Niels van Roij's Breadvan Hommage
Dutch coachbuilder Niels van Roij drives today's auto industry toward traditional artisanship thru detailed bespoke projects ― and he told us all about why in part one of our exclusive interview.
Thru years of coachbuilt customizations, one project stands apart for good reason: the Breadvan Hommage. Challenged to reinvent a historical car with major significance in the story of coachbuilding, van Roij approached the original 1962 Breadvan with a modern artisan's viewpoint. Honoring the model's tradition and legacy while elevating the design to the future was no easy feat, but you wouldn't know from the effortlessly elegant final result.
He walks us thru this legendary project from start to finish. Scroll to dive in.
"For every project I do, I start with research. I recorded all the documentations of the car's life: paint jobs, updates, rebuilds, etc. Next we go through a funnel, seeing which colors and materials are important, and continuously make selections before translating all that information into rough sketches. At this point it's not about finesse, it's about comparing extremes. I wanted it to be clear that the cars belong to the same family, without copying the original design ― it has to be a Breadvan, but it's a Breadvan Hommage: a modern piece of design with its own character."
"After honing in on a polished rendering through a highly experimental ideation phase, it's translated onto a full scale clay model. Every car design studio from Volkswagen to Rolls-Royce make clay models ― because not even the most powerful computer can beat how the human eye experiences objects. Once the client and I sign off, we allow the coachbuilder to begin the body work ― entirely done by hand using 120-year-old tools to make it as perfect as possible."
"We considered the original car when approaching the interior, but the 62 had basically no interior. So there was no inspiration. We made everything in black leather and padded quilted leather. It's soft, welcoming, high-quality ― but wasn't contrasted by any other material, so it couldn't speak its own language.
By adding Alcantara to the design, the leather stands out more and is elevated as a material. These are just a few examples of how much attention to detail it takes to make a unified final result ― the designer, coachbuilder, and painter all need to be in sync, working hand in hand until the very end."
Seeking ultimate synergy to honor a historic custom creation might be the coachbuilding project of a lifetime.
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