Sir Winston Churchill is best known for his role as Prime Minister during World War II. As a member of the ‘Big Three’ together with Roosevelt and Stalin, he played a major role in shaping Europe’s future. He was famous for his fiery speeches. And for this taste in cigars and motor cars, which is why his Humber Pullman was was fitted with an extra-large ashtray. This understated limousine is certainly luxurious, but not as ostentatious as a Rolls-Royce. .
Prince Bernhard was born in Germany, but as Consort of Princess Juliana acquired Dutch citizenship in 1936. Recognizable by the white carnation he always wore, he was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund. As a lover of special Ferraris he was a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari. Enzo spoke highly of Bernhard as a good customer and an excellent driver. Possibly the most beautiful Ferrari he ever owned is on display in the Louwman Museum: the 500 Superfast Speziale. A bespoke motor car: the engine, interior, paint and orange rear lights were all made specifically for Bernhard.
Dutch nobleman Carel Godin de Beaufort was the first of our countrymen to win points in the Formula 1 world championship. That was in his home Grand Prix of Zandvoort in 1962. He managed to finish ahead of Jim Clark, Dan Gurney and Jack Brabham, an exceptional feat. Not least because he was almost 2 metres tall and weighed 118 kilos. He was one of the last ‘gentleman racers’ without factory support. His favourite Porsche 718 is on display in the Louwman Museum, together with other Formula 1 cars.
Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin was a German inventor and aviation pioneer. He built a cigar-shaped airship filled with hydrogen. As the aircraft was lighter than air it went into service for mass transport. During World War I however, the airships proved an easy target for lightweight aircraft. Accidents and finally disasters meant the end for these aircraft. You can see the cockpit of a British version of the Zeppelin, the R34, from the museum square. And on the first floor you can get a great view of the interior of the cockpit.
The Nawab (prime minister) of Hyderabad, Wali-ud-Dowla, placed an order for a new Phantom, the successor to the Silver Ghost, with Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd. of Bombay at the end of 1925. Barker, Rolls-Royce’s favourite coachbuilder, was commissioned to build the bodywork. The Phantom is finished in polished aluminium and soon became known as ‘The Silver Phantom of Hyderabad’. The door panels are made of polished teak, and there are two veneered folding tables in the rear compartment as well as a teak cabinet holding a camera, binoculars and water bottles.
The last emperor of German was Wilhelm II, grandson of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and related to many other monarchs and princes. During the November revolution Wilhelm escaped to the Netherlands, a neutral country. Het spent his days in exile initially in Amerongen Castle and later on the Dutch estate ‘Huis Doorn’. He died in Doorn in 1941. During his time in the Netherlands the Mercedes-Benz Type Nürburg 500 was an important companion. The navy grey paintwork betrays emperor’s preference for the fleet. As the car was lightly armoured, chassis and suspension had to be strengthened. The car also had under-floor heating.