motor(cycles), cars, trucks, buses, MINERVA Antwerp Belgium IMPERIA







Société Anonyme Minerva Motors
Industry automobiles
Fate dissolved
Founded AntwerpBelgium (1900)
Founder(s) Sylvain de Jong
Defunct 1956
Products bicyclesmotorcyclesautomobiles, Buses,

The Minerva was a prominent Belgian luxury automobile manufactured from 1902 until 1938. The company became defunct in 1956.


In 1883, a young Dutchman, Sylvain de Jong (1868–1928) settled in AntwerpBelgium.

Bicycles and motorcycles

2 a Minerva motorized bicycle in Australia

A man on a Minerva motorized bicycle in Australia near the turn of the 20th century, by Alice Manfield
2a 1902 Minerva 211 cc
1902 Minerva 211 cc
2b 1903 Romania 1¾ pk
1903 Romania 1¾ pk (Minerva)
2c 1908 Minerva 432 cc (8 pk) zijklepper
1908 Minerva 432 cc (8 pk) zijklepper
1910 Minerva motorcycle
1910 Minerva motorcycle
small Minerva History
Small Minerva later BSA

Minerva started out manufacturing standard safety bicycles in 1897, before in 1900 expanding into light cars and “motocyclettes”, particularly motorized bicycles which were a forerunner of motorcycles.

They produced lightweight clip-on engines that mounted below the bicycle front down tube, specifically for Minerva bicycles, but also available in kit form suitable for almost any bicycle. The engine drove a belt turning a large gear wheel attached to the side of the rear wheel opposite to the chain. By 1901 the kit engine was a 211cc unit developing 1.5 hp, comfortably cruising at 30 km/h (19 mph) at 1,500 rpm, capable of a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), and getting fuel consumption in the range of 3 L/100 km (94 mpg-imp; 78 mpg-US). These kits were exported around the world to countries including the United KingdomFranceGermany, the NetherlandsAustralia, and other British territories of the time.

As engine power increased, frame ruptures became increasingly common, and by 1903 Minerva had developed an in-frame design for their bicycles, with the engine mounted above the bottom bracket, while still also offering the clip-on kit. From 1904 Minerva began focussing more on car production, and while development and production of the Minerva motorized bicycles and motorcycles continued through to about 1909, they increasingly became a less significant part of the company.

Minerva engines exported to the UK powered the very first Triumph, among others. Motorcycle production would continue until 1909 or 1914, and during this period Minerva became one of the world’s premier names in motorcycles and motorcycle engines. (For instance Chater-Lea produced Minerva-engines in the UK.)


In 1902 De Jong added cars to his production as well with a 6 hp four-cylinder model. In 1903 he founded Société 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-litre Kaiserpreis won the Belgian Circuit des Ardennes race in 1907.

3 1931 Minerva 8 AL Rollston Convertible Sedan

1931 Minerva 8 AL Rollston Convertible Sedan

Charles S Rolls (of future Rolls-Royce fame) was a Minerva dealer in England selling the 2.9-litre 14 hp (10 kW). The most important market for the manufacturer remained England, where at £105 the small 636 cc single-cylinder Minervette was the cheapest car on the market, followed by the Netherlands and France.

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 Minervas would use these engines. Sporting successes continued with the new engines including the Austrian Alpine Trials and Swedish Winter Trials. Customers for the Minerva would include kings of Belgium, Sweden and Norway, Henry Ford and the Impressionist Artist Anna Boch.

During World War I Sylvain de Jong and his engineers were based in Amsterdam where they maintained development of their automobiles. Minerva cars were used for hit and run attacks against the Germans initially with rifle fire and light machine guns from simply protected open topped vehicles. These vehicles became increasingly sophisticated until trench warfare robbed them of the mobility needed for their hit and run tactics.

