The today´s Renault-empire goes back to the car designer Louis Renault. With just 22 years he built his 1,75 hp strong Voiturette (later known as Model A) in the parental woodshed. On Christmas Eve he drove through Paris for the first time and came in for all views. While his vehicle took the 13 percent grade from the Rue Lepci to the Montmatre, his brother Marcel explained the revolutionary direct drive composed of a three-speed gear with stare shafts to the pedestrians. Later the alternative to the chain drive should become a precious financial help for the young company, because other car companies had to pay licence fee for it. But first 12 direct orders were the result of the test run. Already at 25th February 1899 the young inventor founded the company Société Renault Fréres. His brothers Marcel and Fernand became his partners and took care of the commercial issues. So in the first year 71 orders could be accepted. The brothers early realised the capability of motor sports as advertising. So Louis and Marcel took part in races from Paris to Trouville, Oostende and Ramboilett, which they won altogether. 1900 the long distance races Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Toulouse followed. The result were 350 orders, which made it necessary to employ 100 staff members. In 1901 the young company already employed field staff in many European metropolises, as well as in New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires and Sumatra. In 1902 509 orders came in, so it became necessary to extend the production plant in Billancourt on 7500 m²and put 500 employees into service. So in this year the first own 24-hp-engine could be developed. Also, the turbocharger was invented, which should prove to be a useful patent. In 1903 the brotherly community became a bitter backlash, when Marcel Renault was killed in an accident at the race Paris-Madrid. Louis thereupon decided to drive no more races. In 1905 the market entry into the serial production started, because the Parisian taxi guild ordered 250 cars. At that time the company had already 120 branches in France. Branches in England, Germany, the USA, Russia, Turkey and North Africa followed. In 1906 the first Car-Grand-Prix of the history took place. The Renault-brothers could win the Hungarian Ferenc Szisz for their planes, and he won with his Renault 90 CV and a 30 minutes lead. In 1909 the construction of utility vehicles started, for example three and five tonnes vehicles. In the same year Fernand also surprisingly died and Louis had to take the company lead alone. Two years later the company owner travelled to the USA, to visit the Ford factories. Fascinated by the organisation, he found there, Renault decided to rationalise the work processes in his homeland. Also, he picked up the idea to build cars not only for the upper class, but for everyone. In 1913 already 10.000 vehicles left the assembly line, a production that was unique for Europe. With the beginning to the First World War Louis should serve his military service, but he was exempted as „indispensable“, because his factories worked for the armament. Also, the Parisian taxis were confiscated for the military service and brought 6500 soldiers to the front at the Marne. So they went down to history as Marne Taxis. To escape the sales crises Renault built everything, what was needed and had an engine, so as military vehicles, ambulances and even tanks. The tank Renault FT was the first with a rotatable tower. But also civil vehicles, as agricultural tractors with chain drive were constructed. The company also advanced to the greatest aeroplane engine producer and supplied the ally. With the Avant-Renault-model also the first factory-owned plane arose. After the war, Louis got involved with the emergent civil air transportation. Beside planes boat engines and locomotives were built. But the core business remained the car. In 1919 as answer to the Fort T-model the basis model Renault 10 CV was developed as the first car with left steering. For the new-rich upper class Renault held the luxury Pullman-limousine 40 CV with 9,1-litre-six-cylinder-engine ready. At this time Renault was already the biggest industrial enterprise of France. 1922 the transformation into a public limited company followed. 1926 a race-version of the 40 CV took the 24-hours-record in Monthléry. In the same year the first foreign production plant was built in the Belgian Haren. 