Minerva Model A “Minervette”. This automobile was used by King Carlos I of Portugal during his trip to the town of Vidalgo. It was found in the same place six decades later.
Minerva was a Belgian firm active from 1902 to 1938 and a manufacturer of luxury automobiles. The company became defunct in 1956.
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 Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and other British territories of the time.
Made in Belgium in 1904
Motor: 1 cylinder; 600 cc
Power: 5 HP