At the entrance to the Louwman Museum's courtyard, you will find this fellow, a bust of a driver done in Futurist style.
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.
This Buffum is the first four-cylinder car in the world. Typical for its time, builder Henry Buffum fitted his innovative engine to an existing carriage body. The engine only produced 6 horsepower.
This one-off car was built by Spyker for the Paris to Madrid race, and featured a number of innovations. It is the first gasoline car with four-wheel drive and the first with a six-cylinder engine.
Racing cars of this era commonly carried a driver and a mechanic. One of the mechanic's jobs was to look at which cars were immediately behind, as the rear-view mirror hadn't been invented.
The novel six-cylinder engine in this car displaced 8.8 liters, produced 60 horsepower and achieved speeds of 68 mph.
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.
As a whimsical ornament, the Double Phaeton's horn, a rubber bulb squeezed by the driver, sounds off out of this serpent head.
One of the last Spyker models before the company's 1924 bankruptcy, the C4 was guaranteed for life, but only 150 were sold over a five-year period. It used a 5.7-liter six-cylinder engine.
The rear seat of the C4 features plenty of legroom and its own folding windscreen for more comfortable top-down driving.
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.
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.
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.
Rolls-Royce's famed hood ornament, the Spirit of Ecstasy, was in use as far back as 1911.
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.
This body is not original, but was commissioned by the Louwman Museum in the 1970s, and built on an original Panhard and Levassor X19 chassis.
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 Model 644 was powered by a 60 horsepower 7.4-liter six-cylinder engine. The right-hand drive controls show the lack of road rules for early cars.
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.
This example of a Lincoln luxury car, reputedly popular with gangsters, was built after the 1922 acquisition of Lincoln by Ford. It runs a 5.9-liter eight-cylinder engine making 90 horsepower.
This is an early example of Lincoln's Greyhound hood ornament, which the company adopted in 1925.
This Packard roadster, running a 4.7-liter six-cylinder engine, served as a fire chief's car in Rhode Island until 1954.
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.
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.
Beyond the exhaust pipes, coach builder LaGrande's low roof added to the car's classic look.
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.
BMW fans will recognize the "kidney" grille immediately, a design element which has evolved continually over the years, and can be seen on every current BMW model.
Mercedes-Benz made only 350 examples of the 500K model, and only 25 were outfitted as Spezial Roadsters. It is powered by a supercharged 5-liter eight-cylinder engine making 160 horsepower.
This example of the 500k Spezial Roadster won the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1994, and is referred to as "the butcher's car" after the occupation of its second owner.
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.
The Ford V8 represents one of the earlier uses of a V-8 engine in the US. Its 3.6-liter V-8 engine block was cast as a single piece, and made 85 horsepower.
This hood ornament evolved from the greyhound ornament used on earlier Ford and Lincoln vehicles, simplified to capture the form but losing identifiable details such as legs and head.
This nine-passenger Town and Country featured wooden doors and, amazing for its condition, has never been restored. It was originally used as transportation on a private estate at Lake Tahoe.
The Town and Country shows an exceptionally clean front end. Under the hood is a 4.1-liter six-cylinder engine, good for 120 horsepower.
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.
One of the earliest Ferrari models, the 166 had a plexiglass roof and aluminum body panels. Its 2-liter 12-cylinder engine produces 110 horsepower.
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.
Beyond the zebra trappings, the DK400 is a very sleek coupe, and runs on a 4.6-liter six-cylinder engine making 160 horsepower.
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.