1927 a further followed in the English Acton. Already 1909 Renault had started to buy out the 70.000 m² large Seine-island Seguin and to raise the ground level for six metres as flood protection. At least in 1929 a new production plant after the model of Henry Ford with a 1,5 km long assembly line – the longest outside of the USA at this time- arose here. In the same year the production of the first diesel-lorry started. At this time Renault had distribution partners in 49 countries spread over four continents. The 1930s were marked by the world economic crisis. But the captain of industry had provided for a risk. The increase of the firm was not grounded on bank loans, but on own resources. Besides Renault kept its independence from suppliers. So the company had own steelworks in Lorraine, an own power plant and took care of its own process waste trough recycling and selling. So according to the circumstances it was possible, to bring with the Renault 6CV an energy-saving model to the market. The car consumed only 3,7 litres fuel on 100 km. 1933 the Paris droshky society ordered 4500 taxis. The Vivaquatre-G7 embossed the cityscape and Brussels and Antwerp followed the Paris example. Soon also buses were included in the range of products. In the same year the firm strengthened its exposure in the air traffic, by buying out the aircraft company Caudron. 1934 Louis Renault was present in the governing body of Air Union and Air Orient – the airlines which should become Air France later. In the middle of the decade a new plant arose in Le Mans. With workman´s houses, preschool, polyclinic and sports fields it was more like a social project. 1935 58.000 vehicles could be built and one year later it were already 61.146. Related to the automobile part, at the beginning of the Second World War it were manly luxury models. At this time Louis started to think about its succession. He chose Francois Lehideux, the husband of a daughter of his brother Fernand. But the two were not always in complete agreement. Main theme of the discussions was Renaults decision to produce only civil vehicles. Lehideux in contrast wanted to bet on the upcoming war. On June 10th Renault had to leave Paris by order of the ministry of war. He travelled with his wife to the USA. But already at July 22nd he returned to the by German occupied Paris, to take care for his lifework, which he discovered in a disastrous condition. The Vichy regime made his antagonist Lehideux the „responsible director of the organising committee for the automobile in France“ and also refused a civil use of the factory. Renault now should do reparations for the German Armed Forces and built heavy lorries. After his arrest, at the Gestapo at Oktober 22nd Louis Renault at least accepted a cooperation. That the sales rose about the quintuple may only was a weak comfort for him. Through the new use his plants became targets for the air attacks of the British. In March and April 1942 his production facilities were rebuilt after the particular air raids. In September 1943 the complete destruction followed, so the production had to be stopped. At August 23rd of the following year Paris was freed by the Allies. Louis Renault was blamed for his collaboration with the enemy. The meanwhile heavy sickened man turned himself in and got arrested. At October 24th he at least died. His lifework got nationalised. Subsequent leader became the lawyer and engineer Pierre Lefaucheux, who also was an enthusiastic Renault-Fan. While the war, Renault had told his engineers to work secretly on the development of a civil automobile. Then, on the Paris automobile saloon the 4CV named vehicle was introduced to the publicity. One year later the production started and the car became so popular, that the delivery time soon rose to a whole year. In autumn 1948 due to the claim the company increased its monthly production up to 7750 vehicles. So in 1949 Renault was the biggest car producer of France. In the same year the 4CV at least gained a class victory at the Rallye of Monte Carlo and 1950 a win at the 24 hours of Le Mans followed. In this year was also a plant in Valladolid (Spain) founded – the birth of the later Renault-daughter FASA. 1951 the Départment Compétition was founded and further race victories in Monte Carlo and Le Mans followed. At the same time the production in the home country and abroad was enlarged forward. In Flins a new factory arose, test and development centres in Rueil-Malmaison and Lardy followed. At least the equipment in Billancourt got upgraded. In the years 1952, 1953 and 1954 the success in motor sports continued. At the Mille Miglia the drivers Jean Rédélé and Louis Pons run in three victories in succession. In 1955 Rédélé founded an own firm for sports car prototypes in the French Dieppe. Here also the legendary Alpine arose. In the same year a further change in the top management of Renault took place. The previous director Pierre Lefaucheux died on February 11th in an accident. Successor became his vice director Dreyfus. In September the new Renault-boss forced the fusion with the lorries-producer Latil and Somua and the firm Saviem arose. Besides many things in the business of ideal personnel management were done. There was a pay raise, shorter labour times