1912 Renault AX,
Lot 535
1912 Renault AX Tourer Chassis no. 3424
Sold for £33,350 (US$ 56,055) inc. premium
Lot Details
1912 Renault AX Tourer
Registration no. DS 6630
Chassis no. 3424


  • Founded by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand in 1898, the company that would become France's biggest automobile manufacturer started humbly enough, with a solitary 1¾hp De Dion-engined prototype, the sprung rear axle of which would soon be copied by many contemporaries. Production at the Billancourt factory was soon under way on a large scale, demand for its products being enhanced by the performance of Renault cars in the great inter-city races so popular in France at the turn of the 19th Century.
    From the outset Renault engineering was of the highest quality and the arrival of multi-cylinder models really put the company on the map. By 1904 Renault was building its own engines: large-capacity fours at first, followed by the AX twin that later developed into the AG, famous for its WWI role as the 'Taxi de la Marne'. Powered by a 1,100cc twin-cylinder engine of 8hp and featuring the 'coal scuttle' bonnet and rear-mounted radiator that would characterise Renaults until the late 1920s, the AX arrived at a time when the motor car was beginning to gain a measure of respectability. The unreliability of early cars had provided good cause for public scepticism but the advent of the AX, destined to become Renault's pre-WWI best seller, ushered in a new era. Here was an easy-to-drive car of simple design, whose mechanical workings even a technically illiterate layman might begin to understand. The water-cooled twin with its mechanically operated valves was simple and robust, endearing qualities to the novice motorist, and the three-speed gearbox was easy to master. For so small a car the AX possessed unparalleled flexibility between 5mph and 35mph in top gear, clinging to that gear on all but the steepest gradients.
    Well known to members of the UK's Renault Frères Club, this AX tourer was purchased by its late owner in 1985 and has completed numerous rallies and tours both in this country and in Europe. Events entered include the Reims to Antibes Rally (across the French Alps), Paris-Deauville and various others with the Renault Frères. Although not run recently, the engine is reported to have been in excellent condition prior to the car being laid up and the vehicle is described as in good condition in every other respect, although the brightwork is somewhat tarnished and requires polishing. Offered with Swansea V5 and (affixed) VCC dating plate.