In 1883, a young Dutchman, Sylvain de Jong, settled in Antwerp, Belgium. He started a bicycle factory and by the end of the century was producing motorcycles. In 1902 he added cars to his production as well with a 6 horsepower four-cylinder model. In 1903 he founded Societe Anonyme Minerva Motors in Berchem (Antwerp). Volume car production began in 1904 with a range of two, three and four-cylinder models, with chain drive and metal clad wooden chassis, and the Minervette cyclecar. The 8-liter Kaiserpreis won the Belgian Circuit des Ardennes race in 1907. Minerva produced cars until 1938, and various trucks and Land Rovers continued to be built until 1957.
In 1908, Minerva obtained a worldwide Knight Engine license. The Knight motor, developed by Charles Yale Knight in the United States, used double sleeve valves and ran almost silently. All future Minerva's would use these engines. Customers for the Minerva would include Henry Ford and the kings of Belgium, Sweden and Norway.
This Minerva's coachwork was designed in New York by Paul Ostruck and built in Paris, France, for a Mrs. Knight, who took delivery of the car in Paris and toured Europe before returning to her home on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. This car was first seen for sale for $1,000 on Woodward Avenue in Detroit by the owner in 1961, and was finally purchased in 1991.