1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater  Chassis no. AX 14553 Engine no. 3960

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Lot 163
1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater
Registration no. CX-35 Chassis no. AX 14553 Engine no. 3960

Sold for £ 27,600 (US$ 36,930) inc. premium
1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater
Coachwork by Rippon, Huddersfield

Registration no. CX-35
Chassis no. AX 14553
Engine no. 3960
This was George Milligen’s first “collector” car, acquired in Sandell’s scrapyard at Worsted, North Walsham, Norfolk, for £12 10s in 1939. He had, he recalled later, no intention of starting a collection; it seems as though he bought the little car on impulse. It must have looked a sorry sight, for the upholstery had rotted away and there was no hood, though the hood frame had survived. Amazingly, however, the Renault still retained its lamps and was substantially original, apart from the petrol tank having been relocated to the dashboard, the original position under the seat presumably having proved unsatisfactory for a previous owner living in a hilly district.

It had, too, what Milligen described as “a nice body”, built by the oldest coachmakers of all, Rippon of Huddersfield, a company which had built “the first coach in England” for the Earl of Rutland as early as 1555 and produced its first car body in 1905 on a twin-cylinder Rolls-Royce chassis.

Though the precise early history of this car is unknown, it left the Renault factory at Billancourt on 9 January 1909 and was delivered to Renault’s London works in Seagrave Road (at a shipping cost of £5) on 18 January. There is then a gap in the records until 1921, when it was registered to Robert Moorhead Beatty of Heckmondwike, Yorkshire on 13 January. In 1928 it became the property of the Reverend L.A.Gilbert of Hinderclay Rectory, near Diss in Suffolk, passing in March 1938 to Mr H.Berry of North Walsham in Norfolk. However, the Reverend Gilbert told George Milligen that the Renault had been out of commission since 1931, and Mr Berry apparently never licensed it.
George Milligen had the Renault restored to “as new” condition in 1953, with the body and upholstery being entrusted to Mann Egerton, a company well-steeped in coachbuilding, having built its first motor body in 1901.

It proved a wise investment. Over the years, George Milligen covered an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 miles with this car with utter reliability – “I’ve never had a breakdown; never had a stop,” he recalled. Such dependability was Renault’s aim in creating the Type AX, which made its debut in 1908 and earned its place in history when Paris’s fleet of Renault AX taxis was commandeered in September 1914 by General Gallieni to rush troops to the front line and repel the German attack on Paris.

Commented the magazine Omnia on the model’s launch: “The house of Renault set itself the task of creating an utility model, that’s to say a modestly priced vehicle, easy and economical to maintain and well able to resist hard use… The engine has two cylinders. The firm chose it because of its flexibility, its economy and its reliability… It’s by the general simplification of all the working parts, and by the use of high strength materials, that the manufacturer has managed to attain its goal because the lightness that results from these qualities has allowed it to use a low-powered engine that gives a sufficiently high speed and avoids the too frequent use of the gearbox. Hence economy of fuel, of tyres and of mechanism."
1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater  Chassis no. AX 14553 Engine no. 3960
1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater  Chassis no. AX 14553 Engine no. 3960
1909 Renault 8 hp Type AX Two-seater  Chassis no. AX 14553 Engine no. 3960
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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