Lloyd cars were built in Bremen, Germany in two periods – 1908-1929 and 1950-1963. They had no connection with the British car company of the same name and possibly had no connection with Wales – Lloyd being a common Welsh surname. However, the company was founded as a subsidiary of NordDeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd in English), which was founded in 1856 and named after the coffeehouse in London owned by Edward Lloyd – and thinking about it, he could have been Welsh!
It was at this coffeehouse in the 17th century that shipping owners and finance people met to discuss business. The name was used for Lloyds of London maritime insurance, Nedlloyd (Netherlands Lloyd) and NordDeutscher both shipping companies. NordDeutscher is now known as Hapag-Lloyd.
So, the original cars were electric cars built under licence and then a few 3.6 litre petrol based cars were produced. In 1914 they merged with Hansa after being sold by the shipping company. Trucks were built using the Hansa-Lloyd name along with two cars, the Treff AS with a 4-litre motor and the 4.6 litre Trumpf AS. All other cars were called Hansa.
In 1929 Carl Borgward bought Hansa-Lloyd and dropped the Lloyd name in favour of his own Borgward brand and Hansa-Borgward.
During 1950, Borgward recreated the Lloyd Motoren Werke to build small, cheap cars in competition to the VW Beetle and Opels. The cars originally used wood and fabric with a steel construction slowly becoming the standard structure. The cars had very small engines, think 2 cylinders, 250cc and 11hp! In fact they didn’t build a single model with an engine bigger than 900cc. You could even buy a lightweight version with no rear seat, trim or hubcaps! These were one of Europe’s version of the Japanese Kei Cars.
The models started out with simple names: LK, LP, LS, LT before names like Alexander, Theodor and Arabella hit the roads. The “L” was for Lloyd and the next letter denoted whether it was a coupe, saloon or a box van.
About 360,000 cars were built between 1950 and 63 when the parent company, Borgward, finally collapsed after the Bremen City Council had taken over the factory. The final cars in 1963 replaced Lloyd with the Borgward name.
As I do these history articles, I discover little known connections that are quite fascinating, for example, how many of us knew the impact that one coffee house would have 300 years ago on the car or maritime industry!
For more information head over to The Lloyd Cars Home Page.