Carl Friedrich Wilhelm
Borgward (November 10, 1890 in Altona,
Hamburg – July 28, 1963 in Bremen) was a German engineer and
designer and the creator of the
Borgward group, based in
He was of modest extraction, the son of a coal retailer, Wilhelm
Borgward, and had twelve brothers and sisters. He undertook mechanical
engineering studies, and obtained his engineering diploma in 1913.
He was wounded during World War I. In 1919 he became one of the
partners of Bremer Reifenindustrie. The company was restructured and
in 1920 became Bremer Kühlerfabrik
Borgward & Co.
In 1924 and 1925 the company started to produce the small three-wheel
trucks Blitzkarren and Goliath. With his partner Wilhelm Tecklenborg,
in 1928 he created the company Goliath-Werke
Borgward & Co. When
the two associates took over Hansa-Lloyd-Werke in 1931, this became
On September 23, 1938, the Carl F. W.
Borgward Automobil- und
Motorenwerke factory was opened in Sebaldsbrück near Bremen. At that
time, 22,000 people were working in the company. Until the end of the
war the production of
Borgward was mostly military vehicles and
When the factory was destroyed by bombing in 1944, half of the workers
were prisoners of war and forced laborers. Carl
Borgward was interned
until 1948. Finally, just one year after being freed, he was
already again a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of
In 1949, the first Lloyd LP 300 had been designed and produced. In
Germany this car was nicknamed the Leukoplastbomber (Band-aid Bomber).
The small car with a plywood body on a wooden chassis had a two-stroke
engine and was in the market segment under the Volkswagen Beetle, and
kept this position for more than a decade.
Borgward had also presented the large Hansa sedan, which was
the first European car with a pontoon body. He had taken ideas from
American magazines, which he read when under detention.
The largest success came in 1954 with the
Borgward Isabella. The
Borgwards met the spirit of the time: the German customers wished for
American type styling and rich chrome decoration with European compact
Borgward participated in detail in the design of all the
Increased competition on the segment of mid-sized cars, and the too
broad and uneconomical range of models, as well as wrong financial and
tactical choices by the management, led the company into crisis at the
end of the fifties. The new model Borgward-Lloyd Arabella should
have eased the difficulties, but it was handicapped by quality
Borgward underwent one of the most spectacular bankruptcies
in the history of Germany. The company went to the Land of Bremen,
which had it liquidated, and part of the factory went to Hanomag.
Years after the bankruptcy was closed, it came out that it had not
been reasonable: All debts had been paid to the last cent.
Borgward died of a heart attack at the age 72 on July 28, 1963.
His life work might continue: 50 years after closing down his
grandson, Christian Borgward, together with his partner Karlheinz L.
Knöss and with assistance from Chinese investors unveiled the
company's first new car in over 40 years, the BX7 at the 2015
International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
(German) Eggermann, Jan Oliver: Der Borgward-Mythos
(english) Eggermann, Jan Oliver: The
^ Das Erste online - Carl F.W.
Borgward Archived September 30, 2007,
at the Wayback Machine.
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^ de:Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward#Leben
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Borgward drängt zurück auf die Straßen -
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