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Not So Handsome: 1959 Hansa


Thanks to Barn Finds reader Matt K. for this unique find! I’m hoping this sad looking little car gets a new life somehow. The Hansa 1100 first started life as the Goliath 1100, produced in Germany by a subsidiary of Borgward. The small front-wheel drive car may have been the first application of an aluminum-block, watercooled flat-four in a front-wheel drive application: Subaru, you weren’t first! This particular one is located in Anaheim, California and is up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is well under $1,000 and has no reserve. As the seller correctly notes, this is a transition model, having both the Goliath and Hansa names showing on the car. Surprisingly, considering the rust on the front bumper, the rest of the car doesn’t look that rusty, although a surprise awaits under the hood…and at the rear.


Unfortunately, there’s a rather large issue with the rear of this car. I’m not exactly sure what hit this car, or maybe it slid off the road backwards? Regardless, there is a trunk lid included with the auction, but not a rear fender. That being said, consider the price. Maybe, just maybe that fender could be pulled back out and hammered back into shape? I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort.


Which brings us to the other major issue with this project. While this picture gives you a great view of the transmission, transverse leaf spring and halfshafts, it also highlights the missing engine. Ok, it’s not exactly missing. However, it does have it’s own issues.


Here’s the engine, or what’s left of it. Now I’m not generally the first to recommend a swap, but it just so happens I’ve been helping my son-in-law rebuild his Subaru Impreza engine, and I’ve been impressed by the engineering of the flat 4 as we’ve gone through it. I think in this case, I’d pull the body a little in the rear, but build a sleeper with a Subaru transplant and try to keep the appearance as-is. Are there any Hansa or Goliath lovers out there that would restore this little car? Or are there any takers for my suggestion?


  1. 1ST-RAT

    I’m sorry, but that is the most worthless excuse for a car I have ever seen. Please don’t waste this site with that kind of garbage. Maybe if it were in ok condition it would be interesting because it is different, but it is crashed and disassembled! One way to keep from overloading your readers is to cut out the garbage.

    Like 0
    • Roger Owen

      I don’t know, I think it’s interesting to see some of the more unusual cars of the past. And, that Aluminium flat four is very unusual – would make an interesting power plant and transmission as a mid/rear mount rwd sports/racing car project.

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      • 1ST-RAT

        Respectfully; I too love to see unusual vehicles, but no one in his right mind would spend what it will take to make that drivable, much less presentable. As far as the engine is concerned, it is no better than an air cooled VW flat four. Hardly worth the machine work to put it together. A sports racing engine? Don’t be silly.

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    • Ed

      Those who don’t like “garbage” have the option to unsubscribe….and for the rest of us that like to see variety… Enjoy!!!

      Like 1
  2. L.M.K.

    Cliche time “One mans trash is another man’s treasure” !

    Keep them coming……

    Like 1
  3. Mark S

    I think the subaru idea is not a bad idea take the engine / trans out of a wreck and have at it

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  4. JW454

    It looks like who ever designed this engine had more than a passing glance at an air cooled VW power plant.
    As to the question of it’s worthiness to be presented here, I say yes.

    Like 1
  5. wagon master

    If I recall, Subaru actually bought the engine design licensing from Borgward to make it their own.

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    • Peter Ramella

      I think Jowett also used a flat 4 in the javelin and front wheel drive , still quite a few left in the UK

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  6. Scotty G

    I vote for more posts like this one! Not all of us want to see Chevy / Ford / Chevy / Ford all the time. This great, free, website is called “Barn Finds”, not unbelievable-supercars-found-in-a-barn; it refers to anything and everything. Please show the oddball, unusual vehicles (not just “cars”). And yes, even if they need work; even major work like this one does. Nobody in their right mind would judge others who like to see, or might like to buy and restore, a particular vehicle on this site.

    Like 3
    • jaygryph

      Taking bets as to if firstrat up there is a die hard chevy or ford guy. I’m guessing bowtie, my experience is that they tend to be more vocal, particularly the Camaro folks. On the other hand, they tend to buy parts and work on their cars more than some of the other brands I’ve sold stuff for.

