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Despite pleading with other Renault "enthusiasts" around the globe, no one has been able to come up with copies of factory drawings or even one mobile telephone photograph of what the original engine mounts for both front and rear of the Renault motor looked like.

By hanging the motor over the frame from my chain hoist, I could move it back and forth until it was somewhere near the best position for things like the clutch shaft etc to work. As you can see by going back a page or two you will understand that quite a few parts are/were missing and will have to be fabricated as the work progresses. 

Drawings or no drawings I am slowly but surely using up my stock of scrap angle iron. They may not be exactly as Louis Renault would have done them but the rear engine mounts are gradually taking shape. I am quietly confident that the engine will not fall out onto the garage floor. The good thing is that once the splash pans/cooling ducts are in place no one will see them, except perhaps the victim of a traffic accident who may end up underneath the car.

 

My friends on the Renault d'Avant Guerre Forum do not like me drawing comparisons but the difference between the information, parts and support available for the Lagonda Rapier with slightly less than 400 cars total production and the Renault with production figures approaching 100,000 is quite remarkable. Given the choice I would restore a dozen Rapiers to just one Renault and probably finish the Rapiers first.

Not only that but the Rapier has a sophisticated 2 OHC engine and the Renault has a primitive (by comparison) side valve. If I had had any idea of what a pain in the Ass the Renault was to be I would have never started.

 

Bj.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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Having almost completed the right side rear mount, today it was simply a matter of building a mirror image for the left side. Working completely on my own and without drawings or any pre-existing parts it was simply a matter of using my imagination virtually desiging the structure in my head. This is something I have done over probably 50 years of rebuilding cars from a collection of loosely related bits. Having said that I think that this Renault has been the greatest challenge yet. I would love to be able to walk away from it but something compells me to keep going.

If I make any mistakes I have no one to blame but myself. The one good thing about working in my miniscule "office" there is only room for one person and no one to tell me what I "should" be doing.

 

Bj.

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A tiny step forward with tires fitted to four wheels I will now be able to lower the chassis from the two saw-horses it has been sitting on for the last six months. I can also fit Depanoto's 'Enjoliveurs', French for hub caps but a much more descriptive word.

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Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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Hello Roger

Of course you are correct. The'Enjoliveurs' were simply fitted for the benefit of the photograph. The other recent discovery was a pair of head lamps found by a friend and fellow Light Car enthusiast in the UK. These come with the extremely rare original  factory glasses complete with the Renault logo. It is highly unlikely that there would be any more than five or six pair of these almost 90 year old glasses surviving anywhere.

Once I have the chassis down on its wheels, I can move it making life/progress so much easier.  With the engine with my friends at Crankshaft Rebuilders, I can think about making a start on the body frame.

 

Bj.

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Despite being painfully slow, progress is taking place. The spare cylinder block etc is actually being supported by my engine mounts. These were totally non existant at the start of the rebuild. Wheels have (as) new tyres fitted.  Once I sort out the mounting points for the rear mounted radiator(s) and install the rear axle assembly, I can start to think about the body frame etc. While the engine is still some way off there is nothing I can do but be patient.

 

Bj.

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Hello John

My aim is to have it standing on four wheels then I can make a start on the body frame but first a trial assembly of the two side mounted radiators and bulkhead. This is essential to establish the location of the bulkhead. One of my problems is that when I bought the Renault it was a collection of bits that had never before been together as a car. Something that the vendor ommitted to tell me and that I have been discovering the hard way.

 

Bj.

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Having gone so far only to strike problem after problem I have decided to put the mechanical re-build on hold to concentrate on building the body and the cosmetics (trim, chrome, paint etc.) Then I can come back and perhaps tackle the motor and gear box with re-newed vigour. I feel that I could easily become totaly bogged down and spend a couple of years chasing my tail and still be getting nowhere. A wise man once said;- A change is as good as a holiday. Or as somebody else said to Mary Mary of "little lamb fame" "Leave them alone and they will come home".

 

If you understand all that you are doing well!

 

Bj.

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Having left the little lambs to come home alone, draging their tails behind them, I have made a start on the body frame, no photographs just yet as so far I just have a pile of bits but progress is being made. The body is to be based on the Labourdette "skiff tail roadsters". As the chassis is 1927-9 Monasix it has a slightly longer wheelbase. The standard factory offering was usually either a four door saloon or four/five  seater tourer, my version of the Labourdette body will be a 2-4 seater. I really do not like the "hole in the tail" Labourdette version but you will have to wait patiently until I have it all sorted out. I believe that my version will have a more balanced look. I think that this one is just a bit too "bob tailed".

One thing is certain, my car will not be Red and black as this one but the traditional Renault "Paris Taxi" two-tone, green over green with either dark green or "London Tan" trim.

 

Bj.

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Even thinking about paint and trim colours could be classified as the absolute in optimisim. With my 79th birthday looming ever closer the possibility of my ever living long enough to complete this restoration/rebuild seems to be disappearing faster than I can imagine.

 

Bj.

