1909 Renault echoes era of Downton Abbey

Type AZ 12/16hp Landaulette with Lucas of London coachwork going to auction

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1909 Renault
1909 Type AZ 12/16hp Landaulette with Lucas of London coachwork | H&H Classics photos

Ever wonder what automotive luxury was like more than a century ago? H&H Classics offers an example at its upcoming July 22 auction in England in the form of a 1909 Renault Type AZ 12/16hp Laundaulette, with such French finery surrounded in coachwork by Lucas of London.

The car is coming out of an estate and originally was owned, the auction house says, by a descendant of the Duke of Wellington. 

“Wonderfully detailed from its engraved hubcaps and Rotax ‘Mangin Lens Mirror’ headlamps to its luxurious rear cabin, this Landaulette started readily and ran well during the recent H&H Classics photography session,” the auction company said. 

“It has had a recent thorough engine overhaul by veteran & vintage specialists Henal Engineering Ltd of East Sussex.”

The auction house also notes that the car has been uprated with an electric starter and Zenith carburetor.

“These days we think of Renault as a maker of a range of modest cars but a century ago they produced everything from taxis to tractors,” H&H Classics adds. “Launched in 1898 the marque had by 1912 established itself as one of the pre-eminent European car manufacturers. The 12/16 model, introduced in 1909, was one of Renault’s more luxurious offerings and was bodied by various independent coachbuilders, the practice at the time.”

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Frederick William Lucas established his carriage-building company on Oxford Street, North Audley Street and Brixton Hill. In the Renault, the driver and a front-seat passenger sit under a fixed wood roof while others ride on “sumptuous brocade-trimmed upholstery” inside a compartment that features a convertible soft-top and drop-down side windows.

While the coachwork is original, H&H Reports that the car was repainted in green and yellow after returning to the UK in 1990 after spending time in the United States.  

H&H Classics expects the car to sell for £45,000 to £50,000 ($56,700 to $63,000).

For more information, visit the H&H Classics website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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