Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos
All of this made a great time journey, BUT the real deal started for me when I stepped into the world of the finest of the finest (if you missed part 1, click here). Before I did, accidentally, I grew like a giant after drinking something from a little bottle. I wasn’t able to get out of the Spyker hall with the wonderful aircraft, which was not a bad place at all to hang around. Luckily I remembered from Alice in Wonderland that I I had to eat some cake in order to get back to normal size. I was now smaller as before, especially when staring at those great historic heroes…
Next I ended up at the section of race icons and wonderful vintage and classic supercars. I listened with interest to some great stories about these heroic automobiles, told by one of the Louwman editors. When looking at the brutal machines and hearing about their victorious lives, I felt enormous respect for those pieces of speed and art. See below SOME of my faves: 1953 Lancia D23 Spyder, 1932 Maserati 8C 3000, 1957 Maserati 300S, Aston Martin DB5, 1965 Lamborghini 350GT, 1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Vandenplas Le Mans, 1933 Maserati 8CM Monoposto GP, 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Touring, 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Grand Sport Testa Fissa, 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza Scaglietti Spider Works team car, Jaguar XKSS and obviously many more… I didn’t want to leave my lovely speeds monster friends, but my friends from the elegance section were already waiting for me.
Like my dad I can really appreciate the beauty of a Talbot-Lago or a Delahaye, especially if it is a Figoni & Falaschi, Chapron or Saoutchik, see the 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé Chapron, 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé Saoutchik and the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150SS “Teardrop” Coupé Figoni & Falaschi. Not to forget the stunning 1946 135MS Coupé Pourtout, a car my dad once tried to buy in France, long before it came to the Louwman Museum and even before it was acquired by the Rosso Bianco collection!
The neighbors of these portraits on wheels are the Bugs, who doesn’t love Ettore’s work? The best Bug spot was for me the 1910 T18, also known as ‘Black Bess’, but why? Above the T18 there is an aircraft and the combination of those two is very special. Let me briefly tell you about that. Once upon a time there was a famous French aviator and sportsman called Roland Garros (1888-1918). He was a good friend of Ettore Bugatti, and in September 1913 he became the very first owner of this ‘Black Bess’. The same year Garros flew as first pilot non-stop across the Mediterranean. He did this in his Morane-Saulnier, and this single engined aircraft accompanies the T18 today in the museum, and they are friends forever. The dandies of the Bugs are for sure the 1932 T50T Coach Profilée and the 1934 T57 Roadster Grand Raid Gangloff, another car which my dad has been involved with in the 1970s. The 1932 T54 Bachelier Roadster looks cute, but it isn’t! It’s a true beast with its 5-Litre supercharged engine that is good for a shy 300HP! What we can call a cute one is the Bug Baby car, the T52.
Those CHB readers who have followed me from the beginning already know that there is a pearl hidden there… It was an honor to meet the one and only ‘Butcher’s car’ again after I saw it winning the ‘Best of Show’ award at the Chantilly Concours d’Elégance last September. It is a car that is so impressive and has so much to tell, if you sit there in a comfortable chair you can stay four hours. This 500K can easily tell you stories for hours. Click here for this incredible 500K history.
Sadly the 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK was not at home, so a good reason for me to return one day. So I went towards the 1926 Mercedes-Benz K Torpedo Transformable Saoutchik. I looked at the front bumpers and was happily surprised to see those Cromos bumpers, but I wish it had a rear Cromos bumper as well. These jewels only adorn very few cars, one of which is a wonderful Hispano-Suiza H6C. Speaking about Hispano-Suiza, I spotted one, a baby blue H6B with coachwork by Million-Guiet. It looks very special, but the color is not so much my kind of thing. Perhaps it should be repainted one day : )
What doesn’t need new paint is the 1925 Voisin C7 Type Demi-Berline two-door. I love the ‘dans son jus’ look of this neglected sleeping beauty and this is a must have for every vintage car museum. As you might know, Voisins are known for their Art-Déco interiors, so click here to see another example in Pink Panther style. The 1931 Voisin C23 Myra Saloon proves that even this Art-Déco pattern is stylish when decorating a wall ; )
Next on to the ‘woodylicious’ where I spotted two trees on wheels, a 1912 Panhard et Levassor X19 Labourdette Skiff-Torpédo and the 1910 RR 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Croall & Croall Shooting Break. There were also two great Chrysler woodies, a 1948 Town & Country Convertible and a 1942 Town & Country Barrel Back Station Wagon.
Another CHB friend I met was the 1910 Brooke 25-30 HP Swan car; click here to find out about it’s amazing history. This drake of a ‘shitting’ car is probably the weirdest of all, together with the 1920 Cygnet baby swan car. Don’t ever say that the Cygnet is a little ugly duckling, or sing THIS song , if you do, make sure to run for your life because mother Brooke will cook you when spitting hot steaming water on you.
Does anyone know which marque came up with the world’s first 6-cylinder engine, combined with 4 wheel-drive and 4 wheel-brakes? The 1903 Spyker 60-HP 4-wheel drive racing car had all this, and at the Louwman Museum they have this one of course, how cool is that. What is also very cool, are the engines you will see exhibited here and there. There are two engines sliced in half (at the ‘boatomotive’ section), this is extremely interesting and helpful for the yet technical dummies.
A great thing about the Louwman Museum is that there is something of everything, so there is also automotive art, to which a special hall is dedicated with portraits and posters. Usually I would pass this, because I rather look at the cars than their paintings, but you must absolutely take a pitstop to see this amazing collection. This is where you will also find the first electrical loading station. The Louwman editor I mentioned before took me back to this place and showed me that it is actually very interesting. The walls are hanging full of great stories! I had to guess what the loading station for electric cars was, and of course I had no clue only that it looked dangerous… Electrical cars were actually much more user friendly for female drivers, who were often not strong enough to give the crankhandle the right swing to start the engine. Anyway, pay attention to this area. Perhaps when looking at the posters and paintings they will start to move, you never know! ; ) And because there is so much to see next to cars, your wife will have a great time as well at the Louwman Museum!
At the end, just before entering the restaurant, I was amazed to walk into a small village full of great period workshops and stores. It was like the set for a historical movie, really insane, I love that area. Click here for a famous Delahaye that is actor in a WW2 movie.
I gave you enough reasons to visit the grandiose Louwman Museum. Now it is up to you to make your own journey to this palace of the finest. You will be amazed by the wealth and breadth of the collection. What I showed you is just a small part of the enormous collection that you will never forget…
Btw, there are some pix with a funny detail, if you found what the detail is, let me know in the comments below : )