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Renault Town Car
While many everyday items have advanced at an alarming rate of the last 200 years, it is amazing to look back at early cars, limos and coaches and see how inspired their designs were and how stylish they still are today.
Displayed at the Forney Museum of Transportation in Colorado is an 1811 overland horse drawn English road coach. The coach was shipped to America from Cheltenham England in 1960. The coach seats 18 people and was used for the passage between Cheltenham and London. This was during the time George III was King of England.
Also displayed in Colorado is a 1912 Renault Opera Coupe, believed to be the only one left in existence. The chassis of the coupe was built in France and the body in the USA.
Renault began construction in 1898 when Louis Renault made his first car in the backyard of his parent's house. Louis began receiving orders from customers and so started Renault Fréres, in Seine with his two brothers.
As was the norm at the time, Renault only built the chassis which was then shipped to coach builders to be finished. This was the way production was carried out until the ‘30s.
From 1900 Renault used 500cc De Dion engines in their cars. They then moved production on to twin-cylinder models such as the 1060cc 8cv and the 4398cc four-cylinder 20cv. Many of these twin cylinder vehicles were used as taxis in Paris and London and were the first taxis to be used in New York.
The Renault brothers were also the first to build enclosed cars. Their vehicles were also the fastest available from 1901-1903, reaching speeds over 60mph. A Renault also won the first ever Grand Prix in 1906.
Renault has produced 34,000 cars by 1912, in 15 different models. The most popular of the range was the six-cylinder 7539cc 40cv. This model was considered the most elegant town car on the road at the time. It is also reported that one of these 1912 town cars was onboard the Titanic, on her maiden voyage carrying the rich and famous.