The person who most of all influenced development of automotive industry of Belgium Silvain de Jong by right is considered. Originally he owned quite large factory on projecting, and also assembly of Minerva bicycles. Against keen interest in self-propelled crews this person designed the first car which, in a consequence, presented at the international industrial exhibition in the Belgian city of Antwerp.
This car wasn't produced in lots. Moreover, Silvain de Jong's enterprise continued to be engaged in release of bicycles, and against successful experience with self-propelled crew the firm managed to adjust release of motorcycles. But the sphere of automotive industry so interested Silvain de Jong that during the increased demand for cars he created the first serial Minerva model by 1902.
Thanks to great demand it was decided to construct separate plant for production of a car. Initially Minerva's range consisted of models from four - three - and also two-cylinder engines of various volumes. To the middle of 1904 as a result of production of the avalvulvar Minervette engine to firm wide popularity around the world came.
Production of Minerva cars with ordinary four-cylinder motors, and also with powerful six-cylinder units for expensive model 40 CV proceeded up to 1910. But already from the second half 1910 Minerva enterprise passed to production of models only with avalvulvar motors. Soon the range of the made models was added with the cars of the WT and X series equipped with engines with innovative double ignition.
Since 1914 a variety of models increased even more, and also their demand that led to that Minerva became the largest automobile plant in Belgium grew, having in the staff more than one and a half thousand people. Blossoming of firm began with this period. To the middle of 1919 the NN and OO series with six-cylinder engines which brought in to firm the considerable income thanks to increase in demand for prestigious cars in Europe and the USA were let out.
Besides, producers worked on cheaper models, as, for example, the AD model. By 1927 the AK series model with the six-cylinder engine, and also brakes, quite rare for that time, on forward wheels was let out. Besides, at the beginning of 1928 there was a sports AKS model which became quite expensive, but very fast car. This model had special office in a luggage box for spare wheels. Besides, it was constructed on the basis of a triple body with quite original design.
By the end of 1928 more economic AN model which won the international Alpine racing series of a season 1928-1929 was let out. The Minerva firm presented the most expensive and magnificent car at the end of 1929. She received at once huge popularity, especially over the ocean. Sometimes this car even was called by Rolls-Royces of the Belgian production. This time became for the company peak of its blossoming. However demand was affected by an economic crisis.
This circumstance forced the company to start the production cheaper cars of the M-8 series, and later, in 1934, M-4. This policy helped firm to hold on still some time, but after reform of the customs policy in Belgium pursued in 1935 and handicapped own Belgian cars very much, sales of firm sharply fell. As a result of these actions of Minerva I wasn't able to struggle with the American competitors. Besides, the firm couldn't refuse production of magnificent cars demand on which sharply fell in Europe. And it resulted in practical bankruptcy of Minerva and her resale in the middle of 1936 to Imperia group of companies.
In 1937-1938 new technologies in automotive industry which were embodied in creation of the TAM-18 car possessing an independent suspension bracket, front-wheel system, and also a transmission of automatic type were presented.
By the end of 1939 the Minerva firm completely stopped production of own cars. Much later, in 1953, unsuccessful attempt of collecting the Italian cars then the firm made a small amount of Rover cars was carried out, and in 1956 officially stopped the existence.1 - 15
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