Why not Renault?

Last month’s Editorial was devoted to Renault’s return to Grand Prix racing and their interest in other forms of competition motoring. In the course of it we referred back to a “Sideslips” article “Baladeur” wrote for us in 1953, in which he gave his choice of cars he would have bought down thy years, had he been a millionaire, the point being that the wealthy then invested in motor cars that did well in racing. But having praised Renault for winning the 1906 GP, we gave “Baladeur’s” choice of cars for the years 1905-1914 as Itala and Fiat. In fact, in the greater detail of his article, in the March 1953 issue of Motor Sport, our erudite contributor went also for Isotta-Fraschini, Austro-Daimler and the Rolls-Royce Alpine Eagle Silver Ghost. (He dealt with his post-war choice in the next issue and I am glad to see it included the Leyland Eight.) But why not Renault in 1906/7, especially as “Baladeur” was well aware of the make’s successes in voiturette racing and of Szisz’s great victory in the 1906 French Grand Prix? Simply because he felt that, as with Richard-Brasier in 1905, Renault had no Production models to tempt a choosy millionaire. (Perhaps like another wealthy man, he should have bought the winning car?) All of which shows how a sporting image can be the means of selling catalogue cars if these have the right qualities. Which is why we think the Renault 17TS, referred to in some detail last month, is going in a small degree the right way for Renault. In 1906 Renault made elegant carriages, but these were of no interest to “Baladeur”, who eschewed six-cylinder Napiers for the same reason and who saw his ideal cars as “painted white, with scarlet upholstery”, in those pre-1914 years.—W.B.