Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brussels Autoworld

In the centre of the Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, in Brussels, Belgium stands the Arc du Triomphe. Construction of the Arc commenced in 1880 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium's independence but it wasn't finished in time however and a wooden substitute was used during the celebrations. Construction resumed in 1905 and was finished in 1910.

On each side of the Arc there are two massive exhibition halls, both containing impressive museums. One hall houses the Royal Military Museum with its excellent collection of military uniforms dating back to the Napoleonic Wars, tanks from both World Wars and an amazing collection of aircraft.

The other hall houses the Brussels Autoworld, an impressive collection of cars and motorcycles.

The museum has a particulary good collection of veteran machines.

A collection of Austin 7s

The ubiquitous French Citroen Traction-avant

Not all Bugattis were racers or luxury vehicles.

A Hanomag Kommisbrot. Built in 1925 as a budget vehicle . Its construction was absolutely basic and powered by a 500cc single cylinder engine (which would have seemed old fashioned even at the time). Hanomag later moved into truck manufacture.

A Detroit Electric. Who said electric vehicles were a new thing? Detroit Electric began manufacturing electric powered vehicles in 1906. As you'd expect, they were successful as town vehicles at a time when gasoline powered vehicles weren't particularly reliable. Not needing a large engine and radiator, they retained a very old fashioned look right into the 1920s.

The distinctive shovel nosed bonnet of the Renault

Another Renault and a 1920s DKW motorcycle

1908 Renault racer

The British Morgan company specialised in three wheeled sports cars. Engines were sourced from a variety of different motorcycle manufacturers. Interestingly, until 1934 the bonnet was for show as the engine was always placed exposed in the front. In 2011 Morgan announced it was going to re-release the three wheeler. Of course, like most 'resurrected' classics it will undoubtedly be overblown, over-priced and a failure (although I hope not!).

1911 Opel. In the 1930s Opel became the biggest German car manufacturer.

1915 Wanderer. The Saxon auto company Wanderer would later merge with DKW, Audi and Horch to form Auto Union. They originally started as a bicycle manufacturer, moving into motorbikes and family touring cars. These little 'puppen' cars only seated two - a driver in front and a passenger behind.

A veteran three wheeler

The vehicle in the rear is a French le Zebra

Belgian FN motorcycles. I'm not sure what the three wheeled truck is but would like to know.

Minerva fire engine. Minerva were a Belgian company.

Bugatti roadster

1920 Delage D8-120 from France. A fine luxury marque.

1934 Cadillac and a 1954 Goggo Isaria scooter.

BMW 340. This was the model that was also built by the East German EMW company.

Extremely stylish and streamlined Panhard & Levassor Dynamic. These were built from 1936 to 1939 when the war intervened. Panhard is one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world, starting production in 1891. They still exist today but only build military vehicles.

One of my favourite cars of all time, the 1937 Cord 810-912.

Another of my favourite vehicles, the Tatra T600 Tatraplan from Czechoslavia powered by a rear mounted air cooled four cylinder engine. & &

French microcar - Rovin D4

BMW Isetta microcar with a Vespa car behind.

Messerschmitt KR200

1942 Peugeot VLV electric car. France's industrial capacity was diverted to the German war effort during the occupation and petrol was an almost inpossibly scarce resource for civilians, so Peugeot built a couple of hundred of these little electric cars as a speculative venture.

French Aronde

The Belgian version of the Royal Auto Club with a Renault

1949 Oldsmobile

King of style - Citroen DS

Bugatti racer

Streamlined Bugatti