The Renault 8 CV Type AG was born in 1905. It was a costly vehicle, reserved for a tiny fraction of the French population. Production costs were extremely high, and the idea of making cars available to the masses was still a far-distant dream. Renault vehicles were assembled on a small scale by 800 workers at the 22,000-m² plant in Boulogne-Billancourt.
The high price can also be explained by the vehicle’s many new features. The Type AG was the 1st vehicle concept to be patented by Renault to protect, for example, the original architecture. The Type AG was designed to strict specifications, placing the emphasis on simple, robust design. Right from the start, the aim was to develop a functional car.
Out to conquer Paris… and the world!
Simplicity and strength were the guidelines that determined the design of the type AG and helped the model to clinch the 1st contract for taxis, which were still known as hackney carriages, with the Société des Automobiles de Place.
By 1905, some 250 vehicles were in use in Paris, followed by 1,000 in 1906 and 1,500 two years later. This success, which was very important for the Billancourt-based company, extended beyond the borders of France. In 1907, Renault began deliveries of 1,100 Type AG models to London.
The “Marne Taxis”
But it was in 1914 that the little red taxis with their 67 registration really earned their place in history. The German army was advancing on Paris and the military governor of the city, General Gallieni, requisitioned the local taxis to carry troops to the front.
1,300 of these cars carried the 6,000 French troops who won the Battle of the Marne. This episode resulted in the Type AG becoming known as the Taxi of the Marne. With the 1st light assault tank, the FT17, Louis Renault was also closely involved in the war effort.