/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Take a walk through car tech history at Autoworld Brussels (pictures)

Touring this collection of vintage cars is like taking a walk through the last 100-plus years of automotive history.

antuan-roadshow-headshots-jpegs-1893-007.jpg
Antuan Goodwin
autoworldBrussels_40.png
1 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET
Hidden in a large, hangar-like structure in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Belgium, is AutoWorld: a massive car museum with over 250 vintage European and American automobiles on display. Taking a few hours to tour this collection is like walking through the last 100-plus years of automotive history.
autoworldBrussels_01.png
2 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Horseless carriages

The earliest automobiles were based on horse carts, so it's no surprise that the oldest vehicles in the collection resemble carriages. Often, the automaker sold just the chassis and engine, upon which the customer would commission a coachbuilder to build a custom body.
autoworldBrussels_02.png
3 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1922 Ford Model T

Separating chassis and body construction made each automobile unique, but it also made them difficult to buy and very expensive. The assembly line built Ford's Model T was one of the first vehicle to change this, heralding the era of mass production. During the nearly 20 years that it was produced, more than 15 million Model Ts were built.
autoworldBrussels_06.png
4 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1927 Ford Model T Speedster

Mass production didn't exactly spell the end of coachbuilders. Many were still employed by owners to modify their rides, resulting in some of the first customs like this Ford Model T Speedster.
autoworldBrussels_04.png
5 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

FN 1300 Sport

This Belgian FN 1300 Sport is a customized version of the car that won the 1926 24 Hours of Francorchamps.
autoworldBrussels_05.png
6 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

FN 1300 Sport

The custom bodywork and lowered ride look so good, I couldn't resist another snapshot.
autoworldBrussels_03.png
7 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1925 Hanomag Kommissbrot

One of the first successful German automobiles was the Hanomag Kommissbrot, a compact car powered by a 0.499-liter, one-cylinder engine. Output was rated at two-tenths of a horsepower.
autoworldBrussels_41.png
8 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1927 Darmont Type DS Special

This sports roadster is a French-made clone of the British Morgan three-wheeler, a version of which is still being manufactured today.
autoworldBrussels_42.png
9 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1927 Ravel Type B.12.26

Where most cars drew their inspiration from horse carriages, others -- like this French-built Ravel -- seem to be influenced by wooden boat hull construction.
autoworldBrussels_09.png
10 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1934 Citroen Type 7A

In the '30s, we begin to see automakers experimenting many new features that persist even to today in modern automobiles. For example, this Type 7A is Citroen's first front-wheel-drive vehicle. It also features an integrated monocoque and an independent front suspension.
autoworldBrussels_10.png
11 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1930 FN Type 1400

One of the best ways to improve overall performance is to reduce a vehicle's weight. Where modern vehicles use carbon fiber and composites, this 1930 FN Type 1400's body is made of imitation leather stretched over a wooden frame.
autoworldBrussels_12.png
12 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1940 BMW Type 326

The modern BMW 3 Series can trace its lineage back to this 1940 BMW Type 326, though the vehicles look nothing alike.
autoworldBrussels_11.png
13 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1947 Crosley Type 4, 1954 Standard 10

In the late 1940s into the '50s, we start to see automakers around the world working to build small, efficient cars that are beautiful and inexpensive.
autoworldBrussels_08.png
14 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1964 Panhard and Levassor CD Grand tourisme

During my visit, Autoexpo was showcasing a special exhibition of vehicles built by French automaker Panhard and Levassor -- now under the umbrella of the PSA Peugeot Citroen group.
autoworldBrussels_14.png
15 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1950 Volkswagen Beetle Type 1, 1957 Citroen 2CV AZ

Like the American Model T, Ferdinand Porsche's Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 was a revolutionary moment in automotive history. With over 20 million examples produced, the "People's Car" is often cited as the world's most successful automobile. Of course, it spawned a number of imitators.
autoworldBrussels_15.png
16 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1955 Messerschmitt KR200

German fighter plane manufacturer Messerschmitt began building this tandem two-seater in the aftermath of the second World War. That explains its cockpit-like canopy design.
autoworldBrussels_16.png
17 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1962 BMW Isetta Type 300

The Isetta was an Italian microcar built by German manufacturer BMW. The driver entered through a large door on the front of the vehicle, climbing around the steering column, which was hinged at the floor.
autoworldBrussels_19.png
18 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1961 Skoda Felicia Cabriolet, 1957 Trabant Type 601

The Skoda Felicia and Trabant Type 601 entered the market in the Czech Republic and East Germany, respectively, around 1960. The Type 601 continued to be built and sold as recently as 1991.
autoworldBrussels_34.png
19 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

In the 1960s, we start to see the big bodies and big V8s of the classic American automotive market begin to appear.
autoworldBrussels_20.png
20 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1965 Amphibicar

This automotive oddity met both highway and maritime regulations.
autoworldBrussels_21.png
21 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1968 Honda S800

