Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos
Do any of you receive the Louwman Museum newsletter? If you do, you already know that in the latest edition one page has been written by your lovely CHB editor. There is only one minor thing… the newsletter is published only in Dutch, which not many people beyond the borders of my country will comprehend. Perhaps a good reason to learn some basics of the Dutch language? Anyway, the story is the first of many more that I plan to write for their newsletter. It is about my search and journey for my dream car, not a modern one obviously. For those who can, click here for my great story ; ) If there are sufficient requests, I could possibly do a brief translation, if the museum agrees of course. There should BE an English newsletter! : )
Now that I am talking about the Louwman Museum, a while ago I visited this great museum in The Hague, to have a meeting with the editors of the Louwman newsletter. The Louwman Museum is one of the largest, if not THE largest automobile museum in the world! If someone told you that they employ a kind of Ikea arrow system to lead you through this vast museum, then that person was right. The automotive world seems to make good use of some of Ikea’s ideas, because when I was working on the overhaul of a set of Lambo carbs, I noticed that the manual was almost like an Ikea closet manual, how funny. Anyway, I was at the museum to discuss the newsletter and since I was way too early (on purpose), I had enough time to make a long tour thru this palace of the finest.
My first experience of the truly magnificent, a huge entrance hall gave me a feeling like being Alice in Wonderland… See here what happened to me before in Wonderland. Oh and don’t forget THIS hilarious one. This hall is used for exhibitions, and at the moment there is a very nice one about THIS (again written by RAV), so hurry up, you only get the opportunity to see this spectacle until February 14.
After I went thru the secret port, I ended up in a Time Machine. YES, finally my dream became reality. I went back in time more than a century, or to be more specific something like 125 years! With the help of Ikea I travelled thru the history of countless ‘creatures’ with the most beautiful soul. I won’t tell you too much about my own journey, because this is something you should experience yourself… too personal ; )
Okay, I won’t leave you here with a pig in a poke, so I will tell you something about my fave area in the museum. Keep in mind that it’s very personal; this is just what I enjoyed the most.
When stepping into a Time Machine, obviously you start at the beginning of motorized transport, with the oldest of all. I stepped into a dark world, staring at the oldest vehicles, one of which is the oldest in the world, a 1887 De Dion Bouton & Trepardoux Steam Quadricycle. I did not spot creepy ghosts out there in the dark, only beautiful souls of course. This place reveals true patina that is better than the most wonderful artwork. To see the steam-driven vehicles is very special, the work of engineers who were way ahead of their time. Since I am a bit claustrophobic, I was soon on my way to the vintage years, time for more action and high revving engines! Did you know that the first cars were electric and that Louwman even has a loading station from that era?
It is impossible to tell you about each and every car, so here are SOME of my highlights, chosen because of their weirdness and/or elegance. Woodies are most of the time very nice creations, and there is a 1912 Panhard et Levassor X19 Labourdette Torpedo with a very cool skiff body there that winked at me, and I had to capture it in a photo. Believe it or not, there is also a ‘boatomobile’ (I have copyright on this word) section… What would the boatomobile section be without an Amphicar? Exactly, so there is a very nice red one of these from 1967 as an appetizer. Let me briefly tell you something in between. In the beginning of my search for a cyclecar, I found an Amilcar CC with basically half of a body… The rear half was made of wicker-work, resembling a dog’s basket. It was very special and in Louwman’s boatomobile world I had a deja vu feeling, because next to the Amphicar there was something that looked at me and was very wickered. Try to find this wickery thing down below. Last but not least a Reard-like creation from Fiat, a 1953 1100 boat-car Carozzerria Coriasco (also pay attention to the amazing background pic), click here to find out more about the bateau-mobile Hotchkiss/Packard Reard.
All of this made for great time travel, BUT the real deal started here for me as I stepped into the world of…
Sorry dear CHB friend, I will again leave you here at a dangerous cliffhanger. Make sure to tune in tomorrow (or today if you read this story the 7th…), because there are many more delicious cars, I mean automobiles, on the menu. I promise I will make it up to you by not only telling how delicious, but also by showing you. For tasting I can only HIGHLY recommend that you get yourself across the ocean or roads, wherever you are, to the Louwman Museum in The Hague.