The 'Isabella' had a 1493cc inline 4 cylinder OHV engine
of 75 x 84.5 mm bore and stroke with a single downdraft
carburetor, fitted to an extremely short intake manifold
inside the rocker box.
This actually gave the appearance of an OHC engine as
opposed to it being an extremely efficient pushrod powerplant
of 60-bhp din (65 bhp SAE).
The pretty car was spacious,
thoroughly well made and comparatively light for its size
at 1,000 kg.
Light aluminum alloys were used extensively for the gearbox,
cylinder head and on many engine parts, covers, etc.,
as opposed to the cheaper and noisier pressed steel.
The body not only looked ultra new for 1954 it comprised
a unit construction body and separate front and rear sub
frames, the front one being rubber mounted.
suspension featured unequal wishbones, coil springs and
telescopic shock absorbers, checked by an anti roll bar.
At the rear was a fully independent swing axle, again
featuring coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers.
The front of the axle was located by radius arms, pivoting
in rubber bearings, the differential being mounted to
the rear subframe in large rubber bushes.
Very large hydraulic
drum brakes were used with twin leading shoes at the front
and single leading at the rear, complete with wide aluminum
The gearbox had four all synchromeshed forward speeds
and one reverse and was actuated by an extremely efficient
and precise column gearchange marred only by its rather
The handbrake was mounted under the dashboard
and was the umbrella type that, with the bench seat, allowed
three across the front and three across the back. The polished Bakelite dashboard contained three large
gauges, a clock/temperature gauge, petrol gauge and the
speedometer. There was a cigarette lighter with a plug
in map reading light, three ashtrays, one under the dashboard
and two in the rear side panels.
Ample storage space was provided comprising two door pockets,
glove box and later supplemented by two retractable cord
strung tubular framed map holders, mounted on the side
of each footwell. Unusually, the doors had separate wind
down quarter lights providing draft free ventilation.
Separate heaters for driver and passenger were provided,
as were separate controls.
The large white steering wheel actuated a lightly weighted
and rubber coupled worm and peg or worm and roller
steering box with three turns from lock to lock. The
steering was very precise with a turning circle of
around 32 feet; later cars being fitted with a hydraulic
telescopic steering damper. The very well balanced
weight distribution coupled with the low centre of
gravity and all round independent suspension endowed
the car with very high cornering powers.
The fuel consumption was low at around 34 mpg and the
top speed was 87 mph yet Carl F. W. Borgward kept
the price low by a mixed price calculation with his
other products. The only real vices were the vertical
fixing of the front bulkhead to the floor making it
slightly awkward to rest your feet and the rather low
driving position of the front seats, but these were
only minor faults against all the advantages.
Although the factory-reconditioned units for items such
as the engine and back axle were relatively expensive
in 1954, there were no rivals.