Considering that Borgward, parent company of Goliath-Werke, was a pretty small player on the global automotive scene, the Goliath GP700 was quite an influential automobile, setting in place much of the design vocabulary seen to this day.
Established in 1928, Goliath was known as a builder of utilitarian three-wheeled trucks and small cars, but reimagined itself after the ravages of WWII. The GP700 was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1950, and was constantly revised and updated during its lifetime. The ponton-fendered, 3-box design was perceived by the press as more modern and bold than offerings from either Opel or Mercedes-Benz. The novel placement of the small engine, atop the gearbox and transverse in the engine bay, allowed seating for five in a wheelbase of only 91 inches. This was a revolutionary idea, and copied by almost all major manufacturers in the years to come.
In addition to the new layout, the GP700 was the first gas-powered car to offer fuel injection to the public, a feat often, but mistakenly, attributed to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The Bosch mechanical system was first offered on the Sport in 1952, but almost immediately adopted across the range – another Goliath innovation quickly seized upon by others – as was the all-synchro 4-speed gearbox.
In Europe, the Goliath was seen as a direct competitor to upmarket brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel; abroad, it was seen as very much an enthusiast’s car, well-built and innovative. According to the Goliath Veteranen Club, only five GP700s are known outside of Europe!
Manufacturer: Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co.
Country of Origin: West Germany
Drivetrain Configuration: Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: Fuel-injected 688cc, water-cooled 2 cylinder, 29 HP
Transmission: 4-speed all-synchro
Top Speed: 63-75 MPH, depending on model
Years of Production: 1950-1957
Number Produced: 36,524 (27,123 coupes, 9147 convertible, 227 Estate, 27 Sport)
Original Cost: DM 6420 (1950); DM 5115 (1953) (US $ 1218) – price went down with volume!