Well he practically falls down laughing, thinking I called it a Bork-Wort (which he repeated with some with some snorts thrown in for sound effects)! and then I’m laughing, almost to point of peeing on myself!

    I guess you would’ve had to have been there; it was after all, San Francisco in the 1970s… ;)

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  6. Fred

    I recall being fascinated by these when I ran across a couple in “Prince Jame’s” junkyard in Pensacola FL around 1970. At the time, parts off it probably would have run around a quarter to a dollar.

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  7. Dolphin Member

    Well, the wheels will look good once they are powder coated black and have new tires.

    Once that’s done this will be a parts car because it will have some good wheels and tires and maybe a few drivetrain and chrome/trim parts. Everything else is either trashed, missing, or rusted away, unfortunately.

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  8. viking

    This were very well made cars, my dad traded in a couple of them in his dealer ship, so I got to work on them, the were named HANSA borgward isabella in europe.

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    • Horse Radish

      Hansa was another Car company in the same group of, though both were individual, manufacturers. Both German car makers long gone but very resourceful right after WWII.

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  9. john maurin

    I have a 1940 Plymouth that my father bought in 1949. It has not run since 1959 but we still keep it turned over so it is not stuck and will run as long is there is gas in the carb. It is all complete with no rust or hardly any dents. I plan to restore it soon. I am now 66 years old.

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  10. Robert W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Passed on an engine and transmission for one of these, it spun and he wanted $500.00 for it. Almost bought it to put in the workshop. Sweet looking mill.

    Loved their cars, wished more of them still existed, still don’t have the room though.

    Good Health To All

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  11. Wayne

    Never seen those bumper guards on these cars before. I think these alone would be very rare.

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  12. DT

    That white coupe in the Bay area,most likely mine.I dont remember anyone else in that area sporting a nice white coupe’ at that time.His wheels rusted clear through,He had to replace them.I sent him some from California and asked if he wanted me to Powder coat them for him,he told me he had a guy to do it.The person who buys this may get the last laugh,they are valuable in Germany

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  13. Johanna

    I owned 1958 Isabella Coupe in the early 60’s
    Fun car to drive, had 5 speed manual on steering column , nice car. Hard to find parts. Sold it and bought 59 Chevy Belair actual 4 dr ht had that car for many years until some teen 14 yr old stole a 61 409 Chevy & totalled my car when it was parked, wiped out complete drivers side from back bumper to front bumper

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