18 May 1998
1909 RENAULT TYPE AG-1 TAXI DE LA MARNE
Chassis No. 15464
Engine: Four cylinder L-head side valves, 2116cc; Gearbox: three-speed and reverse; Suspension: front beam axle, live rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: rear wheels and transmission.
It falls to few automobiles to be a turning point in military history, however minor. Indeed, it might be said that the military events concerning the Renault AG-1 taxis of Paris early in September 1914 were more major than minor, for they marked the first occasion when motor transport was used in war to move large numbers of infantry forward to the lines of battle. A month before, the great war had flared up. The German army had broken through and now threatened to encircle the French capital. General Galliani, Governor of Paris, ordered 1000 taxis to rush infantry forward to bolster the defending forces along the Marne River. Reinforced, the French halted the invaders and the taxis of the Marne found their parking space in history. Introduced in 1908, the twin cylinder AG Renaults were the company's best selling line before 1914. With their simple side-valve front-mounted engines, sliding type gearbox and shaft drive, all installed in a strong pressed steel chassis frame, they were right in the mainstream of European quantity production automobiles, their only quirk the "coal scuttle" bonnnet and dashboard mounted radiator. Numbers were supplied to the three companies which between them controlled Paris's taxis, each of which painted itself red, green or blue to identify them.
The early history of this car is unknown. It appears to have been imported from France in around 1960 and to have subsequently been restored as a taxi. It has spent many years on display in a museum and is presented as being in very good condition but has not been driven during its time at the museum. Recommissioning should be a relatively simple matter, providing the successful purchaser with an economical and historic Edwardian landaulette.
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Please note that this is an AZ Type and not an AG as indicated in the catalogue.
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