10th Borgward International Meeting Cologne 1984
AUTUMN IN GERMANY WITH BORGWARD FRINGE BENEFITS.
This Autumn there was a meeting of
the German Club in Cologne which just didn't correspond with our holiday,
at first it was too early so Herr Loges, who must have asked David Stride
when I would be in Cologne for the International Photokina,
(The Photographic Equipment Fair) changed the date, but still failed to get it right: Being done out of this treat my wife, Sheelagh, who, as some of you know, pretends to dislike Borgwards, so arranged our trip that we were able to take in two Auto Museums in Southern Germany.
We have made friends with two families in Freiburg so this part of the Black Forest area is becoming familiar to us, particularly as one of the friends is a Banker, who, his daughter says, is a frustrated travel agent and armed us in advance, with an itinerary that included many places of interest on our way down from Strasburg to visit them.
One very mamorable visit was to a Clock Museum in the heart of the "Kuchkuck" (Cuckoo) clock land, in Triburg. We very much enjoyed a performance by an electric piano synchronised with a group of figures playing a piano accordian, drum and tambourine in a glass case rendering a selection of 1920's Ragtime. The main exhibit was an enormous mechanical organ with numerous instrumental sounds all,
it seemed, operating from the giant cylinder reminiscent of a musical box movement. The merry, tinkling music had Sheelagh's foot tapping and coming back for an encore.
The many clocks had to be heard and seen to be believed, many with bells and of course, Kuch-kuchs: Nick Driscoll would have enjoyed the collection of 1930's radios and gramophones.
Much encouraged by this Museum we visited a "Trachten" Museum to see a wonderful display of Black Forest costumes including the most extraordinary hats about 18" high and decorated with coloufed glass balls, Germanic Carmen Mirandas?
After seeing our friends in Freiburg, not forgetting to visit a particularly well stocked model shop, where I was again recommended to The Model Shop in Aachen for Borgward models who no longer have any of the copies of the Marklin which they sold until recently... thinks, would they be influenced to organize a new run if we, as a Club ordered a quantity?)
Then came the trip to Schloss Wolfegg to the largest and best private Auto Museum in Germany, or so the Owner says and who am I to dispute it - after all it does exhibit a beautiful 1963 Arabella just inside the door in a position of honour and in addition to a Lloyd Alexander T.S. and a Goliath three-wheeler van that had covered 600,000 kms in 50 years continuous use from 1933-1982, they were showing a 2400 Limousine, and Isabella saloon, a 1958 Coupe and all in gleaning ivory and finally a Hansa 1100 to round off the set. There were a number of other quite attractive cars, 1897 PanhardLevassor, B.M.W. Dixi, Mercedes Coupe, E-type Jaguar, B.S.A. 3 wheeler, 1961 Corvette, Maserati 3500 GTI, Citroen 2cv....Eh? well it is a very representative exhibition and includes mini-cars,tractors and motor-cycles.
The Schloss had spawned a Village around it with a most attractive Gift-shop, Sheelagh loved it, we both liked the splendid Coffee-shop, which also doubled as a Grocery store, you'll find the like of this in every little corner of Germany.
The previous night we had intended to camp in the vicinity of Wolfegg, but were unable to find a site so we gave in and booked in to the "Pfeffer Muhle" in a nearby town. The Pepper Mill was a good choice, the food was excellent, very agreable people and comfortable so we enjoyed our extravagance in using an Hotel for once. However, the following day, having been to the Museum and after having driven 30 miles, Sheelagh looked in the wardrobe for her new raincoat to find it missing! You have guessed it, she put it in the wardrobe in the bedroom in the Pepper Mill. We thought we would ring up and ask them to find it and keep it for us, but a kind lady in an Iron-mongery shop who rang Directory enquiries could not obtain a number (Moral, always ask for and keep bills) so there was nothing for it but to go back. When we arrived we asked a little girl in the Restaurant if they had found it, she ran up to our room and re-appeared in a trice with a huge smile and the coat. We had expected no less in light of our experience of holidays in Germany. We decided to celibrate with a snack in the bar, we usually picnic
at mid-day, so asked if we could just have some soup. Yes, of course, a tureen of piping hot soup arrived together with delicious bread, a good meal for about 5 dms, such elegance and such good value and Sheelagh had her new coat back.
We spent a few days in Bavaria during which we spotted Lloyd in a Super-Market car park used, I think, by one of the stall-holders in the Antique Market which was being held there, well, it figures doesn't it?
