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Borgward Isabella Barn Finds

1959 Borgward Isabellas

When it comes to German brands, most of us think of names like Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, but at one time Borgward was a major player in Germany. The brand built well over a million cars before it closed its doors. Only a small number of these cars were imported to our shores, making this find rather special. The seller has not one, but two Borgward parked in their barn. One is an Isabella coupe and the other an Isabella Kombi wagon. Both can be be found here on craigslist in the Detroit Metro area. And to only make this find even more interesting, the brand could be making its return!

1959 Borgward Isabella Coupe

Picking which one of these Borgwards to take home would be a tough task. I love the looks of the coupe, but that Kombi is just such an unusual and uncommon find. If I could, I would pull both home and use the coupe for spirited drives and the wagon for trips to the grocery store. Both are eye catching and rarely seen on American roads, so they both would garner lots of looks and questions.

1959 Borgward Kombi

The seller doesn’t provide much in the way of information about the cars. They do state the coupe’s engine is currently out of the car and in a crate, but they don’t say whether it has been rebuilt or what it’s current condition is. The Kombi on the other hand is intact and complete, but the condition of the motor isn’t stated. It appears to be in better condition than the coupe overall, so I hope that means the engine is free and can be made to run with minimal work.

Borgward Isabella Coupe

With the Borgward brand supposedly set to make a return (although they didn’t debut at the Geneva Motor Show as promised), I have a feeling these original cars will only appreciate in the future. Sadly restoring them will be costly and difficult here in the States as parts supply isn’t the best. I do hope that they stay on our shores, but finding a buyer with a passion off these oddballs might be a challenge. So do you have enough passion for these beautiful German oddballs to give them a home in your garage?



    I worked on a few of this hansa borgwards when I lived in Sweden, they are of very high quality. It have a very smart combi, valve cover intake combination. To adjust the valves you can just use your fingers to unscrew the two knurled bolts on each side to remove the side covers.

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  2. Robert J

    Neat find! Though “serious inquiries only” and no price listed usually equal$ expen$$$$ive.

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  3. MikeH

    I’ll wager both these cars are exported back to Europe. They are unknown in the US but valuable [not “quite” valuable as the seller states] in Europe. There was an Isabella coupe on Ebay a few years ago in Oklahoma [not far from me], in seemingly great condition for around 5K. After agonizing a few days [I had no space], I decided to sell a car and buy the Borgward. When I went back to Ebay, the car had been pulled. I imagine it was on a boat back to Europe.

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  4. DT

    So,the kombi(station wagon) has independent rear suspension,how cool is that.These are unibody,and Detroit cars are usualy very,very rusty.The kombi is missing its rockers ,that scares me. The coupe looks very restorable,but someone tried to customize it,so its missing some important trim.If its rust free,its valueable, if its rusty its still somewhat valuable,in Germany.They made these from 1957-1961, and they only made 9537 in the 5 year run.I think this car is a 1960,manufactured in 1959. In ’59 they made 2622,first year they made less and the last year they made less. So these are rare,Parts are even rarer.Carl Borgwards grandson is getting ready to reintroduce Brand

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  5. William Price

    I had the pleasure of sitting in a Borgward coupe in Holland, Mi., back in the early ’70’s. It belonged to a friend of my mentor @ the time. His friend had bought the car new & it still looked new with low miles. I don’t remember for sure what year it was but I think it was about a ’62 or so near 10 yrs old @ the time. I was very impressed with the quality & have often wondered what became of it. I would buy it if possible, maybe even both of these.

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  6. Bobsmyuncle

    We’ve got quite a discrepancy between suggested build numbers anyone have the definitive?

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