Breadvan Hommage


Breadvan Hommage

Breadvan_update_030: Coachbuilding the Breadvan Hommage

Starting with a flat piece of aluminium, photo 1

As always, coachbuilder Bas van Roomen starts with a flat plate of aluminium. He starts with roughly giving this sheet the correct contour. The tape template made earlier is used for this. After cutting the sheet, the coachbuilder can only do three things to change its shape. He can bend, shrink or stretch the aluminium. Before he can start doing that, he has to make a good plan. The correct order of each and every operation of shaping is of paramount importance. After meticulously planning every step of the way, the coachbuilder will stick to this. The logical order is one of the most important things of coachbuilding. This is because each action on the material is followed by a reaction.


To shrink or not to shrink, that is the question, photo 2

To start shaping the panel roughly, the outer edge must be shrunk. At the same time the outer bends have to be stretched in the hollow bends. As Bas shrinks and stretches the edges with the Fokker Eckold, he pushes the panel downwards. This helps with gradually applying the bend. Nothing complicated so far. These are only the earliest stages of the coachbuilding phases.


Stretching, the art of coachbuilding, photo 3

At this stage the shape is styled slightly towards the final design. All surfaces are stretched by the powerhammer. This device will ensure the right volumes are applied. The Mechammer is a nice Dutch made product. Ideal for manipulating shapes of exclusive coachbuilt motorcars. On a sandbag the convex upper line is hammered into the panel. This is done entirely by hand. The line at the bottom part of the panel is bent into the material through the English wheel. Most of the panel has now been made. The fine tuning of the surfacing has been done too. However, the tail lamps still need a recessed place.


The tail lamps recesses, photo 4

The start of the process is to cut a hole in the metal. This opening is 10mm too small to make the lamp fit. After the material has been cut, the last 10mm is stretched. Simultaneously the material is bent with a hammer and anvil. Then what remains is the window frame. It still has to be made. This element consists of two kinks, which are each bent one by one. Note that while bending, the bends must be stretched and shrunk again with the Eckold. Just like designing an tailored car, making it is an iterative process. Making this specific piece of the rear end sheet is perhaps the most difficult part of the entire panel. If the coachbuilder doesn’t do this properly, the entire panel becomes a twisted and warped element.

Breadvan_update_029: Interior colour and materials

Personal bespoke interior design

Niels van Roij Design offers a complete personalisation for the Breadvan Hommage. This means a bespoke exterior and exterior design. Therefore, it is the craftsmanship of the upholsterer that stands out in this update. We’re working closely with the patron to create the car of his dreams. We call this co-design. The motorcar will be completely designed to match his ideas. This includes unique blue Alcantara for the seats and several other interior elements. We could have produced this upholstery in any colour and material. Because the original car has seen many different interiors. However, the cobalt blue seats once installed in the original Breadvan stood out. For the patron this was the favourite setup of the original car. To conclude: we put him at the centre of the entire creative process. So the decision was made to go for this colour.


Fine blue alcantara seats

At Niels van Roij Design we enjoyed some freedom too. So we decided to pronounce the original volumes and proportions of the OEM seats stronger. In this manner, we honour both the original Breadvan and the base car. Above all, the new design is an enhancement of the original seat design. The seats boast a pattern in the centre elements. The team decided to add a few extra millimetres of extra padding. This helps to enhance the shapes. Together we create precisely the interior that the patron has envisioned. Coachbuilding by Niels van Roij Design means hardly no limits. Freedom to make the ideas of the owner. In some cases we will be pushing the limits of the upholsterer. Subtle changes are the beautiful double stitching. These are executed in a slightly lighter colour of yarn. This is hardly noticable. But makes the seat stitching look slightly more outspoken.


Embroidered logo in headrests

The details are not the details. Therefore, the headrests feature elegant embroidered logos. This is a subtle and creative decoration. Depicturing the outline of the Breadvan Hommage. Caputured in only a few striking lines. Embedded in the Alcantara of the seat. This is one of the most beautiful materials, straight from the world of racing. This subtle ornamental aspect in the hand-made seats showcase the eye for detail. We design the interior with the same attention as the exterior. Beautiful, tactile and flawless materials. They help making the interior come alive. In conclusion, Niels van Roij Design leaves every patron a completely free hand to choose. From the option of colours to the layout of gauges. And teven the application of extraordinary materials. Everything is possible. In other words, an exclusive character is ensured.

Breadvan_update_028: The start of coachbuilding

The clay model has is finished. The tape mould is made. Therefore, finally, now the real work starts! It is time to make the curvaceous body of the Breadvan Hommage. Coachbuilder Bas van Roomen will hand make every sweeping line from flat sheets of aluminium. For instance, his hands will make flat plates into beautiful three-dimensional fenders. These shapes combined will form the Breadvan Hommage. To achieve volumes out of a flat sheet, the coachbuilder can actually only do three things. He can stretch, shrink and bend the sheets. He does this manually, with hammers, as well as with machines. One of the most important tools is the English wheel. Alse important are Power hammers, nibbling machines and the Eckold.


The English wheel

The English wheel consists of a large c-shaped frame. Both ends of the frame feature a wheel made of hardened steel. The upper wheel is approximately 20 cm in diameter and flat. The lower wheel measures about 7.5 cm in diameter and is interchangeable. Each of these exchangeable wheels has different radii. By choosing the appropriate bottom wheel, the coachbuilder can partly determine the desired shape. Pushing the metal through the English wheel will roughly form the panel that needs to be constructed. After using the English wheel the coachbuilder rolls the plate by hand between the wheels. He in fact “grows” the plate into the right shape.


Power hammers, nibbling machines and the Eckold

A voluminously shaped element is made by making a sheet thinner and larger locally. Bas uses a Schuler, made in 1946. This machine has been made in Germany. A record car for Auto Union was made with the same wheel. The Powerhammer is another important tool. It does exactly what it says on the tin: this powered hammer can hit the metal at very high speeds. The impact is so strong metal stretches quickly. The Nibble machine is a device which can both cut and form all kinds of details. The coachbuilder can even design and make his own tools for this machine. It gives him the desired freedom to shape the exact specifics items, needed for each project.


Dutch airplane manufacturer Fokker

The Eckold is a very strong eccentric press, which is able to stretch and shrink metal plates. The Eckold can make metal thicker or thinner locally. Therefore, changing its volumes and shapes. The machien is normally used in the aircraft industry. Dutch airplane manufacturer Fokker made the 1956 Eckold used by Bas under license. In conclusion, through stretching, shrinking and bending the coachbuilder can achieve all complex curves. According to Bas: “You could actually say that we are still kneading clay, we just have to push a little harder now!”

Follow the coachbuilding process of the Breadvan Hommage:



Image credit
Robbert Moree
Luuk van Kaathoven

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