      That’s a fascinating little car. A shame about the rear end of it but with it already crunched I’m thinking a grafted on set of 60 cadillac fins or some Packard lights would work well with it. Give it a lead sled custom look since it sort of has that body style anyway, different grill, tail lights, further chopped and sloped at the rear top. It’d be like a 3/4 scale mercury nobody would ever be able to figure out the base of. Could think of any number of fun engines to put under the hood, though it’d be a crime to do a small block ford or chevy with as weird as the rest of the vehicle is. An aluminum buick v8 would probably scoot that down the road great and would look nice all dressed up like a baby nailhead.

      Cool car. I’d rock it.

      Like 0
  7. dr.d Member

    Seller here,
    We are still learning a lot about these little cars. Seems indeed a Subaru may fit quite well. The gentleman we purchased this car from had just those plans, had done all the measurements and felt that a custom bell housing would be the only tricky part. Indeed, many VW parts are very close and the master cylinder is an exact match to a period bug item. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea (schnapps?), I really enjoy seeing all of the little oddball endeavors we dreamers have undertaken over the years. And now, the discovery and the quest are quite the adventure.
    Thanks Barnfinds guys!

    Like 0
  8. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    OK, if we’re complaining about cars we’re tired of seeing, I gotta say it’s any and all Lotuses. Or is that Loti? Either way, Lotus is my vote. And anything after 1975. And Bradley GTs. And Unimogs. And Corvettes newer than 1967.

    This quirky oddball is weird, but I love seeing something I’ve never seen before, so I’m OK with this type of car.

    Like 0
  9. Karl

    I vote for weird. And a real body man who knows how to use a porta-power correctly and how to shrink metal could straighten out that quarterpanel.

    Like 0
  10. RobM

    The Goliath-Hansa is an interesting car. The persistent urban legend is that Fuji Heavy Industries bought the tooling to this car’s engine when Borgward went bankrupt. It evolved into the Subie flat four we know today. Someone should save this car. If it were close by to me, it would make a nice companion to my 1959 Lloyd. More oddball cars, please.

    Like 0
    • Roger Owen

      Yes, it is interesting – I’ve not seen one before. Although it’s a flat 4 and has a similar cast allow sump as the VW – I think there are worthy differences;

      Liquid cooled, (I’ve seen many overheated air-cooled VW’s), and looking at the piston width (considering it’s only 1,100 cc), it would probably be a short stroke motor, meaning the torque curve will kick in at higher revs than the VW – making it more suitable for performance work.

      In the UK there is a club racing formula (Formula 750) originally intended for racing specially made sports / racing cars powered by Austin 7 engines. This was later changed to also accept Ford 1172 cc engines. Both engines are side valve. It might be interesting to see if the Goliath – Hansa engine could be accepted.

      Is it worth saving? I’d say so.

      Like 0
  11. Bob Welter

    A 1959 Goliath 1100 was my first car. I bought it used with a seized engine for $50 in 1964. Ground the crank .010 under and it was on the road again for my 16th birthday and my drivers license in 65. It was an engineering marvel for it’s time. Flat 4, front wheel drive and a 4 speed on the column.

    Like 0
  12. Kris


    This car is being offered again!

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  13. rogerowen

    Deserves rescue!

    Like 0
  14. dr.d Member

    Hi Guys,
    We purchased this Hansa along with a 59 Goliath Tiger, a 59 Kombi and a lot of parts.
    We’re hopeful that the winner of the ebay auction will get this little gem on the road again. We will include an abundance of parts as we have quite a stash.
    We have the 59 Tiger out of paint now. It runs and drives so there’s a bit of a roadmap for the Hansa if needed.

    Like 0
  15. michael farbrother

    I rescued one of these a couple of years ago , and am now doing some basic restoration . The purpose is to bring it back from the ” line ” , that place where it will probably be left to rot until it has absolutely no ” appeal ” to anyone , anywhere !
    The fact is that it far better than it looks . The shell is very sound , underneath plenty of surface rust , and there are only a couple of holes in the passenger floor , the sills around the jacking points , and the bottom of one door ; all perfectly manageable stuff .
    After some thought , I have come to the conclusion that the quality of the steel used by post- war German industry must have been brilliant , compared with some of the contemporary British products .
    Anyway , the body is not the nightmare it first seemed , and I am about to remove the flat four , which is stuck . I am not going to use a breaker bar on it , because , as I guessed , it has wet liner bores , which might not survive the experience .
    Thanks for your article and excellent photos . I will try to add some of my own . If there is anyone out there reading this , please give me some feedback ! Best wishes , Michael

    Like 0
    • Kris Brickman


      Join the Facebook group Borgward Owners Club UK & Borgward owners club USA if you haven’t already! I own 3 BW cars myself.

