<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859

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Lot 59
1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan
Coachwork by Walter M. Murphy Company

US$ 300,000 - 450,000
£ 240,000 - 360,000
1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan
Coachwork by Walter M. Murphy Company

Chassis no. 57857
Engine no. 57859

5,952cc Sleeve-Valve In-line 6 Cylinder Engine
Single Zenith Carburetor
Approximately 100 HP
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Servo-assisted Drum Brakes

*Classic expression of the Minerva marque
*Elegant coachwork by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena
*Features Murphy's signature Clear Vision window construction
*One-off and exclusive design


MINERVA: THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Anyone who has been overtaken by a car with a sleeve valve engine will have the memory branded into their brain. First comes the surprise caused by a silent machine coming out of nowhere, as no engine noise gave warning of its approach. Then, the passing, still silent, with only the whoosh from the tires on the pavement to accompany the rush. Followed by the squinting and coughing as you desperately try to see where you are going, immersed in a dense cloud of smoke and fumes, a smog that most certainly does not smell of roses...

Chances are you have been passed by a Minerva, the most famous of Belgian marques and one of the first manufacturers in the world to adopt the Knight-type sleeve valve engine that did away with conventional poppet valves. In these motors, a sleeve fitted between the piston and the cylinder wall slid up and down in a synchronised movement; therefore, ports in the sides of the sleeves aligned with the inlet and exhaust ports of the cylinders at the right moments. Volumetric efficiency and longevity were good for the time. The main drawback was high oil consumption, as the sleeves moved in a bath of oil, resulting in the thick smoky exhaust. But this was outweighed by the wonderful smoothness and silence of a Knight when compared to the coarse running and loud clacking noises made by the conventional valve gear of competing engines.

After the ravages of World War I, Minerva rose from the ashes and entered the post-war market in 1919. They entered the market with new models that benefitted from the War's technological advances. First came a 20 CV four, followed by a 5.3-liter 30 CV six. Production rose and peaked at 2,500 to 3,000 chassis in 1925 to 1926. As the Roaring Twenties were coming to an end, great things were in store. In 1927, the magnificent six-cylinder, 100hp 6-liter Type AK was introduced. This was soon followed by the Type AL with a larger 6.6-liter engine and the AM with a few technical updates. Minervas were now truly large cars to rival a Lincoln or a Cadillac for size: the AM rode on a 149.5-inch wheelbase, longer than a Hispano-Suiza H6B. Factory bodies were often conservative, but, periodically, the best European coachbuilders—such as Belgian Van den Plas—came up with some genuinely stunning examples.

In the USA, some Minerva chassis were bodied by the Walter M. Murphy Company, that, alongside its coachbuilding activities, was Minerva's dealer for the West Coast. Today, Murphy is best remembered for magnificent creations on the Duesenberg chassis, and indeed, this Minerva carries a stunning and elegant Murphy convertible sedan design that is reminiscent of bodies supplied to Duesenberg. In the mid-1920s, Frank S. Spring, who had lived in France for a number of years and was therefore well-acquainted with Continental styles, became manager of Murphy's coachbuilding operation. In Europe, he had noticed how Gangloff had developed so-called Clear Vision window frames where narrow metal frames were surrounded by thin cast pillars. Not only did this slim construction create a low roof line and lighten the aesthetic properties of a body considerably, it also provided for an airy and spacious interior. Murphy first introduced a Clear Vision Packard sedan in 1927 at the New York Salon, and it was quickly joined by various convertible types. Since Murphy had easy access to Minerva chassis, the company built a number of Clear Vision convertible sedans, convertible coupes, town cars, and phaetons on Minerva AL and AM chassis in the following years. The system was gradually improved, strengthened, and simplified. The last of these graceful Minervas is believed to have been delivered in 1931.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Chassis 57857 is one of these cars. It features one of the most coveted Murphy designs, a style that was widely recognized for its beauty in period. None other than Errett Lobban Cord had designers at Murphy style bodies for the Cord L-29 model and the Auburn V-12 Salon series that incorporated the Murphy Clear Vision patents. But as opposed to the Cords and Auburns, 57857 is a unique one-off machine. The car is offered for the first time after decades in a prominent American collection. Its grey and khaki exterior and burgundy interior shows a spectacular restoration, which presents beautifully. With this knowledge comes the realization that it will be an incredible privilege to become the next custodian of this fabulous automobile. As an early collector once said, "[it is the feeling of] having something someone else doesn't have and watching their heads turn when you drive by." Indeed!

Footnotes

  • Please note, this vehicle is titled under the engine number.
Contacts
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
<b>1929 Minerva Type AM Convertible Sedan</b><br />Chassis no. 57857<br />Engine no. 57859
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