4 1937 Imperia Minerva AP 22 CV limousine

1937 Imperia Minerva AP 22 CV limousine

In 1920, they returned to Belgium to restart the production of luxury cars with the 20CV 3.6-litre four-cylinder and 30CV 5.3-litre six-cylinder models.[7]The manufacturer’s star rose not only in Europe, but in the United States as well where American film stars, politicians and industrialists appreciated the cars. The Minerva had the same quality as the Rolls-Royce, but was slightly less expensive. In 1923, smaller models were introduced; the 2-litre four-cylinder 15CV and 3.4-litre six-cylinder 20CV with standard four-wheel brakes. In 1927, the 30CV was replaced with the 6-litre AK and also a new 2-litre six, the 12-14, was introduced. Large cars continued to be a specialty of Minerva’s, and in 1930 the then almost-compulsory-for-the-time straight eight was introduced in two sizes; the 6.6-litre AL and the 4-litre AP. The last Minerva was the 2-litre M4 of 1934 but it did not sell well.

With the financial crisis in the 1930s, the company was restructured as Société Nouvelle Minerva but in 1934 merged with the other major Belgian constructor Imperia. Imperia continued to make Minervas for a year and the AP until 1938 and from 1937 badged some of their cars and trucks for export to England and France as Minerva-Imperias. Just before the outbreak of the war, a group of businessmen from Verviers bought out Minerva.

5 Minerva Land Rover. Note the sloping front faces to the wings

1952 Minerva Land Rover. Note the sloping front faces to the wings

After World War II the company produced a version of the Land Rover under license for the Belgian army up to 1953. There were plans to re-enter the car market but these did not get beyond the prototype stage. The company struggled for survival and made the Continental-engined Land Rover-like C20 until 1956.

