1954 Borgward Goliath panel van on show in South Australia

TIMELESS: Marius Venz poses with one of the Borgward cars displayed in Memorial Park. The display included an one-of-a-kind Goliath panel van.
TIMELESS: Marius Venz poses with one of the Borgward cars displayed in Memorial Park. The display included an one-of-a-kind Goliath panel van.

There's only one 1954 Borgward Goliath panel van left in the world.

And it's right here in Australia.

The 1954 Borgward Goliath panel van belongs to John Birrell, of Beetaloo Valley in South Australia's southern Flinders Ranges, who is a member of the Borgward Car Club of Australia.

Only 45 vehicles of that model were made by the German manufacturer which collapsed in 1961 amid intrigue and what is thought to have been double-dealing.

The Goliath was on show recently at the Producers' Market in Memorial Park on the Spencer Gulf east coast town of Port Pirie in SA.

Mr Birrell and his wife Fran's example was part of a small gathering of the club that the couple hosted in Port Pirie for the national show and meeting.

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Marius Venz, of Port Pirie, who is also a club member, said the cars - also including the Isabella coupe and Arabella - were ahead of their time and were the brainchild of Dr Carl Borgward.

"It was a small, family-owned company in Germany. I am of German ancestry and I lived for five years in that country where I got the Borgward 'bug'," he said.

"There are about 80 of the cars in Australia. They had all-wheel independent suspension and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox.

"After a few kilometres, the car starts to feel like an extension of yourself. They were well abreast of their times.

"Dr Borgard was his own stylist, engineer and business manager. There is an evil story about the demise of the company. The state government of Bremen acquired the company and intentionally ran them out of business.

"The papers on it remain inaccessible to this day. We wish we knew what happened.

"It really makes Borgward into a cult car, especially in Germany. Carl was also getting into helicopters and apparently had made some advances in design, but when the company was closed, all prototypes were destroyed."

The visitors came from Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia.

Participants enjoyed a Saturday run which included Port Pirie, towns east of the range, Germein Gorge and Port Germein.

The Saturday night's highlight was the annual dinner, annual meeting and raffle.

On the Sunday, the cars were displayed at the market before members enjoyed free time to visit other attractions around Port Pirie before lunch at the Returned Services League and a museum visit.

John and Fran would like to thank the many generous sponsors who contributed to the success of the weekend.

This story 'The sole Goliath in the world' is right here in Australia first appeared on The Recorder.