A German ad of the early fifties read thus: (Translation follows) Schöner leben mit Lloyd (Live finer with Lloyd) Letzte Sonnenstunden des Jahres, würzige Herbstluft und winterliche Frische genießen auch Sie, von der Heizung wohlig durchgewärmt, in Ihrem LLOYD mit Schiebedach. (Also you will enjoy the last hours of sunshine of the year, the piquant autumn air, the freshness of winter, comfortably warmed by the heater, in your LLOYD with a sunroof.)
My translation doesn´t capture all of its feeling, but you´ll understand how it struck a chord with Germans. Germany had lost World War 1 with a huge death toll, suffered humiliation and poverty, then had a brief boom in the thirties, at the cost of having an oppressive dictatorship that had murdered millions of its citizens, then there had been another terrible war with unimaginable destruction and death, followed by the loss of the eastern provinces with 16 million people being made refugees, and then a new period of poverty and hunger – not to mention the remainder of the land being divided into two hostile countries. This unhappy people was longing for peace and normality, and early Lloyd advertising expressed just that. It emphasised the pleasures of owning a car, such as being motorised on the weekend and enjoying picnics and outings, and experiencing the changes of seasons. The Lloyd was also just what they wanted in a car – a real car, but one that could be bought, run and maintained very cheaply. Carl F.W. Borgward had really shown his ability to sense what the public wanted. Admittedly, in 1933 he had made a big mistake, with a very similar car. The Hansa 400/500 had been a flop. Like the 1950 Lloyd, it had been a two-cylinder, two-stroke two-door with a leatherette-covered plywood body and attractive, modern styling,. However, the market was now very different from that of 1933, and a simple, cheap, underpowered car was just what was wanted. It was the first Lloyd since 1914. Lloyd cars had been built by NAMAG (Norddeutsche Automobil- und Motorenaktiengesellschaft), which had been founded in 1906 by Dr. Heinrich Wiegand, president of the shipping concern Norddeutscher Lloyd. The firm had its factory in Bremen-Hastedt – the same factory that would one day be home to Borgward and Goliath. In 1914 Lloyd merged with Hansa, from the town of Varel, and the firm´s products henceforth carried the name Hansa-Lloyd. After Borgward and his then- partner Wilhelm Tecklenborg took over the firm, the name was shortened to Hansa, then (after Tecklenborg left the firm) the cars carried the name Borgward-Hansa. Lloyd was founded as a new, separate company in the Borgward Group because this gave an advantage in procuring raw materials in the difficult postwar years. The car was different from the old Hansa 400 in one big way – it was front-engined, and front-wheel drive. Perhaps this was because Borgward was hoping to latch on to the prewar success of the DKW, the factory of which now lay in the East Zone, and perhaps it was because (as with the Goliath) ex-DKW engineers had worked on its design. A success from the start, the Lloyd was given the affectionate nickname Leukoplast-bomber (Leukoplast is a similar product to our Elastoplast) because of its Rulon fabric-covered body. The popular rhyme „Wer den Tod nicht scheucht,, fährt Lloyd“ (Anyone who does not fear death, drives a Lloyd) only helped publicise the new car. Production went so well that in 1951 Lloyd was able to move to its own factory in Bremen:Neustadt, at which stage a station wagon, a delivery van and a coupé were added to the range. The sedan was identified as the LP 300, the wagon LS300. panel van LK300 (for Kastenwagen) and coupé LC300 – an orderly naming system, which was also continued for the larger-engined 400 and 600 models that were to follow. In 1952 the semi-forward-control Lloyd LT range was added (see Borgward Newsletter, Autumn 2001) This range of commercials, including the world´s first „people mover“, remained in production basically unchanged (except for the motors) until 1961. In January 1953 a new, restyled, larger-engine model, the 400, was released, and its body was progressively changed to steel by November 1954. A convertible (LC) was added in 1955, and remained in the range until 1958. In 1955 Lloyd also introduced an additional model, the 600, with a four-stroke engine, as well as a cheap stripped model, the 250, for drivers who had only a 250cc licence. By this stage Lloyd had reached the peak of its career, namely third place in the sales statistics, which it was to retain until 1957. In 1957 the 600 was joined by a more luxurious model, the Alexander, which featured wind-down (instead of sliding) windows, and an opening boot. The two-stroke 250 and 400 models ceased production in this year. 1958 saw yet another model join the range - the Alexander TS, with 25 bhp instead of 19, and an oval-shaped mesh grille. In May 1956, the Australian Motor Manual tested an LP600, and enthused about its high standard of finish and good handling, and was especially impressed by the effective heater/demister that the Lloyd advertisement had so praised for that winterliche Frische. The testers criticised the noisy motor and the poor conversion to right-hand-drive, which left the speedometer and the handbrake in the wrong places, and regretted the high price of 899 pounds and 12 shillings, which was attributed to excessive import duties and sales tax. (At that time, much higher duties were levied on cars built outside the British Empire.) They summed up: „We feel that there will always be a steady if not great market in this country for any car which can offer the operating economy, excellent finish and attractive appearance of the Lloyd.