30th Borgward International Meeting Hann. Münden 2004
Borgward International Meeting, Hann. Münden (Nr. Kassel), Germany.
A convoy of four cars made the trip from the UK. Apart from the regular, Peter Grove in his Big Six, there was George Sinclair in his Combi, Peter Clark in his Deluxe TS Saloon and Nick Driscoll in his re-created Deutsch Coupe. We arrived at our destination at 1 lpm, after a drive of over ten hours, including stops, from Calais. The flatness of the countryside for most of the trip was very noticeable. I believe it is called the North German Plain. However, as we approached our destination it became hillier with a fair number of 'Z' bends. It was on one of these that Peter Grove tested the off-road capability of the Big Six. It passed with flying colours.
A full day ahead of us on Friday justified the previous day's long trek. It allowed us to visit the town, watch the early arrivals, and help George purchase a Gazebo for his spares stall. Hann. Miinden is a typical small German town situated in a valley at the confluence of three rivers; the Weser, the Fulda and the Werra. It is a long way from Bremen but has a natural link with that city (and thereby Borgward) via the River Weser. Numerous half-timbered buildings in well-preserved or restored condition were to be seen in the narrow cobbled streets - free of traffic. Gift shops sat alongside normal everyday retailers. At some time or other, this had been a walled town. Today, little of the walls remain but round towers situated at strategic points, still stand. In the centre of the town is the church and gothic town hall (Rathaus), which dates back to 1603. It was in front of the Rathaus that we witnessed the contrast of ancient and modern. We were puzzled why a large crowd of bikers were gathered on the forecourt. Despite their forbidding appearance in black studded leather, winged emblems, helmets, etc., they seemed in good humour. Then, quite suddenly, the backgound noise of the chattering crowd was broken by the sound of church bells and motor cycles burning rubber. A bride and groom emerged on the balcony of the Rathaus and embraced. Rice was thrown, and smiles broke out all around. We had just witnessed a biker's wedding.
Nick Driscoll's car attracted much attention. It stood out gloriously in its livery of faded pastel green paint and red primer. One can only guess at the thoughts of those who looked on but I can imagine such questions as: What is it? Did it really come all the way from the UK in that condition? How did the occupants stand the noise (there were no quarterlights, door trim panels or headlining)? This is not to detract from Nick's valiant efforts to get the car roadworthy for the trip. Indeed, some of the cognoscenti could see the true potential in the
project and there were offers to supply photographs of the original Deutsch Coupe. Another year's hard work by Nick and a good paint job should present a very different picture. The usual Saturday evening meal bought together over two hundred people to venerate the memory of Carl Borgward and his vehicles. Monika Borgward, the great mans daughter, graced the occasion. Presentations were made to members of the Essen Club for long service and restoration achievements. The most distant visitor award went to Robert Warner, an American, from Albany, New York State. An award also went to George Sinclair, which was a surprise to him and to us. Proceedings were for the most part conducted in German so we are not sure what the award was for. We think his name had been drawn in a raffle. The entertainment was provided by a group of three men in period dress. They performed a skit on the exploits of a local personality, Doktor Eisenbart, who died in 1727. Perhaps we British do not get all the nuances of German humour but I think we would sum up the entertainment as being amusingly unfunny. The evening closed at midnight and each of us was given a piece of marzipan confectionery in the shape and colour of the Weserstein rock. For those versed in the German language it bore the following poem.
Wo Werra sich mid Fulda ktissen,
Sic ihre Namen biissen milssen,
Und hier entsteht durch diesen Kuss.
Deutsch bis zum Meer der Weser Fluss.
Hann.Miinden d.31.Juli, 1899
Finally, it was the first time that Dave Burt and Peter Clark had attended the German Meeting. They both thought it a worthwhile trip and would encourage others who may be undecided about visiting the German Meeting, at least once.