Louis Renault made mass production a reality in France in parallel with the American Henrys (Leland and Ford) from whom he gladly learned and prospered. The Renault factory at Billancourt in Paris expanded after the First World War, adding modern production machinery and assembly line methods. It vertically integrating to include mines, foundries and steel mills. Models proliferated, from delivery vans to buses and airplane engines.
Atop it all was the Model 45, a 9.2 liter six-cylinder monster that defined in the early Twenties the concept of luxury, power, silence and opulence. Bugatti was an infant, Hispano-Suiza a vision, Rolls-Royce an upstart, when Louis Renault introduced his Model 45. It was the ultimate luxury car. Costing more than a contemporary Rolls-Royce, it embodied the best skills, methods, precision machining and forming from within Renault's vast enterprise.
Nestled nearly unobtrusively behind the front wheels under Renault's sloping hood was a 110x160mm bore and stroke 9,123cc inline side valve six-cylinder engine rated at 45 horsepower by the Royal Auto Club formula but developing much more horsepower on the dynamometer. Variously estimated at up to 140 brake horsepower, the Model 45's power is attested to by the accomplishment in 1925 of a Renault Type 45 with a streamlined coupe body achieving a 24 hour average speed of over 100mph at Montlhéry, in the process setting a closed course record of 107.9 mph.
Frequently sedately bodied as a formal cabriolet or town car, this 1925 Renault Type JP Model 45 is much more attractively bodied with 7-passenger touring car coachwork attractively liveried in ivory with biscuit leather upholstery and a beige cloth top. It has been lavished with fine details, from the varnished wood spoke wheels including dual sidemounted spares through Phares Besnard electric headlights, Marchal taillights, dual sidemounts with mirrors, wind wings, elaborately stitched door panels and unusually comprehensive instrumentation. Built in 1925, it has the latest Renault developments including the important 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes. It was restored in the mid-1980's by the famed Nethercutt Collection to very high standards and remains today almost as it was when the restoration was new. Paint, nickel plated bright trim, upholstery and top all are still in very good condition as deserved by such an expensive, imposing and powerful automobile. It is one of the most rare (it is believed that only about six Model 45 Renaults survive) of all CCCA Full Classics (tm) and, with a top speed in the upper double digits, a delight to use on the many tours and events for which it is eligible.