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Hello Ben

You may be right but to be on the safe side I have decided to do a 
"Museum standard" restoration. i.e. All for the show and none for the go!

Just like so many IMPORTANT "restored" cars that come up for sale.

That should save me months if not years in time and thousands in dollars.

 

As the pile of bits that I bought has never been together as the one car before perhaps i can also claim "ONE OWNER"?

 

Watch this space............. This one is going to be truly a car for the dedicated collector!

 

BJ.

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Work on the body (frame) is progressing or perhaps more correctly the pile of off cuts in increasing. No photographs for the time being. There simply is not room in my "garage" to be able to take any meaningful photos. Rather than following a set of drawings I tend solely to rely on my creative ability and allow the design to progress as each obstacle is encounted  and  overcome. Each problem solved. Not a technique I would recomend to others but it suits both my situation and ability. Others have commented that my bodies are created rather like a sculptor chipping away at a block of stone.

 

Bj

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Bernie, you must be having fun. You are hard at work almost every day. Going to be great to see the results of your effort. Even the first puff of smoke from the engine will be great. Keep at it. Enjoy your posts.

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Hello John 

Good to hear from you again.

 

I probably try to put in some work most days. In actual fact about four or five days per week depending on what else comes up. I am not good at socialising and enjoy my own company and would sooner put in a couple of hours working on either my current project or the Lagonda Rapier than making small talk and idle chat having "coffee and cakes" with people who have lost the keys to their workshop, very often years & years ago. Sadly for many they no longer care......

 

I find the best start for the day is to wake up each morning. Something I try to do on a regular basis! It is all very well to have a dream but if you do nothing to acheive it, it is simply not going to happen. You really do have to put some effort into getting out of bed before mid-day.

Apart from anything else I find it essential that I do the work on my project cars myself, my hand shakes too badly to be able to keep on signing cheques! Either way, why pay other people to have all the fun?

 

Some may say that I am an "obsessive compulsive", I prefer to think of myself as an "enthusiast".

 

Bernie j.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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While just one or two old friends feel compelled to post their comments, I continue to add little bits of information as much as anything because I find this a convenient way to keep a restoration diary. I just hope that I am not boring to many of you. As earlier indicated I have put the mechanical rebuild on the back burner but I am making some real progress with the body. I should have the frame ready to send to Aaron so he can make a start on the skin.

 

Bj.

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Bernie, I can't speak for everyone else - but you are definitely not boring me! This is the first place I go on the AACA forum each day to check for your posts. Keep them coming please.

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Bernie;

You are definately not boring us!! Or at least not me. You serve as an inspiration to those who are restoring or attempting to restore vehicles that are not as common as many and do not have the information out there to use as a guide. Personally I am trying just to gather information on my next restoration a 1950 Crosley Super Hotshot. Probably only about 100 made (no information on that either). There are 10 or so that I can doccument and none of them are done correct to original that I have found. Even so, I have a much easier time of it than you do. Thank you for continuing to work to restore the unique and unusual and not letting anything discourage you along the way. Every time I meet another obstacle that keeps me from moving on to my next step, I will be saying....At least i have it better than Bernie!!!

Dave

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Thank you all for restoring my faith in the AACA Forum. 

 

Dave 

I know by American standards the Crosleys are tiny cars but have room to store a full "Baker's Dozen" is to me quite remarkable.

It is interesting to note that a friend of our second son has a 3/4 Midget powered by a Crosley engine. Sorry but I cannot tell you much more other that he has never driven it. Being quite a large person he cannot fit into it.

 

On the Renault front.

Work continues on the body frame, I have just yesterday afternoon actually managed to roll the chassis complete with frame and with the assistance of a trolley jack, out onto the drive  so I could turn it around and put back into my "work-place" nose first. I can now finish off the rear section.

I now have to order some steel so I can make a start on the seat frames. These will be an adaption of my "usual" front seats. The passenger side one having provision for a folding back to allow access to the rear compartment. I have been using the same design principles for seats in  my "specials" for as long as I can remember but having said that each pair require some variation to suit the particular application. 

 

Back to work!

 

Bj.

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Hi John

The body frame is 99% completed but still under wraps. I can tell you it will be a two seater with a skiff (boat) tail. It will have a door on the passenger side and the spare wheel mounted under the drivers elbow. It will be painted traditional late 1920s Renault "Paris Taxi" two tone green. I have a more or less complete dash with French (metric) instruments. It will have a Vee windscreen "London Tan" upholstery unles I can find some suitably "French" period tapestry (Cloth) for the seats. Tonneau cover will be beige "Salt & Pepper" cloth. 

Renault supplied virtually all the cars for Taxis in Paris making a purpose built variation on the Monasix chassis.

 

Bernie j.

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Funny how little things keep popping up to stymie my thoughts. I had more or less decided that a Vee windscreen would be "just right" when I remembered that the petrol filler cap lives under a pop-up vent in the center of the scuttle. So it is back to the drawing board. Looking for a solution for mounting a fold flat full width screen, the answer to this may have been under my nose all the time, in the form of the original ex saloon (top hinged) screen.

