A couple weeks ago I spent an all car 3 day weekend in Breda, The Netherlands with fellow Opponut and Live and Let Diecast mainstay, Jobjoris. He took me on a tour of just about every automobile related attraction in Holland and Belgium and I saw cars I’ve only dreamed about. Our first stop was the Louwman in The Hague, possibly the coolest car museum anywhere. Its collection ranges from the dawn of the automobile to the present day and features some of the most beautiful and important cars ever built. One in particular I was extremely psyched to see although it’s probably not the car most people travel halfway around the world to visit. Here’s a bunch of potato pictures. I skipped photographing most of the prewar stuff because time was tight, but there were some pretty amazing early contraptions there.
1935 Steyr Type 55 “Baby.” A Beetle-esque shape and note the swing axels. Not the only VW ancestor there. 1898 Lacroix & Delaville La Nef Leontine. I can only imagine the turning radius this thing has. 1958 Lloyd LT 600 “Limousine” with an awesome Maico Mobil scooter next to it. 1951 Lloyd LP300. One of the first affordable postwar German cars, it’s body is plywood covered in a vinyl material called “leukoplastbomber.” Suzuki Fronte 600, a kei car with a bigger motor sold in small numbers in Europe. Citroën 2CV Safari, the 4WD, double engined wonder. 1949 Austin A40 Atlantic Convertible. 1942 Breguet A2 electric car. Breguet was a French manufacturer of airplanes and luxury cars that built around 200 of these during WW2. Suzuki CV-1. These could be had as either battery powered, or with a 50cc scooter engine. They were actually sold in America as the Zoe Zipper. This is the one that I was excited to see. A 1955 Bambino. It’s a license built copy of the German microcar the Fuldamobil. Just a handful were built in the Netherlands by a transport manufacturer called Alweco. This is probably the only one left in the world. The body is made of heat pressed aluminum, a process that could only be done with round shapes, hence the egg. Fuldamobils were built on license all over the world and this is probably the rarest version. 1953 Kleinschnittger F-125 1955 Inter Cabin Scooter. This was France’s answer to the Messerschmitt microcar. 1941 Peugeot VLV. This was another Second World War era French electric car. Gasoline was unavailable during the war, so electricity was the only option for new cars which were only built in small numbers. Peugeot made less than 400 of these. 1946 Rapid Swiss “Volkswagen.” This car was designed by Josef Ganz, a German Jew who began designing and building a people’s car in the 1920's. He built a few prototypes for a rear engined car with a backbone chassis in the 30's and those cars were basically the basis for the Beetle. But, Ganz, being Jewish, was never recognized for his achievements and his name wiped from history. After the war, he went to Switzerland where the Rapid company built 37 of these cars of his design. 1926 Hanomag 2/10 “Kommisbrot.” These were the 20's version of the Beetle built during a time when Germany was going through runaway inflation. It had a 500cc 10hp single cylinder motor and featured one (!) drum brake. 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Cupola. This masterpiece is one of two built and the only survivor. It was once owned by Dominican president Rafael Trujillo. 1960 Pininfarina X. This is a pretty famous concept car that was really cool to see in person. One of Farina’s wackiest designs, the wheels are arranged in a diamond pattern with the single front wheel steering, and the single rear wheel powering the car. The two outside wheels being basically outriggers. It has a drag coefficient of 0.23cd. 1955 Abarth 209A Boano Coupé. This car was designed by Mario Boano, a Ghia employee who wanted to build a sports car for the American market. This car was based on the Fiat 1100 with Abarth parts and a motor Abarth caressed to produce almost 80 horsepower, nearly doubling its output. After 12 cars were ordered by the American Abarth importer, the project fell apart and this was the only one built. It was sold to some lucky bastard in Chicago. 1976 Fiat 850 Shellette Spider. Designed by the great Giovanni Michelotti, this was a beach car based on the Fiat 850. Eighty of these were built and this one was one of two owned by a guy from Santa Barbara, CA, lucky bastard. 1985 Sbarro Challenge I. One of Franco Sbarro’s experiments in aerodynamics and pure 80's-ness, it has a drag coefficient of 0.26. Is that better or worse than the Pininfarina? I can’t remember if you want a lower number, or higher. Anyway, I’m not sure which I’d choose. A custom built Rolls designed by a madman. 1951 Taruffi Tarf II Double Torpedo. This was a record breaker designed by Italian racing driver Piero Taruffi. 1903 Spyker 4WD Race car. There was a room full of amazing original Spyker cars, but by this time we were getting kicked out, so here’s what might be the most significant one. Built for the Paris to Madrid race, but not finished in time, it was the first all wheel drive car and featured a revolutionary six cylinder engine with separate cylinders. 1910 Brooke Swan Car. Built for a wealthy Scot living in Calcutta. Apparently he wanted to “shock” his fellow mucky mucks living in India which I think is a great idea and a terrible waste of money. It was later sold to a Maharaja whose family used it for 70 years of terror. Lloyd Alexander, the car so nice, they named it twice. And a 2CV in the parking lot was a perfect finish.