1959, Borgward Isabella Saloon
Uniquely Original Condition
Author: Frank S. W
The Isabella is one of three models produced by Carl F.W. Borgwards company in Bremen, Germany.
The two door sedan, referred to as the Saloon, was first produced in 1954. The most complete history
of the Borgward Company and the vehicles it manufactured is found on the website of the United
Kingdom Borgward Drivers Club (BDC). Today there are numerous Borgward Automobile Clubs around
the world. One of the largest and most active is in Germany.
In the United States the Borgward was introduced in the mid 1950s and the company built their
distribution network from the east coast into the middle of the country. Their manufacture ceased in
the early 1960s and the dealerships that sold and serviced them closed. However, the legacy of the
marquee continued and for decades has been supported in America by the Borgward Owners Club in
Long Island, NY, primarily by the efforts of the founder, Dyck Livant.
This 1959 Isabella was a barn find as described by its previous owner in Spokane, Washington. (See
January 2022 BDC Newsletter.) Even so, it was in remarkable condition. Since then, and with great care,
it has been completely revived through a combined effort by previous and present owners.
One of the most remarkable attributes of this Isabella is that it retains its original ivory-colored paint in
magnificent condition. Only the two front panels below the chrome strip have been repainted. There
are a few dimples, but they are a testament to the life and history of the car. There are only a handful of
pepper like spots of rust on the front grille diamond and under the front headlights. There is no rust at
all on the undercarriage. The chrome all the way around the car is in perfect condition also. The
taillights, parking lights and reflectors are flawless and appear as original. The wheels are new and have
been painted to match, exactly, the original ivory body color. The tires are brand new whitewalls by
Coker. The hub caps are replacements. The windshield is new.
Included with this car is a brand new custom-made dust cover by California Car Covers.
The interior, like the exterior, is remarkably original, from the headliner to the chording to the
upholstery and the rubber mats, as is the Bakelite surrounding the windows and all of the dash. The
steering wheel, shifting and turn signal lever and the instrument panel are perfect. The clock and the
cigar lighter are both original but are not working. The Motorola AM radio is original and most likely is
the one that was installed by the dealership that delivered the vehicle. It has been restored and the
speaker replaced so that all work like new again. The clutch and brake pedal pads are new. In the trunk,
all is in excellent original condition, even the vinyl floor liner. The spare tire is also new and there is a
tool kit which appears to be original.
The mechanics of the car are in perfect order. It starts, runs, and shifts beautifully.
The engine has been completely rebuilt and repainted in its original black color. The block was bored,
and new oversized pistons were installed along with a new clutch, through-out bearing and press plate.
All were rebalanced.
The following have been replaced with new: valves, fuel filter, points, plugs, timing gears, fan belt,
motor mounts, sub-frame bushings, pilot bushing, main bearing set, conrod set, center steering link,
gaskets, hoses, fan belt, shock absorbers, clutch and brake master cylinders, brakes, rear axle shaft
boots (gaiters), front and rear U-joints, complete exhaust system, battery, wipers (axles, arms, and
The carburetor was rebuilt, and the oil filter was cleaned. A total tune up and front end alignment were
This Isabella has been featured twice the newsletters of both the Borgward Owners Club and the
Borgward Drivers Club, and PDFs of both are available on request. According to Dick Livant its superior
and near original condition is rare; making it uniquely qualified as a museum-like antique automobile.
Recent Services and Repairs
4 New Tires, New Brakes Front & Rear, Tuneup, Oil and Filter Change, New Belts, New Hoses, New Air Filter, New Fuel Filter, Major Service, New Battery, New Exhaust, New Muffler, New Front Struts/Shocks, New Rear Struts/Shocks, Rebuilt Engine