Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A
Lot 533
Ex-Dr Gérald Rolph, autrefois exposée au Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault six cylindres torpédo double phaëton Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A
Sold for €166,750 (US$ 212,989) inc. premium

Lot Details
Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum ,1927 Renault Torpedo Six Cylinder Dual Cowl   Chassis no. 116 Engine no. 93A
Ex-Dr Gérald Rolph, autrefois exposée au Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum
1927 Renault six cylindres torpédo double phaëton
Coachwork by attribuée à Kellner

Chassis no. 116
Engine no. 93A
Fondée par Louis Renault avec ses frères Marcel et Fernand en 1898, la compagnie qui allait devenir le premier constructeur français commença assez humblement avec un prototype à moteur De Dion de 1 ¾ ch, dont l'essieu arrière suspendu allait rapidement être repris par de nombreux autres constructeurs. La production prit rapidement une dimension industrielle à l'usine de Billancourt, la demande étant stimulée par les performances des voitures Renault dans les grandes courses de ville à ville si populaires en France à la fin du XIXe siècle.

Dès le départ, la mécanique des Renault afficha une grande qualité et l'arrivée de modèle multicyclindres établit définitivement la maque. À partir de 1904, Renault construisait ses propres moteurs – des quatre cylindres de grosse cylindrée au début, suivis par le bicylindre de l'AX – et présentait son premier six cylindres en 1908, malgré le peu d'intérêt de Louis Renault pour ces mécaniques complexes. Renault fabriqua des camions, des tanks et des moteurs aéronautiques pendant la Grande Guerre et ce n'est qu'au Salon de Paris de 1919 que Renault exposa un nouveau modèle d'automobile de tourisme.

Durant les années 1920, la marque offrit toute une gamme de produits couronnée par de luxueux modèles six cylindres dont cette voiture est un parfait exemple. On trouvait trois modèles, l'énorme 40 CV, une 18/24 CV et une 15 CV. Renault disait de son très raffiné six cylindres qu'il était exempt de vibrations et chaque modèle bénéficiait de freins assistés par servo aux quatre roues, les transmissions étant présentées comme « simples, mais robustes ». Dans les publicités d'époque en France, elles étaient qualifiées de « six cylindres de luxe » et, jouant sur l'antécédents aéronautiques, on rappelait aux clients que:

« Depuis l'origine du moteur d'aviation, Renault s'est consacré aux fabrications de haute précision ».

Bien sûr le marché du luxe débordait largement les frontières du continent et en Amérique, des publicités dans le magazine New Yorker présentaient la Renault de luxe comme « Une automobile française qui reprend dans sa technicité un brillant héritage artistique et culturel – expression de la civilisation française du XXe siècle. »

Le fameux capot « alligator » Renault qui remontait aux origines de la marque ne fut jamais mieux approprié que pendant la vogue Art-déco du milieu des années 1920. Il était à la fois d'avant-garde, intrinsèquement aérodynamique et tout à fait original. À cette époque, le radiateur d'auvent pouvait être intégré dans les volumes de la voiture et permettait aux carrossiers de réaliser des lignes d'une grande pureté, le seul indice de la présence du radiateur étant les jalousies sur les côtés du compartiment moteur. Dans ce cas particulier, le mariage de la mécanique et de la technique est parfaitement réussi et marquant. Comme le disait la publicité Renault, la voiture semblait en mouvement, même à l'arrêt ou semblait sortir de la page.

Il semblerait que la voiture soit de 1927, de toute façon après 1925, puisque c'est à cette date que la marque adopta le losange comme emblème à l'avant des voitures. Elle fut achetée par Charles H. Brown en 1997 et son dossier historique remonte à l'immédiat après-guerre, lorsqu'elle appartenait à la commune d'Izeaux, dans le sud de la France, en 1951. Elle passa ensuite aux mains de Jacques Vincent de Vidauban, auquel le Dr Gérald Rolph, grand aficionado de l'automobile, l'acheta en 1969. Rolph l'envoya par bateau à son domicile de Fort Worth aux États-Unis où elle resta jusqu'en 1997. Elle figura en couverture du numéro de mai/juin 1974 d'Antique Automobile Magazine et fut exposée au Briggs Cunningham Museum de Costa Mesa, en Californie, pendant quelle était en sa possession. À un certain moment, sa carrosserie ayant été de longue date attribuée à Kellner, on lui appliqua la plaque de carrossier qu'elle porte aujourd'hui et, alors qu'elle était d'un bleu de France léger, fut repeinte en gris. La voiture fut vendue à Charles H. Brown par Robert Pass.

On peut facilement comprendre que Charles Brown, architecte de profession, ait été séduit par la voiture, par ses lignes imposantes, comme par la qualité des détails qui abondent dans la voiture. Le losange fièrement apposé sur le capot est repris à divers emplacements sur la voiture, jusque sur les charnières de portes intérieures aux formes complexes. Une fois assis à la place du conducteur, on est entouré de lourdes plaques de plancher en fonte d'aluminium et par diverses manettes, le frein à main rappelant un manche à balai d'avion, et dans les moindres détails de construction, la qualité saute aux yeux. Sous le capot, on trouve l'imposant six cylindres qui est un plaisir pour les yeux et s'allonge jusqu'à l'auvent d'habitacle. L'aspect visuel est complété par les gros phares Marchal Bullseye et les deux roues de secours montées sur le côté, le tout donnant une voiture particulièrement impressionnante.

