The Minerva motor car was a favorite of the royal families, where its elegance and durability assured a faithful clientele. Like many of its contemporaries, Minerva specialized in top-end machines, spending much attention on a smooth and quiet ride. The crude and noisy engines of the time made that next to impossible, so when the Knight patented sleeve-valve engine was introduced, De Jong quickly adapted the technology.
Minerva began making automobiles in 1902, and from 1910, all were equipped with the Knight double sleeve-valve engine, prized by luxury automakers for its silence, smoothness and flexibility. All the cars were relatively heavy, but even the limousine, which weighed 5,300 lbs., could reach a speed of 70 mph.
From 1912 all Minverva's were equipped with the Knight engine that lacked the conventional and noisy valve system. The drawback of this setup was the high oil consumption, making the sleeve-valve powered machines easily recognizable.
Unusual for its time, the eight cylinder engine was cast in one block rather than being made up of two separate blocks of four cylinders. Breathing through a single Zenith carburetor and displacing just over 6.6-liters, the eight-cylinder engine produced around 130 horsepower.
Production of the Minerva AL commenced in 1930, but due to its exceptionally high price no more than fifty examples were produced. Despite adding considerably less expensive models to their line-up to help turn the tide, Minerva was one of the many manufacturers that fell victim to the Great Depression.
Minerva models were supplied with very sturdy and stylish bodies, characterized by long hoods and fine proportions on a 129-inch wheelbase. This AL model is one of less than 50 cars made with a 153-inch wheelbase. Only seven are known to exist today and this car is believed to be the only Cabriolet AL.
This 6,800 lb., eight-cylinder Minerva AL has just undergone a three-year, 1,400 hour restoration.Also photographed at :
This is the only Minerva AL cabriolet known to exist. The Type AL was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in 1928, but Minerva built less than fifty ALs - of which only seven are known to survive today. Vanden Plas provided the cabriolet body for this particular AL. Its eight-cylinder 6.6-liter engine produced 125 horsepower. Based in Belgium, the Minerva Company, which was named for the Roman goddess, built cars between 1899 and 1934.