Courtesy of the author, Ron Engle, here’s an article on the US Borgwards Owners Club meet, this originally appeared in the December edition of InterMarque Monthly, check out the pdf for images of the event.
The 25th National Borgward Owners’ Club meet was held September 25th to 29th in Georgetown, CA, with a rally to Murphys, CA, where for the first time the Ironstone Concours d’Elegance had a special class for Borgward automobiles. Monica Borgward from Germany, the daughter of Carl F.W. Borgward who died in 1963, was the special guest of honor.
With plenty of spare parts in the trunk, Barbara and I set out in our 1960 Borgward Isabella Coupé for the long journey to California. We decided to drive straight across Minnesota through the upper middle of South Dakota on US 212, an extremely lonely but very good road, to Spearfish. Cruising at 60 – 65 mph, there was no need for an Interstate nor to overwork the 53 year old 1.5 liter Borgward engine. On the second day we went south through Wyoming to Evanston and spent the third night in Lovelock, Nevada, in a questionable1 cent Casino. With four on the tree, the Borgward hummed over Donner Pass and then downhill all the way to Auburn, near Sacramento.
We passed through old Placerville in the gold mining region of the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains – stunning landscape with perfect weather. In Georgetown, we met up with the Borgward people. It was time to examine each other’s cars and for trunks to open and spare parts to be traded. But, wait, don’t panic, my rear left tire looks low. Sure enough, but at 7:00 am sharp the next morning the only tire shop for miles let customers wait while with gusto they raised the swing axle and fixed the tire on a marque they had never heard of before.
The Borgward group caravanned to Paul Thomasson’s forested property, where Paul had prepared a BBQ lunch for forty. It was time to enjoy his “car barn,” Borgwards, and his latest project, the restoration of Jim Cassidy’s 1957 Borgward race car – a highlight of the meet. Cassidy, who passed away years ago, affectionately named his “Bremen Bucket” after the city in Germany where Borgwards were manufactured.
Jim Cassidy, in El Paso, Texas, built the “Bremen Bucket” from a wrecked 1957 Borgward Isabella Combi Station Wagon in 1959-60. Cassidy modified the 1.5 liter Borgward engine adding double carburetion and molded an all aluminum body on part of the original Borgward chassis, which when finished looked much like the Borgward RS Rennsport that Borgward used in Formula II racing. The “Bremen Bucket” reached a speed of 130 mph (208 km) and Cassidy raced the car throughout the Western Unites States. Unfortunately, most of the car’s original upper body was later destroyed. But thanks to Paul Thomasson’s dedication and hard work, he has resurrected and restored the body to its original condition.
The next day we rallied on a twisting, turning back road 7,000 ft. into the High Sierra Mountains to Wright’s Lake. It was a rugged all day 100 mile rally and a real test drive for the Borgward caravan, especially dodging the logging trucks. On our return, we appropriately ate at a German Restaurant near Georgetown. The Wiener Schnitzel was enormous and the waitresses all spoke German.
On Friday we rallied to Murphys, a wonderful old gold mining town, with a three block main street filled with wine tasting rooms (we counted 18 in the first two blocks!) and small shops. Murphys is in Calaveras County, so there are plenty of frogs in town. After settling into our accommodations, it was time to hang out in the parking lot eating cheese and crackers and drinking wine that Hans and Chau Bruckler traditionally provide. Last chance to polish the Borgward before the big show.
Saturday morning all thirteen Borgwards headed for the main event – the Ironstone Concours d’Elegance, on the grounds of the Ironstone Winery. For the first time, there was a special class for Borgward automobiles. Each entry was given a carrying case with Ironstone glasses engraved with an automobile, and a bottle of wine. A beautiful environment, exciting automobiles, and an antique trailer class that was most impressive. The placement for the Borgward class alongside a lake with shade trees could not have been more idyllic. Klaus Tietze’s 1958 Coupé from Canada was selected as Best in Class and three of the Borgwards received an Award of Merit, including Randy Schultheis’s 1960 Coupé, Ralf Koenigshoven’s Borgward sedan, and the Minnesota 1960 Coupé.
The morning after the BOC farewell banquet, Barbara and I once again hit the road. We decided on the return route to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe and head north on a desert road to I 80 in Nevada. After Elko, in Rawlins, WY, we heard that a big snow storm was expected in the north, so we continued on through Nebraska. We stopped in Kimball and the lady at the Nebraska Tourist Agency put a photo of the Borgward on their Facebook page.
Home at last in Minnetrista. After 4,200 miles (6,800 km), it is time to change the oil and grease the water pump. But I’ll be dreaming of driving the Borgward up Ice House Road in the High Sierras for some time to come.
PDF (includes photo’s and other details) InterMarqueDec2013