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1901 Renault 4½hp Type D Series E Two-Seater Voiturette
Coachwork by E Vicart Fils, Levallois, Seine
Registration no. A 2743
Chassis no. 023
Engine no. 4749

This early De Dion-engined Renault was supplied new in 1901 by Roadway Autocar Co Ltd of London, who were sole agents for Renault Frères and Mors cars and imported 12 Renaults that year. A contemporary advertisement on file shows that different detachable rear sections were available, including a rear-entrance tonneau. There is a spigot for a step, located in the centre rear of the chassis behind the number plate on 'A 2743' and identical to the two on either side of the car illustrated, indicating that a rear-entrance tonneau possibly was used at some time. The coachwork is by E Vicart Fils, Levallois (Seine).

Around 1908 the Renault was driven, and possibly owned, by Captain Basil Emery, son of the Archdeacon of Ely Cathedral. A photograph on file, acquired in 2007 from descendants of Captain Emery, shows him and his fiancée in the car outside Ely Cathedral. A career Army officer, William Basil Emery had served and been decorated in the Boer War and by 1911 had been promoted to the rank of major. He went on, as a brigadier general, to serve with Allenby in Palestine and finished his career as Colonel Commandant in Constantinople. He died in 1945.

During the 1920s, the car was used by a Mr Barnes for his business as a chimney sweep in Reading, and its rear section was enlarged at this time. In 1927 the Renault was acquired by Vincents (Coachbuilders) also of Reading, who restored, maintained and rallied the car until 1975. William Vincent entered 'A 2743' in the London-Brighton Run in 1927 and also in 1928 when it was successful in reaching the finish line. A photograph from the 1928 Run shows the 'old crock', driven on trade plates, passing the White Horse in Reigate (part of the original route). The car was entered in the 1971 London-Brighton Run and driven by Vincents' employee, Frank Gear. Frank remembers the car being displayed in the company's Castle Street showrooms, although his Brighton Run was not successful, as he describes (see history file).

In 1970 the car was officially dated as of 1901 manufacture by the Veteran Car Club and given Certificate No. 1217. It was noted on the certificate that the boot had been enlarged. Vincents subsequently restored the boot to original specification and also changed the colour from blue to what is believed to be the original dark green, with contrasting red coachlining. Other noteworthy features include brass oil side lamps, a brass oil rear lamp, bulb horn and buttoned red upholstery. 'A 2743' was the last of Vincents' Veteran cars to be sold, in 1975.

The Renault was then successful in the 1979 London-Brighton Run (start number '92') driven by a Mrs R M Snapper, wife of the then owner Mr M Snapper of Kingston Hill, Surrey, who kept it until 1983. The car was subsequently owned from 1983 to 1994 by Mr James Burrows, who displayed it in his Renault showrooms in Amersham and then rallied it during his retirement. Subsequent owners Mike Rowlett of Henley-on-Thames followed by Mr David Lawson of Chorley, Lancashire continued the restoration and maintenance and in 2005 Mr Lawson successfully completed the London-Brighton Run. The current vendor purchased the car at Bonhams' New Bond Street auction in November 2006 (Lot 203).

His first major event with the Renault was the 2007 'Creepy Crawly' in Norfolk, followed by that year's London-Brighton Run, though the latter was spoiled by a puncture that destroyed the tyre, causing a retirement. The 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 Runs were completed successfully but the car missed the 2010 event as its gearbox was undergoing an overhaul and did not participate in 2013 because of a non-car related issue. 'A 2743' has an entry for the 2014 Run and has an early starting number of 74, thus ensuring an early start to clear London's traffic before it builds up. The accompanying history file contains the aforementioned documentation and the car also comes with sundry invoices, current road fund licence, current MoT and a V5C.

This charming Renault voiturette is eligible for all events organised by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain including the increasingly popular Singles and Twins events, Renault Frères rallies and, of course, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

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