Expo Autoworld Brussels 2

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Electric and Amphibious Cars

By Jun-Jun Junia

AFTER seeing a jeepney and seeing lots of old cars inside the AUTOWORLD Expo, it made me realize that I’m inside a vintage car museum. Now that made it more interesting. It’s car heaven.

There is one nook that caught our attention. It was a selection of different car models from vintage-looking to futuristic-designed vehicles. As we went closer to the area, there was a sign that read “EVOLUTION OF ECO CARS” and there I saw, in the corner, a 1916 Detroit Electric.

1916 Detroit Electric

Yes, you read it right, there was an electric vehicle (EV) during those times. I’m not sure if it was running but the body is in perfect shape. This EV was popularly sold in the 1910’s, selling around 1000 to 2000 cars a year.

The Detroit Electric was mainly sold to women drivers and physicians, as this car starts immediately without the physically demanding hand cracking of the engine that was needed with early internal combustion engine vehicles. They outsold all other types of cars since they did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars.

Autoworld2 for web

The question is, what happened to them? In my research, I learned that in the 1920s, internal combustion engine autos became more common and inexpensive, sales of the Electric dropped. The stock market crash of 1929 forced the company to file for bankruptcy. Detroit Electric cars were available only until 1942.

Amphibious Car

Of course we all know that now, electric is in again due to imminent environmental concerns that made car manufacturers develop hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles. So car manufacturers went back developing electric vehicles after all, to eliminate emissions and save the world.

Amphibious Car Propeller

Going to the second floor of the museum, we saw a car displayed near the stairs. It blew our minds away. We thought this type of car was only intended for films, perfect for a spy movie. It’s a 1950 Amphicar, a real amphibious car which can be driven into water and converts into a boat. Just like in the movies! I’m amazed with the design of this car.
At the back, underneath the car, near the location of the muffler, was a propeller. The propeller is sealed and there was no muffler in the area, meaning this can really be converted into a speed boat. Amazing! Looking at this car reminded me of the floods in our country.

I guess this car design is the answer to the flood prone areas in the Philippines since heavy rainfall nowadays causes chest deep waters, or sometimes even worse. Imagine if you have an amphibian car when it’s raining hard and you need to go to work…have nothing to fear, amphibian car to the rescue! You don’t have to be afraid of parking your car in flooded parking areas, all you need is an anchor.

Overall AUTOWORLD is a big car museum with over 300 interesting vintage cars on display. From an 1890s three-wheeled car to a recent electric one, race cars from the 60’s to 90’s with Formula 3 and formula 1 cars, to add, some vintage motorbikes and royal carriages were included as well. The place was really a car lover’s paradise!

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