Gables Service Station
30 June 2005
1909 RENAULT 8HP TYPE AX TWO SEATER
Registration No. CL 527
Car No. 14690
Engine No. 3991
Red with black beading, mudguards and upholstery
Engine: vertical two cylinder monobloc, L-head, 75 x 120mm bore and stroke, 1,060cc, magneto ignition, thermo-syphon cooling; Gearbox: three speed with reverse, right-hand change; Suspension: front and rear semi-elliptic springs; Brakes: Handbrake to rear wheels and foot-operated transmission brake. Wooden wheels with 700 x 85 beaded-edge tyres. Right hand drive.
Louis Renault sold his first motorcars in 1899 and with their direct shaft-drive top gear one of the definitive designs of the early motorcar era came to the attention of the public. Sales soon exceeded expectations, and as the business expanded a range of models was introduced whilst the marque was well-publicised by numerous motor racing successes.
As was obligatory for all French cars, the Renault AX received 'Type Approval' from the Service des Mines on the 23rd September 1908, the particular example so approved being Car Number 13579. A two-cylinder two-seater it first appeared in England at the Olympia Show in November 1908 and caused The Motor Car Journal to comment: 'For the 1909 season the Renault firm have brought out a new 8-hp voiturette which has met with much appreciation. The new vehicle follows in general arrangement very much on the lines of the Renault taxi-cab' (which was the slightly larger type AG).
This car is recorded as having been dispatched from the Renault works on the 23rd January 1909, and was sold on by Renault Limited, London - the British selling branch of the parent company - on the 5th February 1909 to Mann, Egerton & Co., Norwich, the Norfolk Renault agents, which accounts for its Norwich registration.
The car appears to be correct in all details both in terms of the body with its windscreen and hood and under the bonnet where the engine, with its number stamped in several places, together with the ancillaries - notably the Renault's own carburettor - matches period pictures. The dashboard carries the substantial Renault lubricator and the correct Renault Frères, English license plates, both dated 1909, plus the Mann Egerton plate.
Renaults have an enthusiastic following and are particularly well catered for by a number of clubs.
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