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Louis RENAULT

French Louis RENAULT

French industrialist, one of the founders of Renault and one of the foremost pioneers of the automobile industry

Source :  Olivier GUIONNEAU

Born: on February 15, 1877 in Paris, France
Died: on October 24, 1944 in Fresnes Prison, Fresnes, France


Biography

The fourth of five children born into a Paris bourgeois family, Renault attended Lycée Condorcet. He was fascinated by engineering and mechanics from a very early age, and spent many hours in the Serpollet steam car workshop or tinkering with old Panhard engines in the tool shed of the family's second home in Billancourt.

He built his first car in 1898, hiring a pair of workmen to modify a used 3/4 hp (560 W) De Dion-Bouton cycle which featured a revolutionary universally jointed driveshaft and a three speed gearbox with reverse, with the third gear in direct drive (which he patented a year later). Renault called his car the Voiturette. On December 24, 1898, he won a bet with his friends that his invention was capable of driving up the slope of Lepic street in Montmartre. As well as winning the bet, Renault received 13 definite orders for the vehicle. Seeing the commercial potential in his ingenuity, he teamed up with his two older brothers, Marcel and Fernand, who had business experience from working in their father's textiles firm. They formed the Renault Frères company on February 25, 1899. Initially, business and administration was handled entirely by the elder brothers, with Louis dedicating himself to design and manufacturing. However, in 1908 he took overall control of the company after Fernand retired for health reasons. (Marcel had been killed in the 1903 Paris-Madrid motor race.)

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See Also :

- Category Industrialist, Businessman