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Homepage. This page: An unusual car to see in the UK, a German-built Borgward four-door saloon of 1959 - 1961.

The Borgward P100.

If this photo of a rare four-door Borgward P100 hadn't been in with a collection of shots taken at a British motor racing circuit, it would have been easy to assume that this car was seen overseas. However the location is a motor racing circuit in the UK - quite possibly Crystal Palace - the photo dating to the mid-1960s. The Borgward is righthand-drive, and sports a "New Zealand" badge just below the grille. Is the shape and style of the car's registration plate correct for a NZ-registered car perhaps?
Update. I'm told that this numberplate (known as a Zollnummer) is of a type issued in Germany to cars being exported. Thanks to Hans and Leo :-)
How or why it came to be in the UK isn't entirely clear. Perhaps it belonged to a driver of NZ-origin - for example Chris Amon, Howden Ganley or Denny Hulme?
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A classic Borgward P100 car
Parked alongside is a 2-door Austin A30.
The P100 made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1959, a spacious four-door saloon car, similar in profile to cars such as the BMC Farinas and the Peugeot 404 for instance. One novel feature was the fitment of self-levelling air suspension, hitherto a feature usually reserved for top-flight limousines. Perhaps this example had been purchased to tow a race car on a trailer? If so, the advanced suspension would have been a useful feature to have. The six-cylinder engine, capable of propelling the car to 100mph or so, would also have been most welcome I imagine.
The Borgward factory, located in Bremen, Germany, produced the P100 for a short time only, production winding up in 1961 as the firm spiralled into bankruptcy. Around 2,500 examples were produced, but whether they were ever marketed in the UK or not I'm not sure (examples of the earlier Isabella do seem to have sold here, albeit in relatively small numbers).

Recollections of a P100 for sale in 1972.

Shortly after this page went "live", Kevin dropped me a line. The photograph of the P100 Borgward took him back to 1972, and his search for his first car:
It was interesting to see the photo of the Borgward "Big Six" P100 on your ever-fascinating website. It took me straight back to the spring of 1972, when I was on the lookout for my first car. Having unconventional tastes, I wanted something unusual, and had looked at a Fiat 500 (too small), a Foden DG (too big), a Metropolitan (too rusty), a Jaguar Mk7 (too expensive), and so on, until I ventured into the yard of Ivy Motors here in Darton (Barnsley). Therein stood a fine array of budget-priced motors, including one of those big Borgwards, recently re-sprayed in bright red, with plush black upholstery, electric windows and air suspension - price 180 !
This was not the only Borgward in stock at the time, there was also a blue Isabella saloon and a red Isabella Combi (with a black roof), which became my first car for the princely sum of 80, complete with 12 months test, 6 months tax and a couple of quid back for some petrol! I kept 216 GWY for about a year, selling it on to my then-girlfriend's brother (a photo of Kevin's Isabella is now on this page, photo #2). Its ultimate fate is unknown, but I did hear that the engine had been sold for use in a grass-track car of some kind.
There was one other car for sale at the time which I would have liked, although at 240 it was out of my price range - a 1964 Alfa Romeo 2.6, again freshly repainted in the same shade of red as the big Borgward. The car had previously been black. Roy Binns, Ivy Motors' proprietor (then and now), had bought it privately at an auction after no bids had been received. The first name on the logbook was - John Winston Lennon ! What would that car be worth if it still existed today, I wonder? - Kevin.
Thanks for the story Kevin, that confirms that P100s were indeed sold in the UK. And thanks to everyone else for shedding light on the car's oval numberplate in the photograph.
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