_John Wallis 1957 Borgward Hansa Pullman 2400 Automatic Gearbox Retrofit.


I have set up a number of pages to show the rebuild progress.





When introduced, 75% of Pullmans were fitted with automatic gearboxes. The Borgward built boxes had 2 speeds and a lockup torque converter. This gearbox started life in the Hansa 1800 and was not without its problems. Many cars were sent back to the factory for repair. Meanwhile, the American transmission company, Borg Warner, were not happy that the two company names were so similar. They won a court case that resulted in Borgward having to redesign the Isabella front grill. Instead of the large rhombus, which encroached on the bonnet and split the company name into “BORG”-“WARD”, a smaller rhombus was fitted so that the name “BORGWARD” was continuous. Subsequently, Carl Borgward fitted the 4 speed British Hobbs automatic gearbox to later Isabella's, rather than the more popular American boxes.

Hobbs 4 speed automatic transmission display at Graham Whitehouse Autos Ltd

Borgward took over 150 "Hansamatic" units from Hobbs who never started a true production line but made them individually to order.

Hansamatic Automatic Gearbox Repair

Hansamatic Automatic Gearbox Maintenance

My late Pullman came with the 4 speed Borgward manual gearbox but I have decided to convert to automatic as it is more in keeping for a limousine. the Hansamatic box was always an option. Some Mexican P100 were fitted with the 3 speed 3HP22 ZF automatics in the 1960s so I am using the more readily available ZF 4HP22 that has overdrive, a lock up clutch and is hydraulically controlled. The main advantage is the overdrive for more relaxed motorway cruising.

The original tunnel was not wide enough or long enough for the new transmission to fit.

Original bell housing

ZF trial fit.

Final tunnel.

My main problems were to accurately weld 2 bellhousings together, create an adaptor for the crankshaft to flex-plate, fabricate a flex-plate for the torque converter and fit a new starter ring gear.

The solution to all these problems was found at G Whitehouse Autos Ltd I delivered my engine block, crankshaft, starter ring, back plate, and bell housing to them for modification.

The block will be doweled to the modified bell housing for accurate alignment. A crankshaft adaptor will be made along with a flex plate to marry up the torque converter with the ZF 4HP22 transmission. A 7 row transmission cooler will also be supplied.

Graham explained that some cast iron bell housings have to have the modified ones cast in aluminium.


Graham Whitehouse showing me the huge parts store.

V8 Dyno for transmission testing and setup.

Pictured below the Pullman engine block and crankshaft being worked on.

End of crankshaft and back plate.

Adaptor spacer to support torque converter and flexplate.


Graham Whitehouse has sent some pictures showing the new torque converter adaptor and flexplate. Now this part is complete the bell housing can be prepared.


Ring gear being fitted and aligned to torque converter case.

Starter ring being welded in position.

Fitting half the torque converter to crankshaft for distance check.

Starter motor being offered up to ring gear.

The flexplate is now drilled

The Borgward bellhousing is fitted to an aluminium alignment plate Graham has racks full of these one for each type of engine mounting.

Final alignment is made and then back and front of housing are supported for cutting.


The ZF bell housing can now be tig welded to the Borgward housing.

ZF 4HP22 Automatic gearbox being disassembled before rebuild.

Refurbished automatic gearbox being tested on the V8 rig modulator pressure check

Aluminum block on the lathe to make the gearbox "half" of the bell housing.

Final alignment before welding!

Graham Whitehouse turns crankshaft to double check alignment using a dial gauge before drilling for ZF mounting.

Flexplate fitting to Borgward crankshaft.


Autobox and torque converter in car waiting for engine.

Rear gearbox mounting. Final setup after engine is fitted.

Accelerator position rods to set transmission modulator pressure

Original Hobbs/Hansamatic linkage.

All the machining is done on site and the company also specializes in pre-select boxes in fact any gearbox related problem. Hobbs automatic boxes are also rebuilt from time to time. The ZF 4hp22 could be fitted in an Isabella if you wanted:)

G.Whitehouse Autos Ltd Brooklands House Nimmings Road Halesowen West Midlands B62 9JE

Graham Whitehouse Autos Ltd website

Tel. +44 (0) 121 559 9800

If you have any information or parts to help me or require help with your Borgward please email me jbwallis@btinternet.com or phone 0044 (0)1932352238

John Wallis