Louwman Museum – Profile Page Two
As said, 236 cars are shown spread over three floors. In addition there is a very sizeable collection of automobilia and original paintings, notably by the famed English artist F. Gordon-Crosby and American Peter Helck. Walking through the Museum covers about 1 kilometer 0.6 miles)!
The Spirit of Motoring
Over the years, the Louwmans (former and current) has amassed a great variety of cars ranging from the second oldest vehicle in the world, a de Dion Bouton Trepardoux steam car of 1887 vintage to cars from the mid-seventies. The odd one out in this regard is the 2009 Toyota Formula 1 car as driven by Jarno Trulli, this being a given by Toyota. One should never look a gift horse in the mouth!
The main feature of all cars is that they are all original and quite a few in unrestored or lightly touched-up condition. They may not look like a million dollars but some are certainly worth that. Furthermore, most cars are in a running condition, as is shown by the fact that every once in a while some are “playing outside” like for instance taking part in the Mille Miglia or the London to Brighton Run in England, to name just a few
As seems to be the habit nowadays, the Museum starts on the top floor with the oldest cars. Among those well known names like Peugeot, Daimler and De Dion Bouton.
It should be noted that all these “oldies” are displayed in large booths, specially air conditioned to retain, among others, their patina. It takes up a fair amount of space but the Museum considers this to be the only proper way to display this motoring heritage. If this is not enough, this is followed by the largest collection of Benz cars on the World. Eight in total, including of course the Patentwagen. This car however is a reconstruction made by Daimler Benz some time ago, but it works like the real thing, which, unfortunately, does not exist anymore. The others are original and unrestored.
The London to Brighton Run is one of the features in this part, so they are very proud to show the two cars which featured in the movie (or film as the English would say) “Genevieve”, a semi-romantic comedy based on the event. The two protagonists, a Spyker and a Darraq are proudly displayed. These two as well as a number of the early cars have participated in this event.
After this a large gallery shows the evolution of the Motor Car, from the A Ford (a very early example), a Mors and so on. All in all about 20 cars on one side of this gallery. On the other side various attributers like clothing and toys are shown to enhance the “feel” of that period. It all ends with a collection of a number of small post WW2 cars “for the masses”, like the Mini , Citroen 2CV and the like.
Attention is also given to alternative modes of propulsion like steam, electric and hybrid. Yes, the Americans, despite their propensity to burn petrol in huge amounts, were the first with a hybrid car, a 1917 Woods Dual Power car, on show in the Museum.
Moving through a bewildering variety of cars, there is a section with some historically important cars, such as the ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II Mercedes (with its armour plates it totals 3000 kg, the heaviest saloon in the collection) as well as Sir Winston Churhill’s Humber staff car with a huge ashtray to accommodate his favorite cigars. There is also a Cadillac from “The King” Elvis Presley on show, the longest of all saloons on this floor.