|This is reputedly the biggest one-day car event. We had declared it an official Borgward Car Club event, and six Borgwards were entered, plus a Lloyd that’s not in the Club, and there was another Borgward outside the fence. But let’s get everything into sequence.
Furthest travelled were without doubt Greta and Willie Siroen from The Pines in Western Australia, who trailered their striking and immaculate Isabella Coupé convertible behind a motor-home. Next arrivals were Melbournites Ray Harrison and Anthony Ramadge and his father Kevin, in Isabella Coupés, then SA country member Marius Venz in an Isabella TS. Meeting place was the home of Barbara Warcok and family, who were delighted to have four Borgwards in their driveway. If we include Barbara’s TS (which at present consists of a rolling body-shell and a whole lot of parts on shelves) there were even five Borgwards there.
After enjoying coffee and excellent cake (baked by son Oliver), a convoy proceeded through Adelaide to the home of Inga and Bo Isberg at Semaphore. Everyone enjoyed driving in convoy - something we’ll have to do more often. At Semaphore we met the Isbergs and their everyday-driver Coupé, the pièce de résistance - the Hansa 1700 Hebmüller Sportcabrio featured in our last Newsletter. This breathtaking car was, in the words of Ray Harrison, alone worth the trip from Melbourne to see. Bo has made a lot of progress with it, and seems to be on schedule for the car’s debut next year.
In the evening, we met at the Evida Restaurant at Henley Beach. This excellent venue offered first-class meals at reasonable prices, beautiful surroundings (with a wonderful view of the sea) and (a rarity in restaurants) served all our meals at the same time. By wonderful chance a series of ordinary cars left the car-park just as each of our Borgwards arrived, and we were able to park our FIVE Borgwards together. Other members at the restaurant, in addition to the entrants and Barbara and Ted, were Ray and Pauline Hall, and Wayne Cowley.
In the morning the same five Borgwards met at the Esplanade, then drove to the marshalling point at West Beach. Here we were joined by a SIXTH Borgward - the Isabella Coupé of Frank Bannister, which had been dissembled by a well-meaning would-be restorer in 1977, was on its first ever outing (apart from a couple of road-tests) after a year of hard work on Frank’s part! Cameras clicked. We had equalled the record of the British and European day of two years ago!
At the marshalling point we were again met by various Borgward members, some who had been at the Restaurant and some who hadn’t, and the car-talk of the previous night began anew.
Unfortunately the cars were divided up in the heavy traffic through Adelaide, and the trip was strenuous. Two thousand additional cars were simply beyond the city’s already strained road system, and it took up to five traffic light cycles to get through each intersection. What is normally a one hour trip took two and a half hours, and most of us were tired and frustrated on arriving at Birdwood, and didn’t have a lot of energy to see the Museum or the cars on display. Another disappointment - we couldn’t park together. We have since learned that this would have been possible if we had requested it beforehand, but nobody knew about that. There was, however, a highlight waiting for us - Graham Kerr of Rapanyup in Victoria, who had not entered the rally, but still driven his painstakingly restored, immaculate Isabella Coupé to Birdwood, found us. Unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to park in the paddock, but we went up to the main street to see this great car, and it was a pleasure to meet Graham, a Borgward owner since 1965. We did find a Lloyd Alexander TS in the rally (for sale, we’re looking for a home for it!), and there was reputedly a second Lloyd there, but not listed in the programme, and we didn’t find it. Some other South Australian Lloyd owners found us, however, and we hope that they’ll join the Club.
There were two thousand cars there, though many were as recent as 1973, and the overwhelming majority comprised mass-market cars. Huge numbers of cars may be impressive, but I think most Borgward people would be more interested in seeing Continental cars, or at least rare ones. Some of us felt that we wouldn’t be keen to go in another Bay to Birdwood, but all were glad to have been in it once. Despite the traffic problems it was a memorable experience, and we had enjoyed our time together. We look forward to the opportunity of meeting other Borgward people in future events.
PS: Birdwood was called Blumberg until 1917, when the name was changed due to the prevailing anti-German feeling. A shame: Blumberg would have been a much more appropriate venue for 7 Borgwards and one or two Lloyds!