Lot 370: Renault 12CV EF Torpedo
Founded by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand in 1898, the company that would become France's biggest automobile manufacturer started humbly enough, with a solitary 1�hp De Dion-engined prototype, the sprung rear axle of which would soon be copied by many contemporaries. Production at the Billancourt factory was soon under way on a large scale, demand for its products being enhanced by the performance of Renault cars in the great inter-city races so popular in France at the turn of the 19th Century. From the outset Renault engineering was of the highest quality and the arrival of multi-cylinder models really put the company on the map. By 1904 Renault was building its own engines - large-capacity fours at first, followed by the AX twin - and in 1908 introduced its first six-cylinder model despite Louis Renault's aversion to such complication. In 1914 Renault introduced an improved version of its existing 12CV model; this was the EF, which featured a 2,615cc four-cylinder sidevalve engine with the cylinders cast in pairs. The gearbox was a four-speeder and the EF featured Renault's characteristic bulkhead-mounted radiator. Two body styles were available: a four-seater torpedo and semi-enclosed limousine. Maximum speed, depending on the coachwork, was in the 32-48mph range. Chassis number '45015' left Renault's Billancourt works in Paris in May 1914 bound for London and onward shipment to the Renault agent in Sydney, Australia. The export agency concerned was Messrs Tozer, Kemsley & Fisher, whose records survive. In Australia the car was sold to the headmaster of a well-known school near Sydney, whose family retained it until circa 1980. It has had only two owners since. An exceptionally original example, the car retains its factory torpedo body while the interior has been re-upholstered in black leather, exactly copying the original pattern. An Eismann magneto incorporating automatic advance/retard has replaced the original Bosch fixed-timing magneto, which is included in the sale. Supplied new with electrical lighting and charging systems, but not an electric starter, it also retains its original Klaxon horn, SEV headlamps and side lamps. Alongside the change of magneto, restorer I.S. Polson has also carried out additional work including fitting taillights, repairs to dynamo, fitting a period correct ammeter, changing a brake rod, various re-wiring and many other small jobs, all of this work totalling circa �9,000. Described as in generally good condition, with excellent interior, this handsome early Renault is offered with old Australian registration document, recently expired MoT (June 2103), C&E 386, and Renault Fr�res dating letter.
The Beaulieu Sale|
Bonhams, Hampshire, UK
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