Coachbuilder – the classic companies

Coachbuilding – the roots

All ultra-luxury vehicles of the Golden Era of the automobile sold as chassis only. For instance, the Duesenberg Model J, Bugatti Type 57, Cadillac V-16, Ferrari 250. Other examples are Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 and Rolls-Royces. These were all produced before World War II. Delahaye had no in-house coachworks. Therefore, its chassis were bodied by independents. For example, most Delahayes bodies were coachbuilt by Chapron, Labourdette. In addition, Franay, Saoutchik, Figoni et Falaschi, Pennock and many more carrossiers. After World War II cars were often mass produced. For instance, luxury chassis, high-performance sports cars and gran turismos were made as one. To clarify, this was including the bodies. As a result, many coachbuilders closed down or were bought by car manufacturers. For instance, design houses like Zagato, Frua, Bertone, Karmann. But also Vignale, Heuliez and Pininfarina. These either closed down or changed their activities.


Coachbuilders – the classic companies

Coachbuilt body is the British English label for the coachbuilder’s product. The standard term in North American English is custom body. In French carrossiers, in Italian carrozzeria. Similarly, in German Karosseriebauer and in Spanish carroceros. A coachbuilder manufactures bodies for passenger cars. In other words, coachwork is the body of an automobile. Since the dawn of the automobile custom or bespoke coachbuilt bodies were made. Craftspeople fitted the bodies to a rolling chassis. To clarify, these companies had previously often built bodies for horse-drawn carriages. Unibody or monocoque design replaced separate coachbuilt bodies. These combined chassis and body structures. The transformation happened in the middle years of the 20th century.


Imagine the impossible

Now, after many years of absence, coachbuilding is back. That is to say, now you can commission your ideal car design. In other words, disrupt the car design world. Everything is possible. For example, butterfly-wing doors. Engineered for your hand-made car. Or any other powerful statement. Niels van Roij Design handmakes its espoke coachbuilt cars. Our shops are located in The Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The stylistic intervention based on your motorcar can also involve the interior. We can completely re-design this following your indications. It all starts with the idea. Your vision. This is the start of your unique project. The patron launches the genesis of his motorcar. Often car collectors with a particular predilection. A close symbiosis will emerge between you and Niels van Roij Design. The process that leads to the definition of the design is truly unique.

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