Chassis Num: 139416
Engine Num: C914NF254
Sold for $374,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company
Sold for $264,000 at 2014 RM Auctions
The French automaker Renault was formed in 1898. It was one of the first marques to begin racing. Their early cars were instantly recognized for their 'coal scuttle' hoods, which was a design to accommodate the radiator being mounted behind the engine, rather than in front of it. Most of the cars produced by Renault during their early years were small, low-horsepower vehicles that were ideal for thrifty buyers and narrow European streets. Wealthy customers who were seeking something different, could purchase the Model 45, which the factory referred to as the 'Big Six.'
The Model 45 Renault had a six-cylinder engine that measured 9.1 liters. They had a four-speed manual gearbox and 4-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. The Renault Company, formed in late December of 1898, had become a solid, prosperous, and leading manufacturer by the mid-1920s. They had introduced such innovations as front wheel brakes and detachable headers.
The Model 45 was the largest production automobile built until the introduction of Ettore Bugatti's Type 41 La Royale. The nine-liter engine produced 140 horsepower, on a chassis that measured nearly 150 inches between axles. When the Model 45 was given lightweight coachwork, they could achieve speeds of nearly 100 mph. The company put extensive attention into making these large automobiles not only fast but also easy to drive, and four-wheel servo-assisted brakes were added to bring the machines to a stop.
Due to the car's great cost and custom-built nature, only a very few were produced.
The early history of this example is not fully known. It is an original, open, four-passenger tourer coachwork by Parisian coachbuilder Manessius, but the builder's identity has never been conclusively confirmed. The earliest history begins with Robert Morgan of Wyckoff, New Jersey. Later, the Model 45 had entered the collection of Pacific Auto Rentals, a company that supplied Hollywood studios with cars for films. At least one other Model 45 was known to reside in the collection of Pacific Auto Rentals.
By the late 1970s or early 1980s, the car was in the care of Laguine of Pasadena, California. In January of 1984, the car was sold to J.B. Nethercutt. Mr. Nethercutt immediately treated the car to a restoration and then used on several tours. During the past twenty-five years, the car has been a museum piece and has been used sparingly. The static lifestyle has caused its nine-liter engine to freeze.
The open coachwork is believed to have been done by the Parisian firm Manessius. Several Renaults received their coachwork, as were other makes such as Rolls-Royce and Delage.
The car currently rides on wooden artillery wheels and center-locking hubs. There are dual-side mount spares, Phare Besnard headlamps, Marchal taillamps, tubular bumpers and four-wheel brakes. Inside, there is an intricately-detailed dashboard, and complete with Jaeger and Nivex instruments. The rear compartment features a wood-trimmed divider with jump seats.
In 2010, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Pebble Beach Auction presented by Gooding & Company. The car was estimated to sell for $200,000 - $300,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $374,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.
Fewer than six survivors are known, and the majority of which reside in museums.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014