Gables Service Station
30 June 2005
1907 RENAULT 10/14HP TYPE AM FIXED HEAD COUPÉ
COACHWORK BY BENISON BROS.
Registration No. AC 2453
Chassis No. 8911
Engine No. 458
Maroon and black, with black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder bi-bloc, 90 x 120mm, 3,053cc, thermo-syphon cooling, magneto ignition; Gearbox: three speed & reverse, with right-hand change, shaft drive; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear, three-quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: Handbrake to rear wheels and foot-operated transmission brake. Wooden wheels with Warland 'split' rims. Right hand drive.
The Type AM Renault that received its French 'Type Approval' on the 1st March 1907 was a development of a line that began with the four-cylinder Types U-B & C, introduced in 1904. The Types U had what became the classic Renault appearance with a dashboard-mounted radiator rather than lateral radiators and the capot De Dion-style bonnet used by so many French makes that was variously referred to in the trade as of coal-scuttle or cheese-dish shape, the latter actually being more apt than the former. Whereas the Types U had a tubular steel chassis like Renault's first motorcars of 1899, the AM had a pressed-steel chassis but, interestingly, retained the tubular front axle used on the Types U, and continued as a bi-bloc four-cylinder. The Type AM continued in production until 1909 when it was superseded by the monobloc Type BX.
This car left Renault's Paris factory for the London branch on the 11th July 1907 and was sold on the 23rd July to a Mr J Broughton Dugdale. It was presumably him who commissioned the coachbuilders Benison Brothers to build the unusual and shapely fixed-head coupé body that the car carries. On the dashboard along with the huge Renault drip-feed lubricator are two coachbuilder's plates, one of which reads: 'Built and fitted up by Benison Bros, Leamington Spa' - 'fitted up' being a rather quaint, although accurate way of describing the equipping of a body of the period.
Under the bonnet the engine looks to be correct in all details and matches published photographs in that guide to most matters relating to early Renault cars: Les Dossiers Chronologiques Renault. It is pleasing to note that the leather valances are still in place on the inside of the front mudguards and also the under-tray - an essential aid to the cooling of rear radiator Renaults.
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