24th Borgward International Meeting Bremen 1998
24th Int. Anniversary Meeting of the
Borgward, Goliath, Hansa-Lloyd and friends in Bremen
The Carl.FW Borgward interest group this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.
John Wallis, Fiona and myself arrived at Harwich early Thursday morning in our venerable 57 T.S. Saloon to witness an horrific sight - Peter Grove limped over to us assisted by Keith Whiting and Dave Roast and immediately ripped open his trouser legs for all to see! These were special trousers with poppers, (obviously designed for this purpose). Pete was showing us the terrible bruising on his legs and stitches on his foot from the terrible accident that he'd had 6 days earlier when his Combi was written off with a major side impact.
We boarded the Catamaran which shot off at a great rate of knots for Hook of Holland. We arrived at Hook of Holland at 3.45 local time just with 2 cars because Gordon and Yvonne Miles and Barbara were coming a totally different route with their Coupes.We had only 4 British cars going this year because Kelvin Jones, Martyn Adams, Norman Williams and Graham Mander had just returned from Sweden. Mick Kinsel had just returned from his honeymoon. The trip got off to a bad start because they had closed the motorway and so we had to go through Rotterdam and we got lost. Keith had driven the Big 6 to Harwich, Pete drove it from the Hook across Holland whereupon he decided that his legs were aching. When they stopped for petrol on my instigation, because Germany only has unleaded petrol and my Saloon only has an 8 gallon tank.
Dave Roast took the wheel he pulled away for about 3 feet where upon the big 6 came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly all three leapt out of the car and started pushing it away from the petrol station. What could possibly have happened? Basically the car had no drive. So at John's instigation we all pushed the car under a street lamp as dusk was closing in.
We jacked up the near side rear wheel to see if the propshaft was turning when we spun the wheel It didn't and there was a rather rough feel to the wheel so John and I decided that it must be the universal joint, of which Pete and I between us had 2 spare. There was however an enormous amount of play in the wheelbearing more than normal for a broken universal joint (the universal joint supports the other half of the halfshaft limiting the amount of play). John was worried that it might have been a snapped halfshaft of which we had no spare. Pete was then sent off to phone George to bring a halfshaft but his orange mobile phone did not work in Holland and John had not brought his! So we then emptied out our pockets and gave Pete all our loose gilders and off he went to phone George, who had already left. We then suggested he ring Ben Lunstra, the Dutch spares man who lived very close to where we were, but we did not have his number! So after phoning George's sister to get Ben's number which she did not have and Christine his wife he trundled back with the only options left to us; tow the Big 6 to Bremen or AA relay back home. Whilst all this was going on John and I had decided to pull out Pete's halfshaft to check, whereupon we found there was nothing wrong with it just rather a lot of play in his wheel bearing Whilst shining a torch up the tube I could see the broken universal joint! It was now starting to get dark so Fiona brewed up some cups of tea on my Coleman stove and as Pete was infirmed I borrowed his overalls and slid underneath. After disconnecting the air suspension and with John pulling violently on the tube after I had removed the 8 bolts on the differential, I was just able to remove the broken bits of the universal joint through the gap. The others were draining off the hypoid oil using a hub cap and filling up a litter bin borrowed from the petrol station (EP 90 is not easily available abroad) but luckily I had a small quantity spare to make up for what we were losing. At this point John kneeling with his head buried under the wheel arch and myself lying under the car with the back axle 2 ins from my chest the heavens opened and we had a tremendous downpour. It was like lying in a river I was absolutely soaked. At this point a car whizzed passed at high speed dragging a petrol pump hose along obviously having done a runner. The only gasket sealant I had was a big tube of bathroom silicon so I bolted up the 8 bolts air suspension and then John and I wrestled with the halfshaft getting it back in to the universal joint which is a pig of a job at the best of times but in torrential rain was extremely aggravating to say the least. I could think of better ways to describe this but it would be unprintable. Off we went with half of the journey to go and it was now pitch dark. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful and Keith and Dave did a pretty good job of finding the hotel in the dark. We finally arrived at 1 o'clock in the morning parked in a beautiful underground car park with quite a few other Borgwards. The next day Friday we took it easy, went for a leisurely swim in the hotel's luxurious and generally empty swimming pool and then had dinner with all the other Borgward owners including Miles, Barbara, Gordon and Yvonne laid on by the hotel whereupon Hartmut Loges welcomed us in English!
The next morning we got up early went to the meeting to find it teeming with rain! George and his nephew Graham having been pushed out of their original covered space were busy trying to cover everything up and erect a gazebo. So John Graham and Pete and myself with one hand firmly clutching my umbrella, winding the others up into the bargain, wrestled with the club gazebo. Despite the weather which had actually caused 30 cars to not attend and in view of the fact that Bremen is not the most visually exciting place to Hold a meeting of this sort compared with say Traben Trarbacht it was an extremely impressive show with a wide variety of cars and well over 300 vehicles attending.
On the spares front the autojumble was very good this year the strong pound helping to make both the parts and the extremely high class hotel comparatively cheap. I noticed unusual spares like stainless steel and Coupe indicator housings. There seemed to be a lot of Cabriolets at the show, both Saloon and Coupe, and a beautiful black concours Coupe could be had for £28,000. The same chap who was selling this coupe and who spoke fluent English, showed me pictures of a right hand drive coupe that he is turning into a cabriolet and selling at the slightly cheaper price of £24,000 because "it will not be quite as good as the other car". Another interesting sight was a Borgward Hansa Pullman where we were showed the electrically operated rear quarter light. Thesurprise of the show and a sight that caused a great deal of enthusiasm was a coupe fitted with a Big 6 engine. I can only say that the car looked totally right that had Borgward produced this vehicle it would have met the Mercedes 190 SL head on and easily outperformed it.
This could have been the car to have saved the company rather the Big 6, as the colossal amount money spent on its development only made the situation worse.
That evening we attended the Borgward Dinner and were joined by Angelo and two children who had arrived on Friday evening.It was a very good meal but as usual we did not know what on earth was going on as it was all in German.The next day the show was nearly as big as the Saturday which was unusual. This was due to the vastly improved weather and we all went out for la nice German meal after some of us, had yet another swim. in a very pleasant Gasthaus in the heart of Bremen. On Monday, Pete, Dave, Keith, Fiona and myself got up very early and set off for the Hook of Holland and apart from us running out of petrol due to the mad dash to the boat neither car had any mechanical problems whatsoever. We arrived at the Hook 2 hours early had a nice drink in a cafe and a leisurely shop around the town we then drove 400 yards to the ferry. We arrived at Pete's house later that
evening to look at the remains of his Combi. After a couple of slices of peanut butter on toast and a cup of tea thanks to Christine and Richard Grove we set off for home with yet another "Borgward lnteressengememeinshaft Treffen" under our belt.
My thanks must go to George Sinclair who organised a faultless trip and a top notch hotel with all the other Borgward owners. Our hotel room was within 100 yards of the meet which was ideal especially for changing my shoes and socks 3 times in one row due to the weather.
Pictures From the http://www.borgward-ig.de/cms/index.php Website
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