James Bond, Elvis Presley and the world's oldest private car collection
The Louwman museum in The Hague, Netherlands, holds a collection of 230 historic automobiles, including James Bond's DB5 from the movie "Goldfinger" and one of Elvis Presley's Cadillacs. Although a privately-owned collection, the museum is open to the public, and features a large selection of pre-1910 cars, including one reputed to be the second automobile ever. Here is a selection of the cars on display.
Louwman Museum entrance
At the entrance to the Louwman Museum's courtyard, you will find this fellow, a bust of a driver done in Futurist style.
1887 De Dion Bouton Et Trepardoux steam quadricycle
With a steam engine, this car could go 37 mph, very fast for personal transport in 1887, but it took almost an hour to get its steam up. The vehicle on display at the Louwman museum is one of the oldest cars in the world.
The Spyker Double Phaeton came with a 22 horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, and featured a new oil system that reduced consumption and eliminated the blue smoke that typically emanated from cars of this era. This model was one of the last to come out before Spyker's first bankruptcy, after its founder Hendrik-Jan Spijker died in a ferry accident.
The Brooke Swan Car is, obviously, a one-off custom build. It was commissioned by Robert Nicholl Matthewson, a Scotsman living in Calcutta during British imperial rule. It is powered by a 3.2-liter eight-cylinder engine making 20 horsepower. Its exhaust-driven horn included a keyboard that played eight tones.
The head of the Swan Car has electric lights in its eyes and the beak can open, spraying steam from the engine's cooling system to clear people out of its way. Before coming to the Louwman Museum, the Brooke Swan Car was owned by the Maharaja of Nabha.
1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Croall and Croall Shooting Brake
Many early cars were built as an engine and chassis, with a coach builder supplying a custom body. Such is the case with this Silver Ghost, to which coach builder Croall and Croall added a body designed for hunting. The ninth Duke of Queensberry commissioned this car.
1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Croall and Croall Shooting Brake
Preceding Rolls-Royce's Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, Croall and Croall fitted this stag head, following the car's hunting theme. Under the hood is a 7-liter six-cylinder engine good for 50 horsepower, and a top speed for the Silver Ghost of 62 mph.
Commissioned by the Nawab of Hyderabad when India was a British colony, this Phantom showed off a polished-aluminum exterior designed by coach builder Barker, along with teak door panels and interior elements. Its 7.6-liter six-cylinder engine produced 95 horsepower.
1912 Panhard and Levassor X19 Labourdette Skiff-Torpedo
The X19 carried a 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine, giving it 22 horsepower and a top speed of 34 mph. This model, sold as a chassis, became the first car on which was built a boat-style body by Jean-Henri Labourdette, kicking off a more general trend.
With the American Underslung models, the chassis is suspended below the axles, creating a lower center of gravity to improve handing. The company produced cars from 1908 to 1914, and this example is one of three Model 644s known to exist.
The body of this Pierce-Arrow was built by Studebaker, and it featured a unique air suspension made by Westinghouse, the pneumatic tubes for which can be seen below the headlights. Its 6.8-liter six-cylinder engine produces 70 horsepower.
Joswin refitted Mercedes-Benz cars, such as this example, with airplane engines. This Town Car, believed to be the only Joswin model in existence, has a 7.2-liter six-cylinder engine, making 95 horsepower.
Early Renaults lacked a conventional grille, as the radiator was placed behind the engine, allowing for this unique front-end design. The 40CV had a 45-liter radiator, which cooled its massive 9-liter six-cylinder engine.
Official cars such as this and police cars were only lightly modified from the models on which they were based up until the 1960s, retaining the same engines and suspension. Added to this Packard were red lights and a siren in front of the grille.
The Type 54 used a supercharged 5-liter eight-cylinder engine making 300 horsepower, extraordinarily powerful for its day. Bugatti only built five of the Type 54 chassis, and this one was raced in the French Grand Prix.
The roadster body was built on this Type 54 chassis by its second owner, L.G. "Batch" Bachelier. Now restored, this example is referred to as the Type 54 Roadster Bachelier, and has won the Briggs-Cunningham Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
"Raid" is a French word referring to a rally through difficult terrain. The phrase "Grand Raid" was appropriately applied to this car, as it competed in the 1934 Paris-Nice-Paris rally, and won the 1935 Chavigny Hill Climb event. Despite being used as a rally competitor, it shows off a beautifully designed body.
The controls for the Type 57 are very similar to today's cars, with a stick shift in the middle and three pedals. The wooden dashboard shows off large gauges for engine and vehicle speed. This car has a right-hand drive configuration. Under the hood is a 3.3-liter eight-cylinder engine making 135 horsepower.
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ LaGrande Dual Cowl Phaeton
The size of the supercharger on the Duesenberg Model SJ's 6.9-liter eight-cylinder engine forced the automaker to route the exhaust pipes out the sides of the hood, giving the car a distinctive look. That engine gave the Model SJ 320 horsepower, a huge amount of power for the time.
Auburn's "Speedster" name was not unwarranted, as this car used a supercharged 4.6-liter eight-cylinder engine making 150 horsepower. Its predecessor, the Model 851, achieved average speeds of 100 mph in endurance testing. The engine's supercharger spun at 24,000rpm, the tips of its blades hitting supersonic speeds.
BMW designed its original 328 specifically for racing, shedding weight be eliminating items it considered unimportant, such as bumpers. The result was a car weighing 1,830 pounds, powered by an 80-horsepower 2-liter six-cylinder engine.
This AA model is the oldest known example of a Toyota car in the world. Toyota produced 1,400 of them between 1936 and 1943. This one was found in Siberia in 2008 and bought by the museum. It is on display in unrestored condition.
The 2000GT is an exceptionally rare, beautiful and powerful car from Toyota, with a 2-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 150 horsepower, quite a lot for a Toyota model in the late '60s. Only 351 examples were built.
This car was shown at the 1946 Paris auto show, and featured a body by coach builder Pourtout on a Delahaye 135MS chassis. Its 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine made use of three carburetors to produce 125 horsepower.
This Tatra 87, with its interesting three-headlight configuration, came with a 3-liter V-8 engine. However, that air-cooled engine is mounted in the rear. The body was designed for aerodynamic efficiency. It shows some resemblance to the Volkswagen Beetle, as Tatra's prewar designs influenced Volkswagen.
Designed by coach builder Jacques Saoutchik in Paris, the Talbot Lago hearkened back to Art Deco style of the 1920s and '30s. It was powered by a 4.5-liter six-cylinder engine good for 190 horsepower. Only 36 of the Grand Sport versions were made.
The Commodore 8, using a 4.1-liter eight-cylinder engine good for 128 horsepower, featured a low floor, so you had to step down over the rocker panel. This design lowered the center of gravity, improving the car's handling.
This Daimler DK400 model was modified by Hooper coach builders to serve as a show car at the 1955 Earls Court Motor Show in London. Its zebra theme meant it had zebra skin upholstery and an ivory dashboard.
James Bond became indelibly linked to the Aston Martin DB5 with the release of the movie "Goldfinger." The car seen here is one of four built in the Aston Martin factory for the movie, and shows off its bulletproof rear panel, revolving license plate and extendable front bumpers for use as battering rams.
This Fleetwood was owned by Elvis Presley, who specified the modifications such as chrome trim, large headlamps over the actual headlights, and dashboard lighting that pulsed to the music on the radio. While having been Elvis' car makes this Cadillac something special, he owned and modified hundreds of Cadillacs.