Classic American

German ‘American’ identified


Dear Classic American,

Just leafing through the latest issue and saw the mystery car on page 22. You’re half right, it is a Borgward, but not an Isabella, which was smaller, but The Big Six, which was launched near the collapse of the Borgward Group. A rare car when new, even rarer now. Sorry to be pedantic! Anonymous

Via email

Dear Classic American,

The mystery motor featured on page 22 is certainly a Borgward, but not an Isabella. It’s one of its flagship six-cylinder P100s (also referred to as the 2.3-litre, at least in the 1960 Observer’s Book of Automobile­s), produced only between January 1960 and July 1961, when Borgward was declared bankrupt after only 2500 examples of this model had been built. So, this is a rare survivor indeed. Not American, then – but, by way of a postscript, the tooling for this model was later shipped to Mexico, where it enjoyed an afterlife in the same way as the 1951-55 Kaiser in Argentina and the Aero-Willys in Brazil; it was manufactur­ed by Ramirez in Monterrey between 1967 and 1970, with a further 2000 examples built (according to Borgward_P100).

Tim Adams


Dear Classic American,

That Borgward would have fooled me for a while too but it’s not an Isabella, rather the much larger and short-lived P100 which only ran for about 18 months until the marque’s demise in 1961. Unfortunat­ely for Borgward, its introducti­on coincided with that of the Mercedes W111 ‘fin tail’ range (220SE etc), which easily outsold it. Technicall­y and pricewise there was not much in it, but the Merc was probably the better overall package; the P100 had excellent air suspension. But how nice to see a rather scruffy right-hand-drive example still in use; very few can have been sold in Britain.

Anthony Richards

Via email

We knew our eagle-eyed readers would know what this weird and wonderful vehicle was and even throw in a bit of potted history.

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 ?? ?? Not a Yank… but German!
Not a Yank… but German!

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