Racing History and Racing Today with Gavin Watson and John Francas

1961 Lynx Formula Junior single seat historic racer

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In 1914 Hansas took the team prize in the Austrian Alpine Trial. The 66bhp 1500 streamliner took 12 international class records at Montlhery, as well as the 1,000 miles at 107.3mph in 1950. In 1951 Brudes, Steiner, Hartmann, Koch-Bodes and Polensky broke 19 long distance and speed records in the 750cc class in a streamlined Goliath. 1952 saw the fall of further class F records and a special Hansa based on the 1800-D diesel Saloon added 14 more class E records in 1953. For the 1951 Frankfurt show the company exhibited a 135-bhp dohc 1,500cc prototype with a 5-speed gearbox. Karl Brandt used conventional pushrods on a hemispherical head for the first of his Borgward Rennsports putting out 100bhp through a De Dion back axle.
Unfortunately Borgward were always handicapped, in their racing career by lack of money and the development time for competition was literally stolen from their production car programme whenever possible. They had a victory at Grenzlandring at 121.54 mph and they won their class at the AVUS. For the 1954 season they used a new engine based on the Isabella block but with fuel injection, which resulted in Bechem winning the Eiffelrennen. Hammernick and Bechem were leading the Porsche opposition in the Carrera Pan Americana when they were unfortunately eliminated by crashes. Brudes, Ricker and Schdufele broke 14 international long distance and speed records in a 350cc Lloyd Rekordwagen and 13 International records in the 500cc class. The 1955 Mille Miglia saw a 1600cc class win but the season generally was used by Brandt to develop a new twin overhead camshaft wet liner 5-bearing fuel injected 1500cc engine putting out 172bhp. For 1957 Herrmamn managed 2nd place in the European Mountain championships.

Bill in the Borgward Isabella - Brands Hatch July 1957,


At the German Grand Prix for 1958 Borgwards took 2nd 4th and 6th places but in the Freiburg hillclimb Bonnier put up a brilliant performance of 7 minutes 32.6 seconds setting an absolute record. This beat both Hans Stuck's pre-war time record with the Auto Union and Zellar's on a BMW motorcycle. They came in 2nd and 3rd in the mountain championships of 1958 behind Porsche.The Isabella TS was very successful in saloon car racing with class victories at Spa and in the Gran Premio Argentino in 1957. At the Daily Express International Trophy meeting at Silverstone in 1956 Reg Pamell won his category in the Production Touring Race. Bill Blydenstein won his class at Brands Hatch in 1959 starting the success rolling for his partnership with his own Isabella TS,'UUV 75' as a private entrant against Works prepared teams. He followed this with a win at Goodwood and he won his class for the August International at Brands Hatch. On 28th February he won the up to 2,000cc class speed trial at Brands Hatch following this with a class win up to 2,000 cc at the Harley Ford Hill Climb. He also won his class at the Goodwood International race, setting a record lap of 1min 57.2 secs. The Cibie cup race meeting at Goodwood in May resulted in a win for Blydenstein and again in August at Oulton Park also winning his class at Aintree, whilst setting up a lap record. His last win of the season was at the Harley Ford Hill Climb in September. For the Cibie Cup, Blydenstein had achieved 2 outright wins, 3 third and 1 fifth place in the 6 races totting up 26 points, 4 points ahead of his nearest rival in a Work's supported Riley. He was awarded the Cibie cup by the then French ambassador Jean Chauvel.
By 1961 he was achieving 84 bhp at the rear wheels and in May won the Spa Grand Prix averaging 92.8 mph for 45 minutes finishing ahead of Alan Hutcheson's works Riley and 40 secs in front of Hacquin's Ecurie Nationale Belge Alpha. In 1959, Cooper formula 2 racing cars, powered by the Borgward 1500cc fuel injected engine, won all 19 major races in their class with Stirling Moss winning the Rouen and Syracuse Grand Prix.

Compiled and Sourced by Nick Driscoll

It is with great sadness to report that Bill Blydenstein passed away on Wednesday 12 september 2007 after a long illness. He was President of the Borgward Drivers Club for many years and made many contributions to the club magazine and helped individual members. He will be sadly missed.

Bill Blydenstein Classic Cars April 1991

Tuning the Isabella TS by Bill Blydenstein

Gavin Watson

Gavin has been preparing a Borgward Isabella Saloon for Classic saloon racing.The car has become more competitive as the season has progressed with adjustments to the suspension and engine.

The next modification will be to fit a camshaft with more overlap and lift to improve breathing. The car is now mid field with lap times better than Bill Blydensteins.


Floor change.

Full flow oil filter and cooler now installed.

New engine now fitted.

Tubular exhaust manifold.

The car is running with the standard engine as the race one is not quite ready yet. The car is fitted with a floor shift from a B1500 truck

"A picture of some bits you won't have seen in a Borgward engine before. Those rods and pistons are 350g lighter than a standard rod/piston .I have no idea what power we're going to get. I think will be 100-110hp only really because Blydenstein did know what he was doing! And I've spoken to various people; Javier and a knowledgeable specialist in Australia who reckoned he got 120hp at the wheels so I think that's going to be it.

Although my engine guy I think will be pretty disappointed if he only gets that!

The other area we have lost a lot of weight; standard starter motor 8kgs? I think I remember, we now have a lightweight axial starter motor which is 2.5 kg's and a VERY machined flywheel and modern clutch cover. I have the figure written down but we lost some 24lbs just with those 3 components.

We don't have any delusions about how competitive this car will be. We are missing 50 years of development to our rivals who are circulating round here some 25 seconds quicker than they did in period! The hot cars with the A series engine, minis etc are revving them to 10,500 rpm

Regards, Gavin"