Tag Archives: 40CV

Presidential Speed King – Renault 40CV NM Montlhéry Coupé

The Renault 40CV was launched in 1911 powered by a 7.6 litre / 460 cui straight six and could be ordered with either an 3.6m / 11′ 9″ or 3.9m / 12′ 9″ chassis.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Jean-Louis Pichafroy, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

With the introduction of the 40CV Type HF in August 1920 the engine was upgraded to a 9.1-litre 9,120 cc / 557 cui straight six.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Jean-Louis Pichafroy, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

From 1920 to 1928 the Renault 40CV replaced the Panhard 20CV as the French Presidential vehicle of choice.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Jean-Louis Pichafroy, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

François Repusseau drove a 40CV to victory in the 1925 Monte Carlo Rally and the following year a vehicle similar to today’s featured 40CV MN was modified and fitted with a single seat Coupé body and taken to the Montlhéry Oval outside Paris for a record braking 24 hour run.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Jean-Louis Pichafroy, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Facilitated by a pit crew of 14 who could complete a pit stop including changing all four tyres in 50 seconds every hour and a team of unnamed drivers the 40CV set a new 50 mile average speed record of 190.013 kmh / 118 mph and a 24 hour record of 173.649 kmh / 107.9 mph, by comparison the fastest average speed on the road course at Le Mans for the 24 hours race in 1926 was just 106.35 kph / 66 mph set by Robert Bloch and André Rossignol in their 3.4 litre / 207 cui Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6.

Jean-Louis Pichafroy is seen at the wheel of an exact replica of the 40CV MN Montlhéry Coupé, built in the 1970’s by Renault, at last years Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Thanks for joining me on this Presidential Speed King edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be revisiting the Monterey Rolex Reunion. Don’t forget to come back now !


Driving The Change – Renault

Founded in 1899 Renault were not celebrating anything in particular at this years festival of speed but still had a potpurri presence that spanned their competition history as shown by today’s collection of photographs.

Renault Type K, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1902 Marcel Renault drove a Type K similar to Renault built replica above to victory in the 990 km / 615 mile Paris-Vienna covering the distance in 15 hours 47 mins to average 38.95 bone shaking miles per hour.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Goodwood Festival of Speed

By 1925 Renault’s top model was the 40CV one of which one the 1925 Monte Carlo Rally. The following year built this aerodynamic Coupé version for a crack at the 24 hour distance record which it won by averaging 107 mph on the banked Montlhéry Circuit outside Paris.

Alpine M65, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After the ’39-’45 War Dieppe garage proprietor Jean Rédélé started racing Renault 4’s with considerable and founded Alpine to capitalise on it in 1954. For 1965 Alpine built the M65 model with a 1.3 litre / 79 cui tuned Renault motor powerful enough for the M65 to be timed at 266 kph / 165 mph at Le Mans.

Alpine A310, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Fast forward 12 years and the now Renault owned Alpine were not only returning to Le Mans which they won out right in 1978, but they were building the mid engine Peugeot Renault Volvo V6 powered Alpine A310 sports car. A successor to the Alpine A110, Guy Fréquelin drove an A310 like the one above to win the 1977 French Rally Championship.

Renault RE 40, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Alpines success at Le Mans gave them a spring board from which to launch their Formula One team in 1977. Translating the theoretical advantages of turbo charging on to the track in the sports top table proved time consuming and costly but by 1979 Formula One victories started to be achieved. However the unreliability of their ground breaking adventure kept Renault from ever winning a world championship with their turbo charged V6. The 1982 RE 40, driven by Michele Leclere above, came closest, with Alain Prost and Eddie Cheever helping the marque finish second in the Constructors Championship to Ferrari and Alain 2nd in the drivers championship with 4 victories to Nelson Piquet driving a turbo BMW powered Brabham.

Renault Twin Run, Goodwood Festival of Speed

At Goodwood Renault showed us a view of their future in the form of the fully working 2013 concept car the Twin Run which like the Renault 5 Turbo Maxi and Clio V6 has a mid mounted motor boasting 320 hp. No plans have been announced for the vehicle to go into production in this configuration… yet.

Thanks for joining me on this “Driving The Change” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

01/07/14 Errata Tim Murray has kindly pointed out that I incorrectly identified the Renault Type K as a type AK 90CV, when this post first went out, apologies for any confusion.