1909 Renault AX
Year of manufacture1909
Number of seats2
1909 Renault AX 8hp Two-seater
Registration no. CX 1673
Engine no. 5271
Pioneers in the French motor industry, Renault enjoyed considerable distinction in the early days of motor sport in such notable events as the Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Vienna races, Marcel Renault's victory in the latter race in 1902 putting the marque firmly on the map. Marcel's death in the notorious 1903 Paris-Madrid race was a serious blow resulting in Louis Renault's withdrawal from motor racing, concentrating on continuing production of well engineered motor cars with engines designed by Viet, brother-in-law to Georges Bouton. The announcement of the twin-cylinder models AX and AG in 1905 heralded perhaps the most commercially successful of all Renault's pre Great War models. Here was a car of simple design, easy to drive and with mechanical features which even a horse groom might begin to understand. The vertical twin-cylinder engine, with mechanically operated valves, was simple and robust, endearing qualities to the novice motorist, and the three-speed gearbox was simplicity itself.
There are few cars which within veteran car owners' circles which command the respect of the Renault AX. These twin cylinder 8hp cars consistently demonstrate their reliability in club events, the AX models holding station quite well motoring alongside four-cylinder counterparts and generally arriving at coffee and lunch stops in time for the early pickings. The success of the model is demonstrated by a long production run which continued until the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. A further attraction of AX ownership lies in the extremely active Renault Frères Club which not only organises excellent events in the U.K. and France but also offers an invaluable spares service to Renault owners.
The known history of this car dates back to 1953 with correspondence from that time on Veteran Car Club files from VCC stalwart T.E.Johnson of Birmingham. The car later passed into the Edgar Pilkington collection, famously dispersed at a memorable on site auction at Ludlow in July 1986. Passing then into the ownership of VCC member Bob Leopold, the car remained in frequent use in VCC events before passing into the small but distinguished collection of the vendor in 2008.
The CX registration no. of this car suggests it was first registered in Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and although the car bears no coachbuilder's plates it may well be that the coachwork is by respected coachbuilders Rippon Brothers of that town Britain's oldest coachbuilders - known to have supplied similar Renaults at that period. The car stands as an older gently mellowed restoration and is generously equipped with Lucas King of the Road acetylene headlamps, a brass bulb horn, black leather upholstery, hood and a folding windscreen, a Pratts two gallon spare petrol can, and a most useful 'Stepney' wheel. Notably CX 1673 - VCC dated in 1955 (certificate no. 324) - retains its original Renault carburettor on which these cars run so well. Unused in recent times because of illness, this delightful AX will we feel respond well to careful recommissioning and it is offered with a V5C registration document and a VCC Dating Certificate