I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Blydenstein’s article in the October issue on racing his Borgward saloon in the ’50s and early ’60s. Around that time I was running Borgwards as my road cars – in fact Isabella TS75 saloons and a TS75 Coupe in that order.
It was reading of Bill’s successes with the marque that inspired me to savour the Isabella’s qualities, and I wasn’t disappointed. They handled superbly for their day, they were distinctive and the TS75 1 1/2-litre gave very good performance and economy with its two-step Solex. They were all bought second-hand as I was still an impecunious aircraft engineer at the time but they rarely let me down. One saloon was acquired from a BOAC Captain at Heathrow – very nice it was with the number plate ’25 CAR’. I wish I’d kept the registration when I eventually sold that one…
I recall they were known in Germany as the ‘poor man’s Mercedes’, a tag given to Rover at that time with respect to Rolls-Royce. One trouble they did suffer from, as did most other makes then, was the 6-volt electrics. One was continually scraping things clean to banish the contact resistance. I ran them all on Michelin ZX radials and could show a clean pair of heels to many another make. I first met Bill Blydenstein at that time, at his Shepreth works down the A10 from Cambridge, when seeking to `up’ the performance of the ‘Borg’.
I know Bill well today, through taking new cars I’m testing up to him for his opinions. He chucks each model round a quickly devised back lane circuit, where all the bends are visible right through, and I can confirm that he’s lost few of the considerable skills he exhibited on the track over 30 years ago.
I am, yours, etc. Mike Rogers, Berkhamstead, Herts.