Minerva - the 'Goddess of Automobiles' - was the finest make produced by Belgium's once vibrant motor industry. Founded in Antwerp in 1899 by Dutchman, Sylvain de Jong, Minerva began life as a bicycle maker, swiftly diversifying into the manufacture and supply of proprietary motorcycle engines before building its first powered automobile around the turn of the 19th Century. De Jong set up Minerva Motors SA in 1902 and thereafter his company progressed from being a manufacturer of engaging 'driver's cars' to one that looked more towards the chauffeur-driven carriage trade. Favoured by royalty and the society elite, Minerva was one of the makes sold by Charles Rolls before his partnership with Henry Royce.
Swiftly back on its feet following the German occupation of WWI, Minerva returned to making large, luxurious motor cars. Smaller Minervas appeared: a 2.0-litre four in 1923 and a similar-sized six in 1927. Larger models continued to be a speciality but hard times lay ahead for the world's luxury car manufacturers. Minerva's fortunes declined steadily and in October 1935 it merged with Belgian's only other surviving motor car manufacturer, Imperia. Minervas continued to be made for another year or two and after WW2 the company produced Land Rovers under licence for the Belgian Army.
This Minerva AD dates from 1925 and is powered by a 2,255cc four-cylinder double sleeve valve engine driving via a four-speed gearbox. Restored in the 1980s, as documented by the photographic record on file, the car was purchased earlier this year in Australia and comes with a condition report compiled by Brad McKernan Restoration of Northgate, Queensland (inspection recommended). This states that the front of the body forward of the scuttle appears to be original, the aluminium 'boat tail' rear section having been fabricated during restoration. Mechanically the car appeared to be in good order, the engine starting easily and running well, with smooth clutch operation and positive gear change. It was noted that there was a leak from the radiator bottom outlet and that the tyres need to be renewed.
Complete with the highly desirable Minerva 'Goddess of Automobiles' mascot, '41527' represents a rare opportunity to purchase a Vintage-era motor car from this most prestigious European manufacturer. UK import duties have been paid.