Join The Parade: 1957 Goliath Estate

1957-goliath-estate

So, the other day I spotted a 1957 Goliath listed on craigslist right here in my neck of the woods. It looked interesting so I gave the owner a call. Unfortunately, they were asking $2,500 for this oddball project. It did come out of a barn, but has sat outside for the last few years so I couldn’t justify spending more than a couple hundred bucks for it. Well, in the process of doing a little research on the car, I stumbled across some unique Goliath/Hansa marketing material that caught my eye…

hansa-brochure

Hmm. Some words have changed meaning over the years and I’m sure that is the case here, but the multicolor scheme does make you wonder. I found this little gem here on eBay and almost bought it just for the shear novelty. There aren’t many of these cars out there, so there can’t be many printed brochures floating around either. The Goliath company was part of Borgward out of Germany. Not that the parent company was well known over here in the States, but it may ring a bell.

hansa-brochure-2

Despite its large sounding name, Goliath built very small cars. But, what they lost in stature, they made up for in engineering genius. The first cars featured a tiny two-cylinder two-stroke engine and later cars went to a water-cooled boxer four-cylinder. Oil burner engines are no more, but the boxer four lives on in a similar configuration through Subaru. The real surprise under the hood of these little efficient front wheel drive cars though was the use of direct fuel injection!

hansa-brochure-3

I actually didn’t even know this technology was around back in the fifties. Manufacturers were touting it as the way forward a few years back, but apparently it was in use by Goliath and one other brand as early as 1952! These little engines didn’t put out a lot of power, but they must have been extremely efficient. I wasn’t able to dig up any mpg figures, so if any of you can come up with that, we would all appreciate it. Besides fuel saving runabouts, Goliath even built a sports car of their very own called the GP700 which looked suspiciously like a Porsche 356. Look it up and I think you will be surprised.

1957-goliath-interior

Another unheard of innovation for the time was the use of a four-speed transmission that had syncromesh on all gears. So, not only was the Goliath easy on fuel, but it was a smooth shifter! I have never driven one myself, but I can only guess that the whole experience must have been an interesting one. The Goliath brand didn’t last long. Some of the cars were sold under the Hansa name for a few years, but even it disappeared in the sixties. That’s too bad because the company was cranking out some truly amazing little cars. Not so sure about their marketing campaigns though…

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Comments

  1. Tom S.

    The ad makes it sound like a two-stroke. Someone ought to scoop this one up. Goliaths don’t thrill me as much as their Borgward siblings.

  2. Jim L.

    My father had several Borgward cars when I was growing up in Northern California. We had an Isabella Kombi (Station Wagon), an Isabella Coupe and an Isabella Lim. All were very well engineered for their day.

  3. Rick

    When I was kid in the 60s, don’t recall even one Goliath. Although if you bought this and got it running, you wouldn’t have to worry about seeing your twin on cruise night. And can’t help thinking how funny it is that the statement on the front of the brochure still resonates in spite of the fact that the meaning has changed!

  4. Scot Carr
  5. RickyM

    Heard of Borgward but not Goliath. Good find but I prefer the GP700.

  6. Dave Wright

    There must have been an Idaho Dealer for these cars, my grandfather in Graingeville bought a new one sometime in the 50’s. He loved to run around the central Idaho woods in it. I have no conscious memory of the car but he spoke of it often.

  7. Mark

    My first car was a Borgward Isabella Combi. I still have a vintage model of the Borgward Coupe and a Goliath dash plate in my car memoriablia collection.

  8. GlenK

    When are people going to understand rare doesn’t mean expensive (greed). As dear old dad use to say “Its only worth what you can get for it”. Over the years I too have called about some unusual cars only to get a call a few months later to say its still for sale and buy that time I have bought something or just not interested. These cars are uncommon and don’t generate a lot of interest in this condition. Looking at it, it appears to have been in good shape at one time. Sitting out will make it rust faster than you can say “Gay Car Parade”. It is really too bad.

  9. Gary

    Back in the sixties during my teens my father owned a public parking facility in the major downtown area, we had cars and trucks from every description come in and I was fortunate enough to drive most every thing that came in the lot. I do not remember the Goliath name itself, but I do remember the Borgward small sedan, which to this day I recall being the only car I drove with a 4 spd. on the tree. An unusual but well made car for the time.

  10. David G.

    i have never been around the Goliath 900 2 cylinder 2 stroke cars, but did see a video once on just how raspy and crude sounding these were. They sounded like a snowmobile, and smoked pretty badly. Now, I owned and restored a 1960 Goliath 1100 witht eh 4 cylinder, 4 stroke flat four, and it was much more refined, and fun to drive. The four speed on the column stick took a little getting used to, and had pretty long throws, but worked smoothly.
    They were innovative ars that were cheaply built, so they didn’t hold up too well. The engine design didn’t allow it have enough lubrication, and didn’t have a proper oil filter, so sludge would build up in the nooks and crannies, and cause engine failure as early as 20 thousand miles. Mine made it to 49,000 before the fiber timing gear exploded, I then had it rebuilt with a later steel timing gear which it probably should had to begin with!
    I sold the car along with a ’58 parts ar to the Lemay family collection in WA. You can find them on the website under car in the collection.
    They were cool, good looking and innoative; wish they had been manufactured better, I might still have mine!

  11. St. Ramone de V8

    Wow. I learn so much here. Never heard of this brand, either. I guess growing up in Canada meant not being offered stuff like this. The market just wasn’t there, I’m sure. Interesting car. Technology for the time is impressive. Would be fun to take on something like this, and just get it running safely, but I have to agree with GlenK. Weird and rare shouldn’t mean expensive, and at the end of the day it’s only worth what someone will pay for it. Love oddball stuff like this. Keep ’em coming!

  12. DT

    There is an Express going for $30,000 dollars,the last one on Barn finds was @$10,000,this is a Combi,Carl Borgward never made anything cheap,the fiber timing gears are meant to cut down on noise.The fiber timing gears dont like to sit for extended periods .Im pretty sure 1957 would be a two cycle and the shifter through the dash indicates a 3 speed.I think 1958 they went to the 1100cc boxer,and that would acompany the 4 speed.I ve only had a few,because I really dont like the motors too much myself,and when they do break they are hard to work on.I have 2 Lloyds and they are really hard to get parts for.A lot of parts on these swap with a VW.Carl Borgward was imprisoned after the second world war for war crimes with Ferry Porsche. The blueprints were eventualy sold to Subaru.Also Borgward was beating Porsches and Maserattis in Racing(hillclimbs),The car is called the Borgward rennsport or RS

  13. Svodon

    I can already feel the pain in my right knee from hitting it on that under dash mounted metal box!

  14. Cameron Bater UK

    “Goliath” eh? I can honestly say I’ve never heard of any vehicle or indeed company with such a name. I’d like to know more about the marque but there is probably very little out there aside from “The Gay Car Parade” brochure(s).
    I suspect the downfall of this marque was its name, the british company Standard had the same problem (their name was ment to suggest that each vehicle was built to a standard but everyone took it to mean that it was an absolutly bog-o basic car)
    Which GP700 are you refering to? the slab-front or the sloped front?

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