Après que la voiture a été achetée par M. Brown, elle a été confiée à Alan Hancock au Royaume-Uni pour qu'il la remette en marche pour circuler et elle a depuis été entretenue pour pouvoir reprendre la route avec un MoT valable jusqu'en 2011. La voiture fut peu utilisée par M. Brown, mais elle fut exposée par lui en 1999 au concours d'élégance Louis Vuitton-Automobiles Classiques à Bagatelle, à Paris. Remarquable pièce de design Art-déco, témoin de la qualité d'un constructeur et d'un carrossier, cette Renault magnifique provoquera à coup sûr un attroupement partout où elle passera.

Ex-Dr. Gerald Rolph, formerly exhibited at the Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum
1927 Renault Six Cylinder Dual Cowl Torpedo
Coachwork attributed to Kellner
Chassis No. 116
Engine No. 93A

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 - and in 1908 introduced its first six-cylinder model despite Louis Renault's aversion to such complication. Renault built tanks, trucks and aero engines during The Great War and it was not until the 1919 Paris Salon that the firm exhibited its first new passenger cars.

Through the 1920s, the company offered a range of products, topped by its luxury six cylinder models of which this is an example. There were three models offered, the massive 40 CV, an 18/24CV, and a 15CV. The refined six cylinder engine was said by Renault to be without any vibration, all models benefited from servo-assisted four wheel brakes and the transmissions were described as 'simple, but robust'. In contemporary advertising here in France, they were marketed as 'Les 6 cylindres de luxe' – and playing strongly on the quality of their aviation origins, they reminded customers that 'since the beginnings of their aviation engines they were dedicated to high precision engineering.'

- for French translator the original is – "Depuis l'origine du moteur d'avaition. Renault s'est consacre aux fabrications de haute precision".

Naturally the market for luxury cars reached beyond the continent and in America, advertising in The New Yorker magazine, the luxury Renault was marketed as 'A French Car that interprets in mechanical terms, a brilliant heritage of art and culture – A Twentieth Century expression of the French Civilisation'.

Renault's distinctive 'coal scuttle' bonnet design, which was present from the very earliest days of the company's production, never looked more in vogue that in the Art Deco time of the 'Roaring Twenties'. It was at once avant garde, aerodynamic by definition and completely individual. By this stage, the scuttle mounted radiator was able to be blended into the overall styling of the car and allowed an almost exclusive purity of line for coachbuilders, its only tell tale being louvres on the side of the body. In this particular case, the marriage of car and coachwork is very successful and incredibly striking. Rather like the contemporary Renault advertisements, the car has the sensation of being on the move standing still, or literally leaping off the page.

The car is thought to date from 1927, it is certainly later than 1925 as that was the year that the company adopted the diamond shaped badge for the front of their cars. It was acquired by Charles H. Brown in 1997 and correspondence on file establishes its history going back to the immediate post war period, when it is understood to have belonged to the Commune d'Izeaux in southern France in 1951. The car later passed to Jacques Vincent of Vidauban, from whom it was purchased by noted car aficionado Dr. Gerald Rolph in 1969. It was subsequently shipped by Rolph to his Ft. Worth home, and remained in the U.S.A. until 1997. During the Rolph ownership the car was featured on the cover of the May/June 1974 issue of Antique Automobile Magazine, and later was exhibited in the Briggs Cunningham Museum in Costa Mesa, California. At some point in this era, the car having long been thought to have been bodied by Kellner received the coachbuilder plates that it wears to this day, and was repainted from a light French blue to the current grey. The car was sold by Robert Pass to Charles H. Brown.

It is easy to see how Charles Brown was attracted to the car, an architect by profession he would certainly have appreciated its imposing lines as well as the finer details which are found throughout the car. The bodywork is a tour de force with dual cowls, vee screens front and rear and wood decking tapering from ahead of the front screen to the back of the car. The diamond of the Renault badge so proudly presented on its bonnet is continued in various places on the car, even down to the intricate internal door hinges. Once seated in the driving compartment, one is surrounded by heavy aluminium cast floor board coverings and precise controls, the handbrake lever resembling an aircraft control, in every aspect the quality of build is self evident. Beneath the huge bonnet, is the imposing 6 cylinder engine, which is itself a joy to the eye and stretches back to the bulkhead. The visual presentation is completed with huge Marchal Bullseye Headlamps, and twin side mounted spares, all in all it is a most impressive automobile.

After Mr. Brown acquired the car, it was entrusted to Alan Hancock in the U.K. to re-commission and put it back into roadworthy order and it has remained ready for road use being MoT'd until 2011. The Renault was used infrequently by Mr. Brown, but was shown on occasion and in 1999 it was exhibited by him at the Louis Vuitton Classic at The Bagatelle here in Paris. A stunning piece of Art Deco design, and a fine pairing of both quality car manufacturer and coachbuilder, this exquisite Renault is certain to make an impression wherever it is seen.

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