were introduced and extra benefits and three weeks paid holidays became standard. In 1956 the introduction of the Dauphine followed and many special models were made of it, like the luxury car Ondine or the sportive Dauphine Gordini. In this year Renault also set a speed record for turbine vehicles. The experimental car „Étoile Filante“ (shooting star) reached entire 309 km/h. In 1957 the company exported 34.000 vehicles to the USA for the first time. Indeed, there were sales difficulties because of the economic crisis. Besides a smear campaign arose for the flagship Dauphine, because of isolated technical defects. But in Europe the model furthermore stayed one of the most bought cars. In 1958 a brief partnership with Alfa Romea, but its concern mother Fiat soon quitted the cooperation. In the beginning of the 1960s 61.435 labourer worked for Renault and 548.000 vehicles were produced. Still, they took care for the staff and the weekly hours of work were reduced to 45 hours and the yearly holidays were raised to four paid weeks. Because of the economic boom more and more people could afford an own car. So while the business market in the USA broke away, Renault could gain much ground in Europe. The 1961 released practical R4 with front drive played a big role in this success. 1962 the Dauphine was replaced through the R8. In 1963 the company resumed the spare part supply and the dealer network of the tractor brand Porsche-Diesel, by what the selling also could be raised in the Renault-tractors division. In the same year in Sandouville near Le Havre a further assembly plant for the R16 arose. The racing car designer Amedée Gordini produced a sport version of it with first 86 and later 88 hp, which reached a top speed of 175 km/h. In 1965 with the Renault 16 the first liftback with big hatch was brought to market. A special feature was the lengthwise slidable and stowable backseat bench. In 1966 the company-internal Renault 8 Gordini-Cup was founded. Before the end of the year after 2 million produced vehicles the fabrication of the Dauphine ended. In this time in France many workingmen protested and also in the Renault plants a strike arose, which stopped the production for 33 days. The result were a pay raise, the reduction of the weekly hours of work for about an hour and more rights for the labour union. So one year later the first real world car of the brand appeared: the middleclass-notchback-limousine Renault 12. In the production, shiftings took place. The coachwork- and assemply plant in Douai was ordered. The production of the Dauphine and the R4 took place in Córdoba (Argentina) from now on. The R12 was mounted in Romania as Dacia 1300. An associated company arose in Mexico and in a cooperation with Peugeot an assembly plant was mounted in Peru. So in 1969 entire 86.000 persons could be employed and more than one million cars left the assembly line. In the beginning of the 1970s it already were 100.000 staff, which were engaged in the company by shares. The yearly production stood at 1,2 million vehicles, which was enabled by the increasing automation through industrial robots. More and more sportive cars were added to the new models, as for example the Renault 10 Gordini. In 1971 the Alpine A310 followed to the Alpine A110. The sportive direction were also reflected in the motor sports. So in the same year the drivers Jean-Claude Andruet and Jean-Luc Thérier brought in many victories, among others at the Rallye in Monte Carlo. But the time of strikes wasn´t over yet. Again in 1971 bad production conditions lead to insurgences, which were forced through left extreme groups. The demonstrations peaked in the death of the French worker Pierre Overney, who were shot down by Renaults factory police in Billancourt on February 25th in 1972. As answer to the first energy crisis, at the beginning of 1972 the sparing Renault 5 was brought to market. In the same year the Crashtestcomplex in Lardy was enlarged, which should guarantee the security of the future vehicles. When the brands championship was introduced in 1973, Renault became immortal as first titular. In the following year the PRV-engine was developed and used in the Renault 30, as well as in models of Peugeot and Volvo. The new aggregate was produced in the new plant in Douvrin. In the year 1975 an innovation in the luxury segment occurred. The Renault 30 TS was the first postwar limousine with V6-engine. This „europe“-engine was also applied in the Alpine A310 V6, which was speeded up to 220 km/h by it. But also in the compact car sector noone had to wait on the inebriation of speed any longer. In 1976 the Renault 5 Alpine with 93 hp and 172 km/h topspeed was brought to market. This all happened similar to the introduction of the competition department Renault Sport. Already back in 1973 the Alpine automobile manufacture in Dieppe