193 Minerva landrover 1903 Motor-Minerva2 1905 0218Auto-Minerva6 1905 0606Motor-Minerva 1905 0606Motor-Minerva1 1906 1208MN-Minerva 1906 Auto-Minerva 344 1906 v3Auto-Minerva3 1907 061201MN-Minerva 1907 circuit des ardennes kaiser preis cars-minerva team1 1908 0707Mot-Minerva1 1909 LBVCR-349-AW223 1910 0723Auto-Minerva 1910 Minerva motorcycle 1910 Minerva WT 16 HP  4 cyl. – 2323 cc Hermes 1911 Minerva  (Minerva X) – 26 HP – 4 cyl. – 4084 cc 1911 Minerva images 1913 minerva-knight-04714 1914 Minerva 18 HP Type KK 1914 Motorcar no.1 Jean Porporato in a Minerva , 1914 Tourist Trophy motorcar race 1921 Minerva Type 00 – 30 HP – 6 cyl. – 5941 cc 1922 1104MC-Min 1922 Minerva 30 hp Open Touring Car 1922 Minerva Automobiles Ad 1922 minerva-front ambulance 20pk 1924 Minerva Autotraction 24 buurtspoorweg B 1924 Minerva Coupe Chauffeur 1924 Minerva Tastenhaye 1925 Minerva a 1925 Minerva AD– 16 HP  4 cyl.  2250 cc 1925 Minerva autotraction etterbeek B 1925 Minerva Prins Hendrik 1925 Minerva type-ab-torpedo-14 1925 Minerva 1925-Minerva-30CV-Type-AC1 1926 Minerva AC 1926 Minerva Autotraction Bostovo B 1926 Minerva Autotraction Metal B 1926 minerva-1926 1927 Minerva 10 HTM 1927 Minerva AFS 1927 Minerva AFSa 1927 Minerva-AFS Conv-DV-12-SJ 02 1928 0414CL-Minerva 1928 minerva 28buurtspoorwegenb 1928 Minerva 32CV AK Landaulette 1928 Minerva 1928 1928 minerva 1928a 1928 Minerva AF Transformable SAMSUNG 1928 Minerva ARM HTM 35 1928 Minerva Autotraction Bostovo B 1928 Minerva belchev 3 1928 Minerva bus met Asjes carrosserie en Kromhout 1928 Minerva Limousine with a British Cunard body 1928 Minerva3 1928 1928 Minerva's overvalwagens belchev 1928-Minerva-AK Weymann Sport-Sedan DV-08 GMG 01 1929 Minerva (Minerva AE) 20 HP 6 cylinders 3382 cc 1929 Minerva 16 1929 Minerva AK 1929 Minerva Autotraction Bostovo B 1929 Minerva HTM 2 1929 Minerva, Minerva, ARM, GTM 605 M-15305 1929 Minerva, Yellow 1929 Minervabus Jonckheere B 1929 Minerva-Uerdingen nr. 5  WSM 1929-htm-66-minerva-kromhout-arm 1930 MINERVA 22cv 1930 Minerva AL 40 HP  8 cyl.  6625 cc 1930 Minerva Allan HZ-5760 c-a-b-4 1930 Minerva bus HTM B 1930 Minerva HTM 61 1930 Minerva HTM six cylindres pour Amsterdam - DSCN0263 1930 Minerva Open Tourer 1930 Minerva, ARM, GTM606 M-21847 1930 Minerva_a_carrosserie_D_Ieteren_circa_1930 1930-Minerva AL VanDenPlas-3 DV-08 MB-02 1931 Minerva 8 AL Rollston 1931 Minerva autosalon brussel België 1931 Minerva bus verzekerde de dienst tussen het St-Pietersstation en de Dampoort Electrische Minerva gent 1931 Minerva, Uerdingen carr. GTM 607 M-16050 1932 Minerva '63 HTM 1932 Minerva Jonckheere België 1933 Bus Imperia Minerva 1933 Minerva 88 WG37 1933 Minerva 97 1933 MINERVA Fire Rescue car 1933 Minerva kromhout-04-kromhout 1933 Minerva 1934 images (1) 1934 Minerva bus Jonckheere B 1934 Minervabus HTM B 1935 minerva 1935 1935 Minerva ARM Tuinhuis HTM 1935 Minerva Verheul ATO-RD35 1935 Minerva Verheul Vitesse ex ATO RD31 1936 Minerva van-twist-85 1936 Minervabus B 1937 Imperia Minerva België 1937 Minerva Imperia belgië 1937 Minerva's belchev1937plus 1950 Minerva Rood Goud 1950 Minerva Verbeke B 63247 Asjes-1932 Minerva-HTM-A4-bouwjaar-1932-41-zpl.-rechtsvoor-EGMO-4-G-36981 Asjes Deze Minerva bus uit de reeks 111-113 zorgde voor de dienst tussen St Pietersstation en de Dampoort imperia logo_1 imperia logoscript minerva (1) Minerva 1 minerva 6-6 ltr ac Minerva 07 Minerva a minerva allan 97 minerva anni 40 con autobus sperimentale Minerva Armored Motor Car Minerva Bus Blue Minerva bus boven Minerva bus Manhaeve B Minerva HeklaSchoten024 Minerva Hemmings Minerva Imperial trucks 250 Minerva landrover a Minerva landrover b Minerva met houtgas generator Minerva Open Tourer a Minerva truck v Gend en Loos L-16442 Minerva Truck Minerva unknown Minerva Verhagen Aardappel en Expeditie Minerva Minerva_logo minerva50verbekeb small Minerva History Van Gend & Loos   Minerva

That’s it.

Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

2 thoughts on “motor(cycles), cars, trucks, buses, MINERVA Antwerp Belgium IMPERIA”

  1. Hello Jeroen. Fascinating blog. Found it looking up Minerva Motors on the web. My stepfather’s father worked for Minerva in Berchem as an engineer during the 1920s and ’30s. He later worked for Kromhout Gardner in Amsterdam. I am looking for information about his career. He was called Johannes Baptista Huberta “Albert” Mommens, known in the family as Hugh (born Antwerp 13.04.1890). I have a photo of Hugh and his wife with their car behind them. I think it was a Minerva. How can I send you the photo ? With your expert eye, you may be able to identify the vehicle. I wonder if you have access to the records of Minerva and Kromhout, and whether those records might contain information about the part Hugh Mommens played in designing Minerva cars and Kromhout buses. You can reply in Dutch if you like as I worked for 20 years in the binnenvaart and was often in Belgium & Holland. All the best, Nick Gray, Masseria Spigolizzi, 73054 Presicce (Le), Italy, tel. oo39-333 575 8272,


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