Sold for $66,000 at 2013 RM Auction - Hershey.
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.
The vehicles produced by Minerva after 1910 were powered exclusively by the famous Knight sleeve-valve engine, which was named after the American inventor of the design, Charles Yale Knight. The opening and closing of the valves was accomplished by slotted sleeves, which moved up and down within the cylinder bore, and within this the piston reciprocated. When the ports in the two sleeves aligned with the exhaust port, the exhaust cycle was underway. Intake worked according to the same principle. The action of the sleeves moving up and down was caused by a fairly conventional camshaft, which was acting on roller bearings that were affixed to arms that were attached to the bottom of each sleeve.
The sleeve-valve design eliminated all the sources of mechanical noise at once, as the movement of well-lubricated sleeves up and down (with no sudden stops or starts) made no sound whatsoever. Other benefits included leaving the entire cylinder head area available to optimize its shape and the position of the spark plug. The downsize to the sleeve-valve design was the oil consumption, particularly if the car was unused for a period of time. Fortunately, as the engine acquired mileage, carbon buildup on the inner and outer surfaces of the sleeves caused them to seal better as time went on, resulting in it consuming less oil, not more.
Chassis Number 13256
The sleeve-valve engines were licensed to many of the top automakers including Daimler in England, Panhard et Levassor in France, Mercedes in Germany, and, of course, Minerva in Belgium, among others.
This Minerva Type GG is fitted with a Torpedo body by Van den Plas and features brass throughout, including a Carello acetylene tank, brass Jones speedometer, and Pratts oil can, as well as the radiator shell and other distinguishing hardware.
Vanden Plas was Minerva's neighbor in Antwerp and would become something of an unofficial favorite coachbuilder for the company. They outfitted numerous Minerva chassis over the years.
The car is powered by a 4084cc sleeve-valve four-cylinder engine offering 26 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel mechanical brakes.