had been completely resumed. Now the first Renault-Formula-1-racing-car should arise in this plant. On July 17th in 1977 the RS01 celebrated its debut at the Grand Prix of Great Britain in Silverstone. The first victory followed in 1979 at the Grand Prix of France in Dijon with driver Jean-Piere Jabouille. It was something especial, because the vehicle already had a Bitturbo and so the turbocharging found it´s way into the royal class. Also in the commercial vehicle sector Renault was active in the 70s. In 1975 the concern already resumed the company Berliet, which together with Saviem became Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI) in 1978. Altogether the company could come up with a year´s production of 1.8 million vehicles in 1979. At the beginning of the 80s it already were 2 million. In 1980 with the Fuégo a modern Coupé was brought to market. In the commercial vehicles sector the antiquated Estafette was replaced by the models Master and Trafic. The current president Bernard Vernier-Palliez was elected manager of the year. He has stepped on the concerns peak for Pierre Dreyfus, who bad been appointed as minister of industries. But Vernier-Palliez also changed over to the politics as ambassador for France in the USA. He was replaced by Bernard Hanon. In motor sports the decade also started racy. In 1982 Jean Ragnotti could win the „Tour de Corse“ for Renault in his rear driven Renault 5 Turbo. In the same year the racer legend Alain Prost brought in three Grand-Prix-victories. The following year he could even finish as world champion. The company also kept itself interesting by the invention of new models at. In 1982 the notchback car Renault 9 was elected „car of the year“. In the same year the Renault 8 Alpine Turbo was introduced, which reached a topspeed of 185 km/h with its 108 hp. In the commercial vehicle sector Dodge Europe was resumed by RVI in 1983. The model range G260/290 won the Truck-of-the-year-award. Also, the progresses on the computer sector reached the automobile market. So already at this time the Renault 11 was available in the special edition „Électronique“, where important vehicle informations were told by a female voice. But in 1984 a break-in occurred. Even though Renault was the biggest car producer of Europe, the company was in the red for the first time. The reaction of the crisis was a new model initiative. The second generation of the Renault 5 with crosswise placed engine was part of it, as well as the luxury upper class model Renault 25, which soon became the official state carriage. In 1985 the saloon car Renault Espace followed, which was priced with the innovation award, as European pioneer in the Van segment. On the concerns peak Bernard Hanon was replaced by George Besse, who directly started a drastic reorganisation plan. In 1986, he brought the modern middle class car Renault 21 to market. At the same time the retreat from the formula 1 occurred, but Renault stayed in motor sports as engine partner of Lotus and Ligier. Besides the refresh lead to an immense reduction of staff. May because of its radical course of action the firm leader became a interesting target for the terrorist group Action directe. So on November the 17th 1986 George Besse was shot in broad daylight in Paris. His successor Raymond-H. Lévy manages to get over the crisis completely and brought in gainings in 1987 again. In 1988 with the Renault 19 the company returned successful back into the segment of compact middle class. In the next decade Renault went to public. In 1990 RVI also bought out Mac Truck and one year later the AE became „Truck of the Year“. In 1992 RVI became Renault V.I.. In matters of motor sports Renault had already returned to the formula 1 as engine partner for Williams in 1989. In the same year Thierry Boutsen could drive in the first victory. In 1990 two further wins followed and one year later the cooperation even became vize world champion. Till 1997 the racing teams Williams-Renault and Benetton-Renault should score six brand-world-championships. But first in 1992 engraved changes occurred in the company. The production plant at the Seine-island was closed because of shortage of space. At the same time the production of the R4 was stopped. About 31 years the car had been built almost unmodified. Altogether 8.125.424 cars left the assembly line and every tenth had been exported to Germany. In exchange many new releases were brought to market. Already 1990 the sports car study „Laguna“ made its debut, which replaced the Renault 21 in the middle class segment in 1994. Also, the Renault Clio was released, which became „car of the year“ already in 1991. This was also the year of the Renault Scénic. With this space concept the success of the Espace got entrance into the compact middle class. In 1992 the Zoom followed and last but not least the