1913 Renault Type DP Coupe-Chauffeur

The Renault Company was founded in 1899 as Societe Renault Freres by the Renault brothers. The first car, a Voiturette ICV had been built and sold in December 1898.

The Renault brothers – Louis, Marcel and Fernand – decided that their reputation could be built through motor racing and entered many European races. Both Louis and Marcel Renault raced. However, Marcel was killed in the 1903 Paris-Madrid race and although the company continued to participate in racing, Louis never raced again. Fernand retired in 1906. Despite the brothers not participating in racing, Renault race cars were successfully campaigned by some of the most noted European race car drivers of the early 20th century. Their victories were numerous including a win by a Renault AK 90CV driven by Ferenc Szisz which was the winning automobile in the first-ever Grand Prix race in 1906.

By 1907, Renault automobiles were being successfully built and marketed worldwide. The company had distributors in all of the major countries and cities. In the US, Renault distributorships were in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. William K. Vanderbilt was one of the first Americans to purchase a Renault, which he raced at one of the early Vanderbilt Cup Races in Long Island, New York.

One of Renault’s pre-WWI flagship models, this fabulous Type 22/24 HP Coupé-Chauffeur was purchased in 1913 by a family that retained unbroken ownership for over 100 years!  Incredibly the car still wears its original dark green paint, with only the fenders having been repainted a long time ago.  Similarly, the interior has never been reupholstered. The preservation of this car in remarkable. It is a testament to the original owners and their family, not only that car survived at all, but to treasure it for over a century and maintain it in such wonderful condition.

Like so many luxury cars from the teens through the late 1930s, the top-of-the-line Renaults were built in chassis form and delivered to an independent coachbuilder to be fitted with a body of the owner’s choice.

In this case, the Coupe-Chauffeur (town car) body was built of wood by Renaudin et Besson of Paris. Finished in dark green, the interior is trimmed with black button-tufted leather upholstery for both the Chauffeur and the passengers. Green damask fabric and braid added to the elegance of the passenger compartment, which was also equipped with such thoughtful accessories such as a leather-trimmed console containing a brass kilometric odometer, mirror, notebook, pencil, and flasks for ink. The car was also fitted with a glass divider separating the two compartments and a communications system for the passengers to speak with the driver. One major innovation of the time was to fit electric lights in the passenger car, although brass acetylene lamps were used for all external lighting. The original purchaser didn’t trust electric fixtures not to set the car on fire, instead opting for the ‘safer’ open flame of the acetylene lights!

The 22/24 horsepower side-valve four-cylinder engine displaces 5,027cc and has its cylinders cast in pairs with a three-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels. Equipped with solid axles front and rear, with drum brakes fitted to the rear wheels.

Owned for 105 years by three generations of the same family and with all the hallmarks of elegance and craftsmanship that define the pre-WWI era, and a level of patination that can only be achieved over a century. Thanks to their efforts, it is now a magnificent piece of automotive history, suitable for preservation class honors in prestigious concours events worldwide.

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Stock number 7591

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