The renault car


Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Guys, if there are primary sources which provide any information at all about the coachwork on Carter's Renault, would you please identify these sources. Thanks in advance.
 
J

Jim McAnlis

Guest
Thanks for the fast reply Brain. I am impressed at the amount of responses that you have added to this site. It’s wonderful to see the younger generation with a healthy appetite for history. You should tailor your schooling to one day be a museum curator. A person that can recall a wealth of information about many historical things. As for the 35 hp Renault, just as you mentioned above, “Renault only built chassis which were then chassis which were then sent to private coachbuilders.” I’m not quite sure where the Duesenberg reference came from. Not may Duesenberg’s were hanging around in 1912. Rolls —Royce would be a much better comparison. Rolls made lots of cars and at the time the Silver Ghost model was the benchmark. It was produced from 1907 to about 1925. Interestingly enough, Rolls did not make a body until about 1937. Up until then they to used body makers such as Barker, Hooper, Mann Egerton and Labourdette. These are the same ones that Renault was using at the time. Basically the coachbuilder built whatever they were paid to build. So, yes, limousine bodies were fitted to many Renault chassis. The Renault leather bound original ledgers still exist that contains “all” of the chassis numbers & engine number, HP, date of manufacture, number of cylinders and rear end ratio and the person or company that bought the automobile. Unfortunately, flipping through the ledger, it’s quite easy to see that there were few individuals that bought a car directly from the Renault factory. Every other line identifies automobile dealer / Co. / Ltd. that purchased slew of cars. The first owner then purchased the car from the dealer. This is where the trail goes cold and is probably the case with the Carter car. By 1912, Renault had produced about 34,000 cars. You can probably start your search for the car starting in 1911 through early 1912 and only include the 35 HP cars. Only the larger 4 cylinder & 6 cylinder cars produced and were sold as 35 HP cars. Good luck digging!
As for the silver car, metallic paint was not used on a automobile until 1925 with the exception of some limited striping. The silver automobile pictured above was used in the movie and was dolled up especially for the camera.
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Jim,

I believe you misunderstood my earlier reference to the Duesenberg when referring to Renault chassis.

Duesenberg Motors did not begin producing passenger cars until 1921 with the unsuccessful Model A. The Model J and Model SJ of 1929 - 1937 are two of the most widely recognized symbols of wealth, luxury and custom coach built automobiles in the world.

I am well aware of the custom carrosiers of the first half of the 20th century and they built some of the most beautiful bodies for some of the world’s most expensive cars, Renault included.

However I have no definitive proof as to the body on the Carter Renault aside from vague references to it being a “Limousine” and the most common limousine coach style of the era based on the many cars European and Domestic I have studied was the elegant “Town Car” or “Town Brougham” and every mention or depiction of the Renault has been of that coachwork style.

As for metallic finishes, they were available to those who could afford them. Up until the introduction of Nitrocellulose paint in the 1920's, several coats of hand brushed lacquer was used to paint the coachwork of an automobile, and the 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost is a testament to this process, the name coming from the all silver coachwork and the ghostly silence of the engine when running.

Best Regards,

Brian
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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If we speculate on the basis of known facts, the only real clue I've seen so far is the insurance valuation of the car, which was around £1000. As I have stated before, that suggests the car had been provided with coachwork of some kind as it is too high for the price of the chassis alone, but it is far short of the value of the chassis fitted with any kind of formal enclosed coachwork.

The figure matches quite closely the cost of the chassis plus a relatively lightweight open touring body like that shown in one of Jim's photos (follow his link). Many such were fitted to Rolls Royce's £1000 40/50 chassis (the famous 'Silver Ghost') at an extra cost of less than £200. Formal enclosed bodywork, on the other hand, would have cost at least £1000 (and considerably more in many cases) in addition to the price of the chassis.

The French auto industry was at that time bigger and in many ways more advanced than that of England, so I wouldn't assume that the car was bodied in the UK. The quality of French coachbuilding was second to none, and companies like Rothschild of Paris were the design fashion leaders of the day and operated on a huge scale. For limousine coachwork, excluding what you had paid for the chassis, Rothschilds charged anything up to £4000.

That is why I believe it most likely that the Carter Renault was a tourer. But I'm open to persuasion that it was a brougham or a limo, burgundy in colour if you like, if anyone can provide the evidence.
 
J

Jim McAnlis

Guest
Hats off to you Brian and Bob! You guys are great! There are not to many of us that have all of these same questions swirling around in our heads. Even if the coachwork is totally deteriorated beyond recognition, I hope that someday someone will find and bring up the Renault’s brass dash plaque that is stamped with the chassis number, the number of cylinders and the model designation. Yep, it’s down there, if not for us then for the next generation to find!
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
Well Bob,

The only people who know what the car actually looked like were the factory workers who built it, the salesman who sold it and Bill Carter himself - unfortunately for us, they are all well deceased.

Equally tragic, this was also before it was common practice for high end chassis manufacturers to photograph all custom coachwork vehicles as well as recording the year, make, model, VIN, chassis and engine numbers for their records prior to delivery, leaving an indelible record of the vehicle's existence such as Duesenberg had.
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Best Regards,

Brian
 
Jan 4, 2005
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Interesting to see on Ghosts of the Abyss what they believed to be the remains of the Renault - what looked like a wheel cover and headlight. I think some want to find the car so badly they convince themselves that is what the images were.. I know I have.

Regards,
Eddie Petruskevich
http://westphalia101.tripod.com
 

Darryl

Member
Dec 26, 1997
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South Australia
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.

Hello Brian,
I know that a huge volume of water has been 'under the bridge' since you made this post back in 2004 but I would like to correspond if you have any information as to your source for your assertions in that post.

I own a 1912 CB Renault and am researching the known survivors (about 14). There have been many stories about just what it was that William Carter shipped on the Titanic, and one car sold as supposedly an 'identical replica' but to claim it was red means there must be a surviving record somewhere.

I hope that you can reply.

Kind regards

Darryl Grey
South Australia.
 

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