Car design revolution

As the 1920s dawned, mass-market car makers were bringing coachbuilding in-house, where engineers could address new issues presented by automotive use such as vibration and torsional stress. Luxury marques, however, continued to outsource coachwork to specialist houses for several more decades. The high-end customer of the day could still have a rolling chassis delivered to their chosen coachbuilder, who would design and build a car body to the client’s specific requirements – similar to ordering a suit from a Savile Row tailor, or a dress from a Paris couturier. Until the 1930s, most coachbuilders remained true to the long-established practice, which involved assembling a wooden frame, usually in ash, onto which aluminium or steel body panels were either pinned or welded. This allowed almost any shape to be created, with designs based around the interior space and fittings requested by the customer. As their experience grew, materials improved and motor cars’ speeds increased, coachbuilders adapted their methods, with later frames made from metal tubing or angle-iron. This essentially traditional form of coachbuilding continued until the separate chassis was replaced by semi-monocoque construction, with sub-frames for the mechanical components. This process made all but the simplest of adaptations to the body design itself impossible.

Personally commissioned car

As coachbuilders we pay as much attention to the interior as the exterior of the cars we created. Among the key elements are the instrument dials, which often now are merely displaying essential information. We design them to become miniature works of art in their own right. We have had clients commissioning an interior to recreate the ambience of a bold race car. And car lovers who commissioned polished satinwood veneer panelling, painted coachlines and bespoke paints. A few years back Niels van Roij Design was commissioned to create a coachbuilt two-seater coupé featuring a large rear overhang and long bonnet – inspired by the 1962 Breadvan. A one-off coachbuilt motor car from the golden era in the 1960s. The fully coachbuilt modern era racer defining feature is the raked rear profile, the roof-line tapering in a sweeping gesture. The coachbuilt bodywork wraps under the car with no visible boundary to the surfaces. No bumpers, not shutlines. The underside of the motor car describes a progressive upward arc at the rear departure angle, producing the tail that gives the car its name. With its clean lines and outspoken boldness and contemporary, minimalist handcrafted interior, the Breadvan Hommage caused an international sensation when it was revealed. It is now regarded as a true modern classic and the world’s greatest two-seater intercontinental tourers.

Coachbuilt your car

A glorious legacy. A spectacular future. The ability to personalise almost every aspect of their motor car is one of the main reasons our patrons come to us. But we know some wish to go further still. We stunned the world with our fully coachbuilt motor car of the modern era, the spectacular Breadvan Hommage. This was, by definition, an entirely unique commission; but in our minds, it was the start of a journey. We have re-established coachbuilding in the world of car design, for those patrons who wish to go beyond the existing restraints, and explore the almost limitless possibilities this opens up for them. We are able to offer our customers the opportunity to create a motor car in which every single element is hand-built to their precise individual requirements, as befits our status as a true luxury house. Coachbuilding is the art and science of creating bespoke bodywork on a pre-assembled chassis. It is as old as the motor car itself. All but extinguished by mass production, coachbuilding nonetheless lives on with Niels van Roij Design at the forefront of its rejuvenation. Drawing on more than a century of experience, and its unique capabilities developed in the modern era, the coachbuilding marque has defined a new coachbuilding movement. Accustomed to being able to commission every aspect of their motor cars’ appearance and specification, exclusive car clients are increasingly seeking opportunities to reach beyond bespoke and determine the motor car’s physical form.



Are you curious about the possibilities of coachbuilding by Niels van Roij Design for you? Let’s discuss all unique options for your tailor made dream car! Just like your bespoke suit, house and garden, your car deserves your excellent taste. Through coachbuidling by Niels van Roij Design it is possible to co-create your own dream car with us