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1899 Renault Type B

1899 Renault Type B

1899 Renault Type B

Just a few months after launching his 1st car, the Voiturette Type A, Louis Renault was already thinking about the future. In 1899, he endowed his 1st car with a roof, thus developing the vehicle today considered as the world’s 1st saloon.

Keep the elements out

Louis Renault’s first vehicle was a great success but instinct told him to lose no time in making further progress.

At that time, only a few thousand vehicles were on the road in Paris, but everybody was fascinated by cars. Crowds flocked to the 1st Paris Motor Show, held at the Tuileries in 1989. Many talented craftsmen and inventors were hard at work in their workshops. It was clear that competition was going to be fierce.

For his 1st car, Renault placed the emphasis on robust design. For the Voiturette Type B, the key note was comfort.

Renault joined forces with a brilliant body designer, Labourdette, who drew the elegant cabin. Even though the chassis was the same as on the Voiturette Type A, the car looked completely different. Sheltered from the elements, the driver and passenger could drive their vehicle all year round, without worrying about the cold or the rain.

It took just a few months to create the Type B from the Type A. Yet a decisive step had been made. Passenger comfort became a factor that all manufacturers had to take into consideration. The concept of the “liveable car” was born.

Faster, faster!

Although, the Voiturette Type B differed little from its big sister from a technical standpoint, it was nevertheless more powerful. Engine displacement increased from 273 cc to 450 cc. Horsepower increased from 1¾ CV to 2¾ CV! The suspension was also improved and the car boasted a top speed of 35 kph.

Like the Type A, the Type B won several motorsports trophies in 1899 and 1900.

Story by Renault S.A.


In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
built at France
engine Single Cylinder
displacement 450 cc / 27.46 in³
power 2.1 kw / 2.75 bhp
specific output 6.11 bhp per litre
top speed ~35 kph / 21.73 mph