1910 Renault AX 'Taxi de la Marne'SOLD
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Estimate: $80,000-$120,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

$68,750 Sold

Specifications: 12hp, 1,205cc two-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, front semi-elliptic leaf springs with rear three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, rear wheel internal expanding drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94"

The origins of French motoring are owed in large to the skilled craftsmanship of the Renault brothers. In a relatively short period of time, Fernand, Louis, and Marcel Renault produced autos that graced the garages and carriage houses of European nobility and American high society.

As construction began in 1898, the Renault Frères initially opted to utilize the well-respected DeDion engines. Although it only displaced a modest 273cc, it proved to be a wise first step that was soon followed by a 500cc version. Eventually engines were designed and assembled in-house, beginning with the twin-cylinder models such as the 1,060cc 8cv. Although engine treatments varied, early Renaults featured shaft drive and were quite distinctive in design by virtue of their coalscuttle hood treatment.

In 1908, Renault unveiled an all-new AX chassis, fitted with a two-cylinder engine. As the most affordable model in the company ’ s model line, it was an instant favorite among taxi drivers in both Paris and London. By 1910, the AX ’ s engine was improved with an increase in output to 12 horsepower alongside the introduction of the more affordable AG.

Above all, the popular image of the Renault taxi is largely attributable to the role they played in saving Paris during the First World War. In 1914, at the first Battle of the Marne, the military commandeered approximately 600 Renault taxis to transport several thousand infantrymen to the front and help prevent the German army from breaking through the French lines. Although the exact impact of the “ Taxi de la Marne ” is immeasurable, its importance as a symbol of national pride and wartime morale is undeniable.

The Renault AG offered here is truly an exceptional restored example with bodywork by respected Parisian coachbuilder Audineau & Cie. It was purchased by Mr. Wiseman in 2002 from a collection in Arizona. The professionally applied green paint is in excellent condition, free of imperfections and defects, and has a lovely, smooth texture. It is beautifully accented by gold pin striping and bright brass components, which are undamaged, but have faded slightly and could benefit from polishing. The brass taillight is an authentic Bleriot piece. Period correct Dunlop tires are mounted to the wheels, which have been painted to match the body, and the black vinyl landau top appears to have been expertly fitted and is virtually as new. The glass, some of which may be original, is in the same general condition.

In the passenger cabin, the light tan upholstery and matching headliner exhibits great attention to detail, while the outside driver ’ s seat features black, diamond-tufted leather which has developed a lovely patina. As for the dash and steering wheel, the wood has been sanded and varnished to a nice finish. Show-quality workmanship also extends to the restored engine compartment, which has been nicely detailed and appears to be very factory correct. The black undercarriage does not fall short either, and was professionally restored down to the suspension, steering, and driveline.

Despite its intended purpose as a taxi, the Renault AG is a surprisingly luxurious automobile that benefits from the same coachwork as the company ’ s concurrent up-scale models. Mr. Wiseman ’ s Renault is a particularly well- restored and attractive example that simultaneously evokes images of Parisian elegance and French patriotism.

Reference Number 14997

as of 11/4/2007

Car 1910 Renault AX 'Taxi de la Marne'
VIN 23781 
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