Could this be the coolest private collection of collectable cars?



The recent Vauxhall Ampera launch was a real feast for classic car-loving journalists such as me. This was because the launch was based at the Louwman Museum, the world's oldest private collection of based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Started in back in 1934 with the purchase of a twenty-year-old Dodge, that car is still on display in the museum, but Two generations of the family have added a further 230 cars to the collection and it is also home to the world's largest collection of automotive art.
It's not just the cars that impress, the amazing building that they're stored in is a work of art too. Designed as a museum from the start, it boasts three floors, over 10,000 meters of exhibition space and is the work of American architect Michael Graves.

Opened just over a year ago by Queen Beatrix, whose Royal Palace it's adjacent to, the design highlight apart from the cars for me is the Great Hall, with its huge, arched timber roof that forms an east-west backbone through the building.



If you're a petrolhead and in the Hague on holiday or business the Louwman Museum is definitely a must visit. Just as you think it can't get any better, there's another room with more amazing cars and car memorabilia.

Check out my gallery below of a selection of the cars on show:

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The Louwman Museum
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Could this be the coolest private collection of collectable cars?

The SH760 was the first car to be manufactured in China, with production starting in 1958 and lasting till 1991.

This is one of the secret DAF prototypes which originally hit the road fully camouflaged in 1957. In 1958 the DAF 600 caused a sensation with its continuously variable transmission know as the Variomatic.

This Fixed Head Coupe version of the Xk120 is considered to be one of the most beautiful cars in the road. This car is unrestored and carries its original Dutch numberplate.

This is the most powerful and most desirable version of this American sports car with a 452bhp, 7.0 litre Turbo-Jet V8 engine.

Could this be the first Japanese supercar? Just 351 of these 150bhp coupe were produced, so it's very desirable.

With regard to design and technology, this Citroen ID 19 was revolutionary.

This is the car that played the lead in the eponymous 1953 film, 'Genevieve'. In the film, this 1904 Darracq is the hobby of Alan McKim, a barrister played by John Gregson.

The other lead in the film 'Genevieve' is this 1905 Spyker 12/16-HP Double Phaeton. As driven by Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth Moore), he challenges his friend Alan McKim (Gregson) to race during the annual London to Brighton Run.

This is an early 1956 version of the "Ugly Duckling", with the famous ripple bonnet.

A true style icon, the original Mini is inextricably linked to the 'swinging sixties' in England.

If you thought that a high-revving engine and lightweight bodywork were just the preserve of modern Honda cars then you'd be wrong as this S800 Coupe proves.

This car has to be Art Deco on wheels, checkout the aerodynamic mudgard skirts.

Boat-shaped bodywork on cars was very popular before World War II and this car was the one that started the trend.

This is one of the most important cars in the museum, as Mr P W Louwman bought the then 20-year old Dodge in 1934 and it was to be the first car in the collection.

Popular favourites here include the BMW Isetta 300 and the Messerschmitt KR200.

Is it a boat or car? With the this Fiat i'm not too sure.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill liked his cigars, so much so that his Humber was fitted an extra-large ashtray. Other special features included a push-button radio and independent heating systems for the chauffeur and passengers.

The 'King of Rock 'n Roll' loved Cadillacs - he owned about a hundred of them and most were modded like this one. 

This cab is a real movie star, not only did it star in the original 'Godfather' film, it also appeared in the film 'Thieves Like Us'.

This one of five D-Types that were entered in the 1957 race, but this is the car that won.

Steve McQueen managed to pursuade General Motors  to design this unique 'Baja Boot Buggy' for him. It features a special chassis designed by NASA space experts and was powered by Chevrolet V8 engine.

For those that like a wedge, this Sbarro is the ultimate treat. The result of the odd looks is a slippery shape, in this case it was 0.26.

This is the original Aston Martin DB5 that Sean Connery used in the James Bond film 'Goldfinger'.

The 1993 Toyota TS-010 Le Mans car is at the front with the 1985 Mazda 737C behind.

Of all the cycle-based cars the Morgan was the most sucessful and a new version has just gone into production.

When this car was introduced at the 1934 Paris Motor Show, it was an instant hit. The design served as an example of the varied bodywork that could be fitted to the 57.

It's not difficult to work out how this car got its nickname, but the air duct that looks like a periscope was meant to improve airflow to the engine.

This rare car has a lightweight aluminium body and was built for the Dutch market.

This car was based on a Talbot T26 Grand Sport which was delivered to coachbuilder Henri Chapron and be turned into this.

Even Toyota don't have an original example of their first car, but the Louwman managed to acquire this well-used example from Vladivostok, Russia. The Siberian Farmer was still using it up until 2008.

Although the Speedster didn't sell well, it's still considered the most beautiful car produced by the American company.

Originally delivered to a London Shipping Insurer in 1936, this car surfaced again as a barn find 30 years later. Restored in Germany, this car won its class at the world famous Pebble Beach Conours in 1994.

This is the creation of the eccentric and wealthy Robert Nicholl 'Scotty' Matthewson, who lived in early 20th century Calcutta. He basically wanted to shock the local elite of British India and succeeded. 

This is probably the oldest Indian-made car and was built for the Marahaja of Nabha for use on his estate in the 1920s.

When India was still a British colony, Maharajas and other Indian rulers were good Rolls Royce customers. Previously owned by the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, this car was called the Silver Phantom of Hyderabad because of its polished aluminium bodywork.

Art or kitsch? This Hooper creation was the work of Lady Docker, wife of BSA Chairman Sir Bernard. The Golden Zebra features real Zebra hides for the seats.

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