Only time will tell.

Bj.

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The "professionals" working in spacious fully equipped workshops may find it hard to believe that I spent the best part of yesterday getting the (only) door in the Renaults new body fitting correctly with the gaps properly matching. Slowly but surely the frame is reaching completion with only things such as the spare wheel (side) mounting point to be completed. Next step will be to order the alunimiun sheet but I do not want to do that until I am ready to start on the panels. They are big sheets 1200mm X 3600 mm X 1.6mm and difficult to handle on my own and can easily be damaged. They will have to be stored in the carport standing on their edge next to the Lagonda so a certain amount of care is required.

Just spare a thought, it is now mid-winter in Australia and I am working for the most part in a single car garage with the door open or out in the open when more space is needed. When It rains too heavily I have water running in under the back door and out the front.

I could work in the carport but I would then have to move the Lagonda and Helen's VW out. My trusty Peugeot lives out in the open 24/7.

 

Bj.

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Further to the above I have just ordered another 2 lengths (12 metres, 38 ft) of steel tube to become the frames for the two seats. Like almost everything else in this car they will be constructed from the ground up without the aid of anything but imagination aided initially by my well used copy of the Lagonda Rapier Coach builder's Dimensions.

 

Bj.

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Finally the penny has dropped. Up until now I had been miss-reading the statistics given on the Renault d'Avant Guerre forum site. I now understand that not only was 1929 the last year of production of Renaults with the Radiator "behind" the engine but of those made, the French "Club" can only identify 11 survivors of my RY1, 1929 model. If and when I complete my restoration this will increase that number by almost 10% to make an even dozen. I wonder if any made it to the USA and if any have survived. For some obscure reason the bulk of these cars, made in France for the "home" market were built as Right Hand Drive.

 

Bj.

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Pat, you probably mean "on the left back then"? As far as I know, in Europe, only Sweden and England are/were driving on the "wrong side". Sweden went to drive on the right side of the road some years ago. There are of course other countries, like Japan with the drive on the left side of the road.

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This was a regular practice for French manufacturers and also Italian ones. There was a reason behind it, but I don't know it.

It was a mark of prestige, you never see any Bugatti's or Delages with LHD. And by the way, driving on the right is the "wrong side". Back in the horse riding days, everybody rode on the left so as to be able to draw your sword with your right hand. Napoleon we have to blame for all this driving on the right nonsense, as he decreed that all persons will now ride on the right to help foster a less agreesive and more peaceful times.

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Many of the European prestige/sporting marques retained a RHD option well into the 1970-80s! In particular Lancia. Their justification was that it was safer for drivers to be near the edge  where they could see the road particularly on Alpine Roads where there were no barriers (armco) to prevent them falling off. We have driven on some of these roads in the Italian Tyrol where the only edge marking was the tape for the "electric fence" to stop the cows and goats from straying onto the road. Even then in some places the goats would have needed to clamber up an almost sheer rock-face to reach the road.  Exciting motoring especially in the 1934 Lagonda Rapier, I just hope that I can manage one more trip but I need to finish the Renault first. The steel tube for the seat frames arrived today another step in the right direction.

 

Bj.

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The tube for the seat bases is now all cut up and the first one 85% welded up. With luck tomorrow should see both seat frames well on the way to completion. One thing in my favour, with cool days (under 10 degrees Centigrade) it is ideal for welding. Far more healthy than stuffy air conditioning or central heating. Anyway with the garage front door wide open all the heat would escape.

 

Bj.

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Tricky things these Renault individual folding front seats. The frames are progressing but far more slowly than I would like. Quite unbelievably the two seat frames have consumed 6 metres of 22 mmm square thube for the bases and another 6 metres of 16mm square tube for the back rests. Don't even ask how many 100mm cut-off blades for my angle grinder or how many lengths of welding wire. I am sufficiently stuck in the mud to still be using oxy- acetelyne for all my light gauge welding. One day I will start with a car that has absolutely everything, No impossible parts to find and all the body, trim etc, etc existing. But then how boring would that be? No fun at all!

 

All good things however must come to an end. I believe that I can see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. That is the tunnel with the seat frames at the end. There are still months if not years of things that are not yet even on the horizon.

 

I have just placed the order for two huge (1200 X 3600 X 1.6mm)  sheets of aluminium for the body panels. Don't go away, I may need your help!

 

 

Bj.

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Just to give you some idea of size the attached photograph shows the two sheets of aluminium standing against the carport wall next to the Lagonda Rapier. For the people who struggle with metric sizes the sheets are 4'0" ft X 11'10"ft. I am not sure of their weight but the combination of size and weight make them an awkward lift for one person so the sooner I can start to cut them up the better. Cutting them up by hand should give my hand and wrist muscles a work-out. First task is to make some heavy brown paper patterns to suit the frame. Temperature in the carport this morning is just under 5 degrees Centigrade. At least it is not raining.

 

Bj.

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