Lot C514


1909 Renault Type AZ 12/16 HP Landaulette
Reg. no. BF 4907
Chassis no. 15067
Engine no. t.b.a.
Founded in 1899 by the three Renault brothers – Louis, the engineering mind behind the cars, and Marcel and Fernand, who provided the business acumen – the Renault company quickly established a firm foothold in the pioneer world of the early car industry. The company was involved in motorsport from its earliest years; Louis and Marcel actively campaigned their own products until Marcel was killed during the infamously dangerous 1903 Paris-Madrid race. Louis never raced again, but Renault cars continued in motorsport, and in 1906 Ferenc Szisz won the very first Grand Prix driving a 90CV model. At this time Renault made a car for every taste; from the hugely powerful racing cars on one end of the scale, to small capacity voiturettes on the other.
The 12CV AZ model was launched in 1909. Fitting somewhere in the middle of Renault’s large range, it had a 2.4 litre fixed head side valve engine. This engine used magneto ignition and thermo-syphon cooling, as did most other cars of the era; unusually, however, the radiator was behind the engine, and covered by the ‘coal scuttle’ bonnet that was to be a distinctive feature on Renaults for another twenty years. Shaft drive was utilised, while the conventional ladder chassis rode on semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front, with three-quarter elliptic springs at the back. Braking was on the rear wheels, controlled by a hand-operated lever. The 12CV proved a successful model, and Renault went from strength to strength, increasing its overall yearly production to 5,100 by 1910.
This 1909 example is an original UK-market car, supplied new by ‘Renault Freres Ltd for Great Britain and the Colonies’. The landaulette body was built upon the chassis by Lucas of London. In true landaulette fashion, the somewhat austere chauffeur’s area – the front seat – stands in sharp contrast to the sumptuous luxury of the rear cabin. At least the chauffeur in this instance is blessed with a wooden roof for some weather protection, while the passengers in the rear can either be contained in weatherproof comfort, or, if the weather is fine, the soft top can be lowered, the windows likewise, and they can enjoy the sun and scenery while being driven gently along.
The identity of this car’s first owner is unknown, but it was first registered as KN18 in Kent. Later it was in the ownership of Mrs D Green of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, but other than that the car’s early history is not known. At some point it crossed the Atlantic to the Unites States, whence it was repatriated in 1990. Later, it was purchased from Bob Bentley of Classic Automobiles Ltd by renowned Edwardian motorcar collector Tony Stephens. It is to Mr Stephens that the car owes its attractive colour scheme of green with yellow coach lines. Sold in 2008 to an owner in its ‘home’ county of Kent, the car was purchased by the late owner three years later. In the current ownership, it has been treated to an engine overhaul by specialists Henal Engineering Ltd of East Sussex and has benefitted from the fitting of a Zenith carburettor and electric starter.

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£30,000 - 40,000

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