LLOYD DRIVERS ON THE ROAD
by Eugen K. Schwarz
Translated from Fahr mit LLOYD, a Lloyd Mororenwerke publication from August 1958, kindly provided by Ray Harrison. The racy style makes this article entertaining to read 46 years later, and gives us an insight into the enthusiasm that these great little cars engendered (and still do!)
What sort of things can you experience on a test drive? How do other motorists respond when they are overtaken fast? Why can you drive a Lloyd hard without worries?
It was my resolution to answer these and many other questions, as the people in Bremen pushed the keys to an Alexander into my hands. I was determined to find out what this car was made of in the course of a longer road test. To do a test of this kind, it’s necessary to drive fast over long distances, to have the right feel in the sole of the right foot and in the fingertips, and – last but not least – a good ear. How else can a road-tester obtain all the impressions and information that readers demand? The readers want to know how the car will stand up to hard everyday use, how it is to be driven most purposefully and rationally, how much fuel it consumes under normal conditions and with hard driving, and what performance one can expect in curves and on uphill slopes or downgrades.
Driving fast in a LLOYD is really something else! You have no idea of all the things that I experienced! Many motorists I overtook apparently took it as a challenge to a road-racing duel – or did they suffer from a sudden bout of inferiority complex? I had no way of making them understand that my blasting past their significantly larger, but sedately driven, vehicles was in no way intended as a derogatory judgement of their make of car or its driver. It wasn’t possible to call out to them as I flashed past, that I had a reason for driving so rapidly and didn’t want to damage anyone’s ego, though I often wished that I could have communicated this to them.
My LLOYD road test thus precipitated an upset in the driving style of many motorists. I definitely had not intended to do this, and I wish to avoid any accusations against me to this effect. Naturally some drivers of larger cars, as the tail of the Alexander pushed in front of their radiator grilles, overtook back again. With triumphant grins they took off into the distance, never to be seen again. However, many high-horsepower drivers, who had taken up a rapid driving style when I appeared, soon found it to be too much for them, and gave up. For my part, I have to say that I didn’t find this sort of driving in the LLOYD too strenuous at all.
It was generally the drivers of cars of the same size who didn’t have problems with being overtaken by a LLOYD. They seemed to think that the performance was a bit unbelievable, although my Alexander was a perfectly normal, series production model.
Surprisingly, it was also LLOYD drivers who wanted to race with me – sporty looking men with sun-tanned faces, women with contented children beside them, older gentlemen with elegant ties and greying at the temples, women with red lips and flashing eyes (I noticed in the rear-view mirror as I went by) – he in a beige coloured garbadine jacket, she with a genuine lace blouse and beehive hairstyle. We had many a merry race, and nearly all of them wanted to show me that they could handle their LLOYDs as well as I was driving mine. They brought out the weaknesses in my driving style as I did in theirs, they tried to trick me in the masses of traffic and get ahead at the green light, or to make the best use of the front-wheel drive in curves.
I thus got to know many of the LLOYD family more closely. Not personally, naturally, but through their driving styles, their behaviour in traffic, their attitude to their cars and to the ever-heavier traffic volumes. I have to say that I came to like them! They wanted to give the impression that they knew how to handle a car, to get the most performance out of it, to drive elegantly in traffic, to belong to the circle of genuine motor.heads, despite – or perhaps I should say because of – the performance of their air-cooled, four-stroke twin cylinders. Here I must admit openly that I have spent too much time in larger cars, and not realised how well and how fast one can travel in the light-car class. That was, at least, until I temporarily became an Alexander driver and saw how LLOYD drivers proudly, and with complete trust in the performance of their vehicles, drove with verve in all traffic conditions. I learned that it was fun to be part of the LLOYD community, not only because of the good performance of the cars from Bremen, but also because of the characteristic good driving and performance optimisation of other LLOYD drivers.
As I brought the test-car back to Bremen, I had the opportunity to do a full-throttle long-distance drive over 500 kilometres of Autobahn. The evil thought at the back of my mind was that something in the motor, gearbox or drive-train might break. I wanted to find out the weaknesses of this car, even if it meant being stranded by the roadside. The leadfoot remained on the accelerator as long as possible.
On this flat-out drive, I caught up again with many drivers of cars with much more powerful motors. Much to their displeasure! And the LLOYD drivers – on this day they were especially persistent in staying with me, even though I drove at breakneck speed! In the course of these comparison tests – as I have to call them – I was quite concerned about maintaining this velocity. I was afraid that I might be the cause of some of these good people unintentionally doing what I was trying to do – having a mechanical failure in their cars. I quietly wished for a sign in my back window: „Test vehicle“, or „Don’t try to keep up with me, I’m on a test drive.“ Perhaps then they would have left me alone, and understood why I was driving so unashamedly fast. However, they all seemed to completey trust the ability of their cars to withstand full-throttle driving, and not to be worried about the increased fuel consumption. This was, as I was to learn, understandable – the increase was negligible.
From Frankfurt to Kassel a blue LLOYD remained on my heels. I just couln’t shake the thing off. In it, besides Father, sat Mother and daughter in total calm, with a friendly smile for me whenever we were driving side-by-side, as if the whole thing were just a Sunday drive, and thoroughly routine. Just before the Autobahn exit at Nörten I was overtaken by a white LLOYD. It had, over many kilometres, gradually, metre by metre, caught up with me. The driver must have over-revved it terribly on downhill runs, otherwise he never would have caught me. He simply had the trust in the durability of LLOYD engineering that comes after many years of ownership.
Finally, a slight, elderly gentleman, with a corpulent wife at his side, took up the chase with my car. Between Einbeck and Hannover there was a rainstorm hammering down, with all the associated features of a thunderstorm. In addition there were long line-ups of traffic, with micro-cars or heavy trucks at the head of them. I overtook these obstacles as rapidly and fast as humanly possible. This visibly annoyed the drivers of larger cars who were hesitating to overtake, as I saw an unsettled movement in the line-up of traffic in my rear vision mirror, like a swarm of hornets that had been disturbed.
And who followed me in these somewhat daring manoeuvers in hops that were just as large and just as sudden? The LLOYD with the elderly couple! It was hard to believe, bat I recognised my partner by his headlights. We remained together until Bremen, although I did everything possible to shake off my pursuer. As we finally reached the Hanseatic port of Bremen, the elderly gentleman gave me a wave shortly as I turned off, as if to say: „Well, did you have fun driving that way too? It’s always like that, when you drive a LLOYD!“
TRANSLATION COPYRIGHT © 2010 Borgward Car Club of Australia Inc. This article may be used by other not-for-profit car clubs, provided full credit is given.