In December of 1898, the Renault Company was formed by Louis Renault. Though virtually illiterate, Louis Renault was a natural genius for all things mechanical. His first major invention was a direct drive transmission, which he fitted, along with a Panhard engine, to a de Dion tricycle. The vehicle was able to climb the steps of a prominent build and complete a circuit of several blocks. His amazed passenger promptly purchased the machine, and that night he received a dozen orders, most with healthy deposits.
Unfortunately, he had no tools, no factory, and no money. His two older brothers offered to back him financial, and Renault Freres was formed. Within six months, more than 60 vehicles had been sold. Renault's genius resulted in many patents, rapid development and improvement of his automobiles and astonishing growth for the new company.
Carrosserie Kellner Georges Kellner founded the Kellner Company in 1861 with the purpose of catering to the carriage trade. With the introduction of the automobile at the turn of the century, Kellner made the transition to automobile bodies. The company's first automobile bodies were delivered in 1903. Seven years later, in 1910, Georges Sr. retired, leaving the company in the hands of his two sons, Paul and Georges Kellner, Jr., who is widely credited with the invention of the 'torpedo' style. Ten years later, in 1919, Georges Jr. Purchased Paul's shares and became the sole proprietor.
The company catered to the top of the market, earning a reputation as a leading chassis builder of their era. As the volume of coachbuilding work declined throughout the 1930s, the company transitioned to manufacturing aircraft parts.
Georges Jr. passed away in 1931, leaving the company to his son Jacques, who had studied engineering and law. In 1942, at just 44 years of age, he was accused by the German occupying forces of being a reluctant collaborator, and on the 21st of March 1942 they shot and killed him. The firm was liquidated, and the long line of the most prestigious Carrosserie Kellner came to an end.
The Type JP Renault 40CV
The Type JP was the largest and most impressive automobile ever manufactured by Renault. It had a wheelbase that measured over 12 feet and it carried impressive custom coachwork. One example was purchased for the President of France. Many other examples were used by both business and government leaders of France.
In modern times, there are only four or five examples known to exist, and most are in the care of the world's top automotive collection.
This example is powered by a 9.1 liter six-cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed manual transmission. There are servo-assisted drum brakes and a semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension. Its large, elegant, and stately body is the work of Carrosserie Kellner.
In 2011, the car was offered for sale in Monterey, Ca. presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $350,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $220,000, including buyer's premium.