By this time we felt it was time to make a move towards Koln, but on the way took in another lesser Auto Museum at Langendorf. This one nearly defeated our planning, by having the extra-ordinary opening hours of 8.30-11.30 in the morning followed by a 2 hour lunch break. We got there at 10.45, a civilised hour to start when on holiday, having and breakfast and travelled some way to find Langendorf. I did notice th fury on the face of a visitor at 11.31, who found the door firmly shut. Apart from the poor lighting and coolness of the building, the exhibits were well presented, many of which Sheelagh said, must have been bought cheap in the 1960's in England, when we didn't realise their value for they were right hand drive, both British and Continental cars! The sole Bremen-born car was a Lloyd amongst the mini cars, perhaps Herr Schramm had swept this area clean.
The Photokina Exhibition in Koln was undistinguished, a non-vintage year in my opinion. The main talking points were, I think, Agfa with no amateur camera equipment to sell, having decided, after years of un-economic struggle that selling hard-ware without profit is pointless, so they are concentrating their guns on the soft-ware, films, papers, chemicals and magnetic coatings of all sorts and sizes for recorders. Expect to see Agfa as market leaders, I believe their new films are second to none. The emergence of Video as a replacement for Home Movies is noticeable as is the use of electronics in equipment. The battery-powered "Black-box" is now common-place, with cameras, even cheap ones, able to measure and expose automatically for the light and the distance of the subject to astonishingly close limits, they load the film for you, just drop the cassette in the right way up (it won't go any other way!) The film speed is now recorded on a flash on the cassette and 'read' by the camera when inserted (Fuji, Agfa and Kodak are already agreed on this system). Many cameras have motors to wind the film right through the camera to the empty spool and them wind back one frame at a time as you take the pictures in reverse order, thus protecting the exposed frames by putting them back in the light-tight cassette after exposure. Who has no trepidation after taking priceless pictures when opening the camera, that you might be faced by 36 latent images of stupendous excellence and un-rivalled beauty, absolutely irreplaceable and lost for ever because you forgot to re-wind them?
Are these new cameras, at last, fool-proof? I don't believe it, but they get closer to being perfect recording instruments, which even now in the state of the art, do not make Pictures by themsleves. Only the seeing eye, perceptive brain and a bit of luck occasionly do the trick. You should see some of the shots taken by my colleague, Phillip, who joined me at Koln for the Fair. Talking of whom leads me to the last day, when Sheelagh navigated us on a round trip from Koln down river through the wine country ending up at a place called Neuwied! It happened to be the 2nd Sunday in the month and that is the time that Herr Schramm's Borgward Museum should be open. Phillip and I left Sheelagh, who having been there before, wanted to finish a book she was reading, and found the front entrance. Donner und Blitzen! and other teutonic curses, it was shut tighter than Spandau prison. Nothing daunted, as I had been there before, and made very welcome, I rang the bell, Erau Schramm called Herr Schramm who was in a workshop and who asked after my wife and daughter saying that he remembered me from two years before. There's good P.R. for you. Herr Schramm opened up for us and switched the lights on and left us to it. I was pleased that my limited German had enabled me to have some, albeit stilted, conversation with him during which he gave me his opinion, with which Nick Driscoll would concur I think, that the vintage year was 1955 and the 1960 cars were a load of rubbish or did 1 translate incorrectly? Phillip, a stranger to the Borgward products, was impressed by the range of different models made by them and as impressed as I was by the range displayed at Neuwied. T. couldn't resist one of the books on sale and thanking Herr Schramm for his courtesy, left him cleaning a curious piece of iron in his workshop which turned out to be a door from his wife's cooker! Ah, even the mighty have, sometimes, to turn from their cars to the mundane chores.
Regretfully we turned for home, pausing, en route, at 'Auchan', the huge Super-Market between Dunkirk and Calais to stock up with beer and Le Creuset cook-pots at bargain prices. Our big Bedford performed beautifully the whole trip doing around 20 m.p.g. and very comfortably, often cruising hour after hour at 60-70 m.p.h. a little faster when Sheelagh was driving! I wonder what a Blydenstein conversion would do for it?
Now I must turn from memories of historic and concours Museum pieces to organising the resurection of a rather nasty disembowelled Isabella TS "IXH 3' residing at New Weld at Chertsey and try to produce a smart useable saloon for my daily transport and regular enjoyment which I hope to show at meetings in 1985.
P.S. George Sinclair has put me in touch with the owner of another TS saloon for canabolising so I may be mobile a bit sooner, but that is another story.
P.P.S. In the process of the above, George took Sheelagh and me to a Big Band blast at a pub in Ilford, suffering saxophones, what a crescendo of cornets it was, the great English Pub at it's best, 'a magic morning, Sheelagh and I thank you , George. A fringe benefit of this super club of ours.
P.P.P.S. Recent problems have elicited several very kind offers of help and concern over me and my car which were most thoughtful and generous. Thank you G.S., N.D., J B.W., and the late owner of the other TS, Mr Larman who had to give up his well cared-for car and was most helpful when I was in need of such.