The vintage Renaults

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Sir,

I feel I must write to you again, this time about the article on page 574 in your July issue about Renaults.

It seems that little has been said about the 2-litre 75 x 120 engine which was used for a great many years, in particular on the KZ. A relative of mine is the proud owner of one of the thousands of Parisian taxis of that type (painted red and black) of the late ‘twenties.

There were thousands of Renault 11 c.v. with the 75 x120 engine in the French army in World War I. They gave excellent service. I was a motor-cycle despatch courier at the time (Triumphs and B.S.A.s exclusively) but had occasion to drive the Renault many times after the Armistice. It was fairly fast and went like a locomotive.

In World War II, I had occasion to admire the very same engine at work on 15-cwt. small lorries, fed on charcoal gas—they hauled incredible loads, mostly in 1st gear, for month after month, using “recuperated” oil.

I must add that I never liked the vintage production of Renault (including the 8-cylinder Reinastella). My father had a 1933 Monaquadre that I particularly hated: heavy, sluggish, rough suspension, and abominable brakes, the latter being characteristic of the marque at the time. The 1916 model at least had a brake on the transmission that you could rely upon . . when you got the hang of it. Of course, the 1916 engine had bronze valve caps which were later discarded in favour of the detachable head (circa 1928).

Regarding the caption with your photo: I had occasion to see a good many Vivastellas fitted with perforated wheels. I don’t know why, but I suppose they were the latest fashion for some time.

Blessac, France.
J. Jorrand.