“ Lloyds were imported into Australia by the L.J. Hartnett concern. His recollections of this episode, from his book, follow this article. German testers were not as kind about the Lloyd´s handling as the Australian Motor Manual. Werner Oswald, influential journalist in the postwar years and later automotive historian, wrote that Lloyds were the opposite of French and Italian smallcars, in that they were very cultivated in their bodywork, but not in their drivetrains. Borgward historian Christian Steiger notes, more kindly, that Lloyds were not bought by sporting drivers, but rather by people who wanted reliability and economical running. There is no doubt that they were reliable – in 1956/7 an amateur writer, Wolfram Block, drove one 50 600 Km around the world (including through Australia) without a breakdown. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that the Italian coachbuilder Frua built 49 baroque Lloyd coupés in 1958/9. They were underpowered for the body, and expensive, but they were good as image-makers. The model that really deserves a mention is the beautifully styled Arabella, which had a 4-stroke 897cc boxer motor. Released in 1959, it was Lloyd´s response to the Germany´s growing prosperity, and, as the name says, was meant as a little sister to the highly regarded Isabella. It is also often given the blame for the end of the Borgward concern, because big losses were made with it. The fact is that the well-equipped car had been calculated to make a profit on a high production volume, but teething problems with early examples gave it a bad reputation, (Steiger writes colourfully that the buyers never forgave her the sins of her youth!) and the volume was below the break-even point. After the Borgward Group had been declared bankrupt, Lloyd continued on, building Arabellas from left-over parts until March 1963. Because of this, Lloyd could pay off all its debts. Unfortunately no buyer could be found for the plant, otherwise this excellent car might have continued in production. At least one of them came to Australia, and was displayed at the 1961 Melbourne Motor Show. Lloyd was part of Germany´s economic miracle. In Germany today these cars are sought after – along with other small cars of this time – because of nostalgia for the Wirtschaftwunderzeit (time of the economic miracle). Collectors in Australia are also starting to show interest in German small cars of the fifties, so hopefully there will be a resurgence of interest in Lloyds. Postscript: Recently I was walking along a city street on a balmy day, quietly laughing at the people in their Japanese four-wheel-drives, with windows up and air-conditioners on. I wanted to call out to them: „Leave your ungainly monsters, and drive a Lloyd mit Schiebedach down an unpaved country road, enjoy the fresh air! Schöner leben!“ But where, today, can one buy a Lloyd? Written by Marius Venz Copyright © 2010 Borgward Car Club of Australia Inc. May be printed by other not-for-profit car clubs provided full credit is given. Hartnett and Lloyd L.J. Hartnett was the man who, while he was working for General Motors, initiated the Holden project in the late forties. After leaving GM he tried to found his own company, to build a brilliant little car designed by the French engineer, J.A. Grégoire. The project failed because of the failure of an Australian company to supply panels. Hartnett published his life story in a book (Big Wheels and Little Wheels, Landsdowne Press, Melbourne, 1964) Here is what he had to say about the Lloyd Hartnett: After the sad business (with the Hartnett car) had all finished, I went off to Europe , to lose myself for a few months in wanderings through France and England, whose people I love and where I have many fine friends. One of my motor industry friends, Charles Hordern, who had been the managing director of Rootes in Australia, reminded me when I met him in England that the Lloyd car, being made in Germany, was in many ways like the design of trhe Hartnett car. This led to my meeting Dr. Carl Borgward in Bremen, and we quickly found an affinity. At Dr. Borgward´s request, the cars for Australia were to be known as the „Lloyd Hartnetts“ – a gesture which I appreciated very much. Back in Australia, refreshed by my travels and eager to „have another go“, I soon began setting up a distribution structure for the Lloyd Hartnetts. Distributors were appointed, and components were imported from Bremen. We had sold about 3,000, and were making plans to manufacture the little car in Australia progressively when Lloyd Motoren, Dr. Borgward´s company in Germany, went bust. It was not the fault of the car, but, I gather, the result of an internal conflict in Bremen between Carl Borgward and his shareholders. So, we were out of the car business again! Frustratingly little detail – and it is amazing that Hartnett was so ill-informed about the reason for the end of Borgward (Borgward´s company belonged wholly to him and his wife, and had no share-holders!) but still very interesting. I wonder if Hartnett knew that the liquidators were trying to sell the whole, ultra-modern Arabella production plant for its assessed value of 20 million Mark? If he had floated a public company to buy it, Lloyds might still be in production – and we would have an Australian owned car industry!