      You’ll find that contrary to the original commenters up top, there are quite a few people that enjoy something unique.

      Like 0
  16. michael farbrother

    Thanks for that . I have collected strange and rare machines for many years , and learned to treasure them , so negative comment is just other people´s opinion ! I have in fact made contact with the BOC , who put me it touch with someone near Bremen , from whom I bought a complete set of engine gaskets , plus replacement tail and side lights .
    I´m trying to put some photos up , and will be back. Thanks again

    Like 0
  17. michael farbrother

    how do I post photos , please ?

    Like 0
    • Dale Davis Member

      HI Michael, Congrats, We seek out the strange as well! We rescued this car along with 2 others. https://www.driven.co/inventory/goliath-hansa-coupe/ . Check out the photos for tons of parts.

      You can check out the couple we restored here https://www.driven.co/inventory/goliath-sport-coupe/ . It picked up several trophies before being sold to a midwest collector who had one as a teen.

      Both of the other projects along with a huge hoard of parts were sold to Evan at Cosmopolitan Motors http://www.cosmopolitanmotors.com/ Evan has several Goliath’s and would be an excellent source for parts. He’s is a great guy to know in the Borgward Goliath Hansa wacky car game. Good luck!

      Like 0
      • michael farbrother

        Fantastic , really helpful!

        Like 0
  18. michael farbrother

    Here is an update :my Goliath is coming along nicely . The interior is stripped , cleaned , de -rusted ,new door cards in red leather cloth ,and a headlining waiting to fit . Mechanical progress : the engine is out , and I am about to remove the heads , slightly nervous about the possibility of corrosion between those long studs and the aluminium , but I´m still greatly impressed with the quality of post-war German steel , so may be lucky !

    Like 1
  19. Roger Owen

    Pictures please!

    Like 0
  20. Michael

    the Borgward arrives

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  21. Michael

    I think it´s quite a good looking car from this angle

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  22. Michael

    It looks a bit like the getaway car used by the Baddies in Tintin books….

    Like 0
  23. Michael

    simple engine -out…

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  24. Michael

    getting more impressed by this little boxer the more I do with it…

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  25. Michael

    Update : both heads off now , one much more of a struggle than the other .Although still seized solid , I have high hopes of freeing it tomorrow , after soaking pistons in Desox solution .There was a lot of rust , dirt and oil in the chambers , and evidence of corrosion around the waterways .One head much worse than the other , and I am wondering whether liquid metal products will be a temporary fix while I see how much drama it will be to get another head . Mine is the earlier version , where the rocker shaft sits in an aluminium casting integral with the head.The rocker shaft had to be taken out to give still limited access the head stud underneath ! I can see why they modified it for 1959 Here are some before photos which show quite how badly it has gone . I will post more photos tomorrow to show how it cleaned up

    Like 0
  26. Michael

    and this

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    • Roger Owen


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  27. Roger Owen

    Great pictures – thanks for sharing, and – good luck!

    Like 0
  28. Michael

    More progress this morning , but one pair of pistons is still fighting !

    Like 0
  29. Michael

    the bores could be a whole lot worse….

    Like 0
  30. Michael

    clean-up time

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  31. Roger Owen

    Looking good.

    Like 0
  32. nlc

    hi, recien veo esta pagina,aqui en Argentina se fabricaron algunos en 1960 y mi familia tenia uno que solo quedo el motor y algunas piezas

    hi, I just saw this page, here in Argentina some were manufactured in 1960 and my family had one that only remained the engine and some parts

    Like 0
  33. michael

    Hello , I’m surprised to see that some were still manufactured in 1960 .

    Mine above is finally about to be put together again , after a long break to complete other projects . I will write some more details and send some photos when the time comes….

    Like 0

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