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Estate Find: 1961 Borgward Isabella TS Deluxe

If you’ve been on the hunt for a great barn find in your town, but haven’t been able to find one, we suggest going to your local estate sales. You never know what you might find hidden away in an old garage or shed. This 1961 Borgward Isabella TS Deluxe was just recently discovered while the current owner was at an estate sale. This unique German car has been parked in this garage since the early ’80s. The seller decided to buy the car and give it a chance at being saved, so they listed it here on eBay without a reserve.

After pulling it from the garage and cleaning it up, it looks decent. Borgwards are known for their curvy lines and unique looks, which this TS has plenty of. The company was started by Carl Borgward in 1954, although he was already building cars under the Goliath, Hansa, and Lloyd names. Carl’s companies were successful off and on for the next decade, but by ’61 the Borgward Group ceased production and liquidated. This was likely one of the last German Borgwards ever built.

The original owner moved to the States from Germany and wanted a car they were familiar with, so a Borgward seemed like a great choice. They took good care of the car, as seen by this interior, which is still wearing the plastic seat covers the original owner installed. When the owner passed away in ’75, they passed it on to their son. The car was regularly maintained until it was parked in ’84 and all the original documentation is still with the car to prove it.

The 1.5L straight four only produced 60 hp in base trim, but the TS models had horsepower pumped up to 75. This engine hasn’t run for many years and the seller hasn’t tried to get it running. Hopefully it isn’t seized or severely damaged, as it could be a challenge to find parts.

The seller maybe trying to flip this car for a profit, but at least they’ve listed the car without a reserve. These great little cars have a dedicated fan base with many knowledgeable and helpful clubs all over the world. Given the condition of the body and undercarriage, this project may be as simple as getting the engine running and the brakes working. Although you never really know until you start working on the car. After seeing this Estate Sale Find, we are thinking that we better start going to more of our local estate sales. Anyone have any great Estate Sale Find stories?


  1. Gnrdude

    PUt it in H!!!! It’ll 300 Hectares on a Single Tank Of Kerosene!!!!

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  2. graham line

    Nice Borgward, but not an Isabella.

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    • graham line

      ok. it’s an Isabella. but not the swoopy coupe.

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  3. scot c

    ~ understatement of the millennium;
    ‘It’s really a rare find for someone looking for a Borgward’
    from the sellers questions.

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  4. scot c

    ~ think he meant, ‘ it’s real rare TO find someone looking for a Borgward’
    takes all kinds. this screams ,’LS-X’ loud and clear

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  5. Joep Keukens

    Very nice car!

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  6. mikey

    I like these and recall them running around San Diego when I was kid. The design is pleasant to look at. Might be a little tough hunting down parts.

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  7. Horse Radish

    You guys were the first ones to spot this.
    I love that this guy is trying just to move it along to the next ‘loving’ owner without a reserve, but took the time to clean it up and make it appealing again !.
    It will sell for what the market will pay.
    Who knows where it would be now ?
    I have seen cars in this kind of shape, just because the charity organisation it was donated to REALLY does not give a hoot what happens to these cars, at pick-a-parts wasting away for three weeks, things broken off and then the crusher…..

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  8. DT

    I have had a number of these, Ive never seen a 1961, they were mainly made in 1959 for the 1960 market, in other words this is a 1960 rebadged for 1961. They had problems selling Borgwards during those years, the word was out they were going to go under, parts were hard enough to get, money was stagnant, legally its a 1961, but its a 1960, still very rare. Its surely not a coupe and its not really a TS, its an Isabella de luxe, might of made fewer of these than coupes? Different upholstery, different side trim, padded dash, a little extra chrome. Hope someone loves it and it gets a full restoration.

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  9. DeeDub

    My dad bought one of these when he was in the Air Force and had it shipped back to the US. Somebody convinced him it was the equivalent to a Mercedes at a much lower price. Parts were nearly impossible to get then and very expensive. The car was parked in the garage waiting for parts many times and not reliable. If you like them, I recommend you purchase only as a collector piece without thinking of using it as a driver or parade car, I do have good memories of riding in it. Ours was junked by 1966 for scrap.

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  10. Keith

    I saw this car today and it’s almost back to life. It looks amazing. My father purchased a 1961 combi wagon that we drove all over the northeast and Canada packed with Boy Scouts. He passed the car to my brother and then on to me as our first cars. The heat never worked but that car would go anywhere in snow. My grandfather had this exact sedan only in a gold color.

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