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Amersfoort bicycle maker first Dutch car builder
Eysink diversified in 1898
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
AMERSFOORT, the Netherlands - When Mr. Klos, a family doctor in the Zeeland village of Nisse, bought a new car in 1912, he hardly could have imagined that his Eysink vehicle ninety years later would become the centrepiece at an exhibit. Museum Flehite recently mounted a show on the history of the Eysink factory, a local bicycle manufacturer which in 1898 produced the first-ever Dutch car.
Mr. Klos’ 1912 convertible is the only Eysink still in existence, although his wife had wrecked it when she ran into a tree. The local garage owner was unable to repair the car, but kept the wreck because of sentimental reasons: it was the first car he had ever sold. Eventually, the Eysink became part of the collection of the regional mu-seum. It was restored especially for the Flehite exhibit.
Eysink had been making bicycles for years when he decided to build handmade cars as well. Customers could select from a sample book how their Eysink was to look. Between 1989 and 1920 some 350 cars were made. Slow demand forced Eysink to close his automobile factory.
The company also had added a motorized bicyle to its line in 1901. By 1905, development had allowed Eysink to produce a two cylinder ‘proper’ motorbike. Between 1935 and 1939, the factory quintupled its production to 3,000 motorbikes a year. During those years, the Eysinks featured prominent at all kinds of national motorcycle races, including the famed TT at Assen.
After 1945, things changed drastically for the Amersfoort bike maker. Foreign competition drove Eysink out of business. An attempt to resurrect the factory by switching to lightweight motorbikes (with engines less than 50 cc and popularly called ‘brommer’ by the Dutch), the pre-car mode of transportation in the Netherlands during of the 50’s and 60’s, also failed.