Inspired by small, British roadsters, this Honda S800 was one of the first successful Japanese automobiles in the European market.
autoworldBrussels_37.png
22 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1970 Porsche 912 Coupe

Early Porsche models emphasized function over form in their pursuit of performance. However, when Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche (grandson of THE Ferdinand Porsche) penned the 911 with Karmann, he wanted to make sure that the coupe was both fast and beautiful.
autoworldBrussels_25.png
23 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1971 AMX/3 Spyder

American Motors Corporation (AMC) asked Italian automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro to build this prototype, but ultimately decided not to produce this 560-horsepower, V-8-powered roadster.
autoworldBrussels_26.png
24 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1971 AMX/3 Spyder, 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe

Sitting low to the ground, the AMX/3 Spyder's roof is nearly as low as the contemporary Ford Mustang's hood.
autoworldBrussels_29.png
25 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1971 AMC AMX/3 Prototype, 1974 Lamborghini Countach

Later, AMC asked Giorgetto Giugiaro for six more AMX/3 prototypes. This one is powered by a 345-horsepower V-8 and looks absolutely sharp next to this Lamborghini Countach.
autoworldBrussels_18.png
26 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Lamborghini engine

In addition to the cars themselves, the Autoworld museum also has a number of engines, vintage fuel pumps, and more on display.
autoworldBrussels_30.png
27 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 was a gorgeous sports car built by a French manufacturer between the 1962 and 1977. Its four-cylinder engine was good for anywhere between 55 and 250 horsepower depending on the year, model, and race series.
autoworldBrussels_24.png
28 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1938 Talbot Lago T150C

Racing is as much a part of automotive history as passenger cars are. This 1938 French Talbot Lago competition roadster's six-cylinder engine output an amazing (at the time) 155 horsepower.
autoworldBrussels_27.png
29 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2008 Renault R38 Showcar F1

Seventy years later, French manufacturer Renault's Formula 1 race car's V-8 makes about 700 horsepower.
autoworldBrussels_31.png
30 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Michel Vaillante F1 car

Here we have a customized F1-styled showcar inspired by the 1957 comic series Michel Vaillante, which followed the exploits of a fictional racing car driver.
autoworldBrussels_28.png
31 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Racing suits

I'm not sure what's up with these guys...
autoworldBrussels_22.png
32 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1969 Italian Lancia HF 1600 Fulvia Rally

This Italian Lancia HF 1600 Fulvia Rally car puts 160 horsepower to its front wheels and features race-ready suspension and illumination.
autoworldBrussels_23.png
33 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1977 Porsche 935/5, 1976 Porsche 934 RSR

I was surprised that I didn't see more Porsche vehicles and race cars at the museum. The collection tended to skew toward French and Belgian automakers -- not that I'm complaining.
autoworldBrussels_33.png
34 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The "Brown Bugatti"

Known as the "Brown Bugatti," this blue coupe wraps aerodynamic bodywork around a 1930s-vintage Bugatti Type 57 chassis and is named after Jacques Brown, the man who penned the design in 1954.
autoworldBrussels_35.png
35 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1969 Citroen DS21

Over 1.5 million examples of this aerodynamically shaped sedan were produced following its launch in 1955. Designers obviously didn't have access to computers and wind tunnels at the time, so the silhouette was formed based on testing, intuition, and an eye for style.
autoworldBrussels_38.png
36 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Lamborghini Espada

Lamborghini has always been a bit of a bonkers brand. This '70s-era Espada was powered by a 350-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine, but what's most noteworthy is its incredibly wide and long design.
autoworldBrussels_36.png
37 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Ferrari 250 GT

If I'm not mistaken, this '60s-era 250 GT coupe was the only Ferrari on display at the museum. That doesn't make it any less sweet.
autoworldBrussels_17.png
38 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Toys and models

Not all of the cars at the museum are built to scale. There is also an extensive collection of automotive toys, models, and a scale model of the museum's hangar-like hall.
autoworldBrussels_39.png
39 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Matchbox model

For many of us, meticulously building and painting scale models will be as close as we'll get to owning these dream cars, such as this Auto Union Type C race car.
autoworldBrussels_32.png
40 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Autoworld Brussels

I've only scratched the surface of the hundreds of cars, carriages, and motorcycles on display. If you have a love for cars and happen to find yourself in Belgium, I'd highly recommend a trip to the Autoworld museum.

More Galleries

2023 Toyota Sequoia debuts bold new look

More Galleries

2023 Toyota Sequoia debuts bold new look

57 Photos
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is ready to catch big air

More Galleries

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is ready to catch big air

55 Photos
2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

More Galleries

2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

64 Photos
The best Nintendo Switch games to play right now

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play right now

41 Photos
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is one cute ute

More Galleries

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is one cute ute

38 Photos
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor: My, what big everything you have

More Galleries

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor: My, what big everything you have

75 Photos
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gains S-Class tech and swagger

More Galleries

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gains S-Class tech and swagger

49 Photos