- Written by webmin
When we last heard from the 1932 Bergholt Streamline, it was on display in a museum in Minnesota. Now we see that if you’ll be attending Hershey this year, you’ll not only have a chance to see it in person, you’ll also have the chance to buy it when it crosses the RM Auctions block. From the auction description:
Fred Bergholt of Minneapolis, Minnesota designed the sleek Streamline between 1927 and 1932. With a fertile mind and a passion for scientific experimentation, Bergholt turned his attention to aircraft with his brother in 1913, leading to the manufacture of sport airplanes prior to a disastrous factory fire. Not all was lost, though, as Bergholt Laboratories, his successful cosmetics business, financed the venture.
Among Bergholt’s other innovations were the Streamline’s smooth slab sides, predating the 1947 Studebaker and 1949 Ford. Other features included a roof narrower than the vehicle’s tread, enclosed fenders, hidden running boards, innovative body-retaining hardware and cleverly enclosed spare tires. U.S. Patents covering seven aspects of the design were granted in 1934 and 1936.
The radical design was translated into steel with the help of Edgar Lantz, an experienced panel beater. A 1932 Ford provided the chassis, powertrain and running gear, while the Streamline’s coachwork was entirely Fred’s brainchild. In early tests, Bergholt reached 100 mph but experienced three engine failures, claiming the Streamline’s wind-cheating shape overcame the limits of Ford’s V8. Incredibly, the Streamline was seen on Minnesota roads at least one month prior to the introduction of Pierce-Arrow’s Silver Arrow and well before Chrysler’s Airflow.
The Streamline was used to promote the Bergholts’ Madam White cosmetics line, travelling to 40 states, Canada and Mexico prior to World War II. Fred unsuccessfully attempted to market the Streamline to America’s established auto manufacturers, but they believed it was too far ahead of its time and told him to come back in four to five years. Later, he sued seven manufacturers for patent infringement but took only GM to court, winning both a monetary and a moral settlement. Much later, Fred Bergholt’s design principles found mainstream acceptance and in many ways influenced such prestigious marques as BMW, Infiniti and Maserati.
Just one Streamline was produced. Fred Bergholt passed away in December 1978, and the next year, the Bergholt family entrusted Harlow J. Loney, a friend and business associate, with the Streamline. Mr. Loney thoroughly researched its history and commissioned a show-quality restoration in 1993, which was completed in 2006. Today, the Streamline remains in superb condition and presents beautifully.
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