1934 Minerva Type AL 40CV Sports Coupe

1934 Minerva Type AL 40CV Sports Coupe Coachwork by Jacques Dens of Antwerp

The Minerva was a prominent Belgian luxury automobile manufactured from 1902 until 1938. The company became defunct in 1956.

In 1883, a young Dutchman, Sylvain de Jong (1868–1928) settled in Antwerp, Belgium.

Acclaimed as 'one of the most prestigious vehicles ever produced', Minerva's AL model would be the grandest production of the marque to date. It featured the companies first straight 8 cylinder engine, a ubiquitous standard for luxury cars of the day, and retained the sleeve valve system of Minerva's prior motors. With 6.6 liters, 120 hp, dual ignition, and a crankshaft carried in nine main bearings, this would be a most advanced and formidable powertrain for a vehicle of this status. Backing up the impressive grunt, road-holding was impeccable, aided by an Adex Stabilisator, one of the earliest anti-roll devices. Its 152-inch wheelbase was one of the longest on the market, enabling the fitting of supremely elegant coachwork.

Offering similar elegance and refinement to the mildly more expensive Rolls-Royces of the era, Minerva's found themselves frequently under the ownership of the elite. Particularly in North America, the AL gained popularity among films stars and politicians alike, and even the archetypal provider of motors for the masses, Henry Ford. Unfortunately, the vehicle was introduced just in time for the Stock Market Crash and subsequent Great Depression that would drastically reduce demand for these types of extravagant luxury motors. Just 50 of these ALs left Minerva's production line and today only 8 are believed to be surviving today. With only the 2 Liter M4 following in 1934, the AL stands as the marque's final and most impressive effort at producing a large luxury vehicle.

Dating from towards the end of the run of these incredibly impressive automobiles, car 80187 is clothed with what is believed to be unique coachwork by one of its country's more obscure coachbuilders, Jacques Dens of Antwerp. In its execution, the lesser known Dens concern were cleverly able to scale a relatively compact style of body on the gargantuan AL frame. Its faux convertible top is replete with pram irons to break the side of the car, and for the relief of the driver and passengers there is a sliding sunroof.

Descriptions & pictures by wikipedia & bonhams & flickr

Production Start 1934
Country of origin Belgium