From Cyclecar to Grand Sport

Louwman Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands

July 7th to September 3, 2023

From Cyclecar to Grand Sport evokes a period of the automobile between the years 1914 and 1930, when minimalist and fragile vehicles could be transformed into real race cars that even participated in Grand Prix. The Louwman Museum brings together more than thirty vehicles representative of this period. At that time, several European countries reduced taxes on cars weighing no more than 350 kilos, with a maximum displacement of 1100 cm3, and not able to accommodate more than three people.

This makes it possible to revive the production of small light cars and thus promote mobility. Small factories, workshops, garages and barns sprang up everywhere, producing a wide variety of small vehicles. Due to their low weight and relatively powerful engine, cyclecars often have very sporty characteristics and so every cyclecar brand had at least one special racing version. In the 1920s, not all cars were equipped with a factory body. External coach builders also made bodies by hand.

Of course, these bodies were in line with the latest fashion. Like the wooden skiff, a very luxurious and sporty body style that was very much in vogue in the exuberant 1920s – the Charleston era. The skiff particularly appealed to the (rich) youth. It was a cart for a privileged few! The exhibition “From Cyclecar to Grand Sport” plunges us into the incredible technological leap that cars experienced at the beginning of the 20th century. So many talented people in different parts of the world have tried to solve the same technical problems.

The Louwman Museum celebrates the mastery and range of creative solutions that have been the foundation of award-winning race cars. Combined with real images of the time, they allow you to imagine yourself as an inventor of cars in the exciting era from 1914 to 1930.

The photos on this page belong to Louwman Museum, no right of reproduction without the express permission of the museum.