Twingo, which should become a legendary soon, because of its extraspecial interior space concept. In 1993 the Renault Racoon and one year later the Renault Argos were brought to market. Instead of these in 1994 with the Renault 5 a further warhorse had to leave. Till the stop of its production it was built 9 million times. In 1995 the Renault 19 followed its lead and made room for the Renault-Mégane-series. In 1996 the Renault Fiftie and the upper class study „Vel Satis“ were added. In the same year the company was at least privatised, after the French government sold out its shares of Renault after 51 years. In 1997 the Renault Espace was released in third generation and with a revised futuristic optic. One year later the concern celebrated its 100-years- existence. At this time in Guyancourt a new development centre opened up. In the Brazilian Curitiba also a new plant was established. It was named after the threefold word champion Ayrton Senna, who was killed in an accident at the race in San Marino back in 1994. At this time the global player also possessed production plants in Taiwan, Turkey, Colombia and Morocco. In 1999 an alliance with the Japanese producer Nissan followed. With a 51 per cent participation the Romanian car producer Dacia was secured by the concern. Besides the car division of the Korean Samsung-group was resumed and the Renault Samsung Motors arose. Through these expansions the Renault concern became the fourth biggest car producer in the world. The new millennium started with alterations in the truck-section. So the AE was built with a COE-cab for the first time. In 2001 Renault V.I. was integrated into the truck-group Volvo and traded under the name Renault Trucks since 2002. Also, the Spanish subsidiary Fasa got a new name and was now called Renault Espana. Besides since 2002 the company was represented in the formula one with an own engine and chassis again. One year later the estate model Mégane Grandtour discontinued. It had been built in the turkey Bursa since 1999. Also, the tractor branch of the German agricultural machine producer Claas was resumed in 2003. In 2004 a new sales record of 7.276.398 vehicles could be reached. Still, in the same year the new Modus models were launched. In April 2005 another change at the concerns peak occurred, when Carlos Ghosn replaced the previous chairman Louis Schweitzer. At the same time the third generation of the Renault Clio followed, which became „car of the year“ in 2006 again. Besides at this time Renault won the constructing engineers championship and became world champion in the formula 1 with its driver Alonso. In 2007 the new models of the Twingo and the Laguna were brought to market. One year later it were at least ten models, which celebrated their premiere. Three of them were the Twingo R.S., the Clio Grandtour and the Grand Modus. Furthermore, the Kangoo and Kangoo Rapid, as well as the Laguna Grandtour and the Laguna Coupé were brought to market. Koleos, the Mégane limousine and the Mégane Coupé made the range of products round. In 2009, it was again the Mégane, which set a new course in compact class. The new decade started rapid, when the Red Bull Racing Team won the drivers as well as the constructing engineers championship with the French RS 27. In April the 7th in 2010 also a cooperation contract was signed between Renault-Nissan and the Daimler AG. Now compact car platforms and engines could be used together, which essential simplified the production. Besides since 2010 Renault has set a new goal. Affordable, eco-friendly vehicles should be produced. The new direction was expressed by a change of the main slogan. Up to now Renault promoted as „Createur de Automobile“, but now the buyer was addressed directly with „Drive the Change“. Already in 2009 the CO2-exhaust had been reduced drastically. 65 % of the models had 140 gram/km and 31% only had 120 gram/km. In 2011 the release of the three first 100% electric driven models followed. Renault Fluence Z.E. and Renault Kangoo Rapid Z.E. were sold 257 times in the first six weeks. In the same year Renault-vehicles also applied as very reliable in the ADAC-glitch-statistics. Also, the Renault-plant reached top-grades at Stiftung Warentest, ADAC and AvD. In 2012 a new edition of the Renault Clio was launched. Also, at Twingo, Mégane and Scénic model upgrading was practised. In the matter of electric vehicles the product range were expanded with the double-seater Twizy and the compact car ZOE.

Renault R8 Oldtimer engine bonnet
Used engine bonnet from Renault R8 oldtimer
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Renault R8 Oldtimer seats
Used seats from Renault R8 oldtimer
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Renault R8 Oldtimer spare wheel
Used spare wheel from Renault R8 oldtimer
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