In common with many other car makers in that period, Renault sold only the 'rolling chassis' and the customer would need to arrange for a coachbuilder to add the bodywork, for which there were no standard designs. So we have no way of knowing what Carter's Renault looked like, except for the distinctive engine cover which generally came with the chassis.
I would say that it did have coachwork, as the insurance valuation is too high for a chassis only. It is sometimes described as a 'touring car' or 'tourer', which at that time was used to designate an open car - not ideal for the antics of Jack and Rose, even if it had not been crated!
I got a laugh from the Jack and Rose comment! I was not familiar with Renault being sold only as a rolling chassis, similar though to my favorites Duesenberg and Bugatti, both of which I have detailed webpages about, however I based the picture I posted on what I had read and the different TV and movie depictions of the car.
That car I posted is just a general concept of what I base the Carter car to have looked like having read descriptions and seen numerous depictions, the actual car was an open tourer. Sadly I do not think the car survived the sinking, all searches of the cargo hold where the car was stored yielded were rusticles and debris, nothing resembling a car.
Thanks for the compliment. I do admire the 1935 SSJ, though my favorite Duesenberg of all time is the 1933 "20 Grand" showcar Here are the links to my pages. I suggest you adjust your monitor size to 1280 X 1024 as that will yield the best picture quality.
Already been there, Brian! The 'Twenty Grand' is a fine motor, to be sure, but I prefer the lines of a Murphy roadster. Harder to pick a favourite Bugatti - for me it's a choice between the Type 35B and the type 55. But since the lottery has so far failed to deliver, what the hell. You need to change the Duesy link, by the way - check the spelling of 'angelfire'.
I've found a more exact match to what the Carter car was described to have looked like, and this print concurs with the popular writings and TV and movie depictions as well, it is a 1911 Renault AX Limousine.
And to clarify things from Cameron's movie, the Jack and Rose back seat scene would not have happened in reality because the car would have been crated for shipping and would not be unpacked until it reached the New York docks
No one knows for certain what the actual car looked like except Billy Carter, but he did not leave any descriptions unfortunately. But we have reliable sources that say it was a 1911 Renault Limousine, probably with AX coachwork as I depicted, and of a wine red color with black fenders. But anyways, the car would not be "disassembled" so to speak for shipping, meaning nothing so far as the coachwork or mechanical equipment would be removed, but rather would have been set up on its axles with securing blocks to the shipping pallet with the tires lashed to the crate sides, then the car may have been covered with linen or some other soft covering for protection from dust, scratches etc, then the whole thing was packaged up for shipping. So had the car not been in a big wooden box, it would most likely look like my picture but without the tires.
Brian, 'AX' was the model name for Renault's 8hp chassis, an economy model often used for taxicabs. Carter bought the much larger and more powerful 35hp chassis. As you say, he did not leave any description of the car. Could you please identify the reliable sources which describes the coachwork as a limousine painted wine red with black fenders? Thanks.
I was unaware of the exact specifics of the chassis model, being more read in American classics like Auburn and Duesenberg. I identified the picture as the car as I had seen and read it being depicted, I was also unaware that the Model "AX" was used for taxis. As for the source of the coachwork colors, I believe I read that in "Titanic: An Illustrated History" it was either in the Forward or somewhere in the text and was quoted by Ken Marschall, so I thought coming from him, it would be pretty reliable.
Hi guys! Yes, Renault did not make car bodies early on, only chassis. They were sent to body makers similar to what you have already pointed out. Multiple cargo lists identify the car as a 35 hp Renault limousine, so the car was probably already bodied in somewhere the UK prior to being loaded on the ship. In 1912, the majority of automobile body makers were in England. A 35 hp Renault corresponds to a large 7.5 liter Renault AI. Visit http://www.brassauto.com/brass-pages/index.html and look under the Renault section. View Renault AI — McAnlis. Just envision this chassis with a large limousine body. There are only about 12 of these AI’s left in the world. The 13th just happens to be at the bottom of the ocean. Queue the creepy music.
Renault was one of many European auto marquees that only built chassis which were then sent to private coachbuilders for finishing. This is a practice that continued with both European and American automobile chassis well into the mid 1930’s, the most notable being the Duesenberg.
Bill Carter did indeed purchase a 1912 Renault 35hp chassis while in France, and the car was indeed bodied before being loaded aboard the Titanic. However the model of the Renault was not the AI. The AI series was an open five passenger Tourer, the predecessor to the later Phaeton.
The style of body used on the Carter Renault featured a fully enclosed, glass partitioned passenger compartment with an open air chauffeur’s compartment with a detachable roof, a style commonly known as the “Town Car” or “Town Brougham” and such bodies were very pricey and would be found on only the finest cars of the era.
Below is a photo I took at a recent car show when I quite fortunately came across one only a handful of 1912 35hp Renault Town Car Limousines known to survive.
The car pictured is silver, however if you imagine it as being burgundy it would be identical to the Carter car.