1928 Renault NN1 Torpedo Commerciale

Make: Renault
Model: NN1 Torpedo Commerciale
Year: 1928
Registration Number: BF 6279
Chassis Number: 163795
Engine Number: 77066
Steering: Right Hand Drive
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Sold For: £7810
Road Tax Exempt

Lot No: 246

By the time the NN1 arrived in 1924, Renault had firmly established themselves as a manufacturer of stylish motor cars for the middle classes. Founded in 1899 by the three Renault brothers, the company was innovative for its era, producing family, commercial, agricultural and even competition vehicles; indeed, the first ever Grand Prix was won by a Renault AK 90CV in 1906. For World War I, ammunition, aircraft engines and military vehicles were produced, along with the infamous ‘Taxi de la Marne’ - an AG1 that first appeared in 1905 and was used to ferry troops from Paris to the 1914 Battle of the Marne. The 1920s saw the arrival of the siblings KJ and MT, swiftly followed by the NN, a family town car that boasted a longer wheelbase than its predecessors, along with nautical styling, front wheel brakes, and a top speed of 37mph.

This remarkable NN1 was purchased by its current custodian from a 2CV dealer who had found the vehicle in a French barn. Old writing on the tailgate of the Renault states ‘Godfroid, Illiers’; the new owner set about researching this and discovered that the owner could well have been a Georges Godfroid, who owned an electrical shop in Illiers, Northern France. Monsieur Godfroid was also a keen amateur cine film maker, shooting reels of film in his home town during the 1930s and Forties. One such film was discovered that portrayed bomb damage and a glimpse of the Godfroid electrical shop. 

During 2012 to 2013, extensive work was carried out on the engine. New valves and seats, valve springs and piston rings were fitted, together with a new cylinder head gasket and studs. The cylinder head and block were skimmed and a weld repair was carried out to the block, the cylinders were sleeved and the water galleries cleaned. Interestingly, the vendor decided not to repaint the engine, but to retain the patina so it related to and complimented the aged vehicle as a whole. At this time of mechanical renovation, new exhaust pipes were fitted and the steering and suspension were overhauled with many new parts installed, including king pin bushes, wheel bearings, front brake cables and bushes and a front suspension shaft. The magneto was also completely rebuilt. The ignition is now operated by a replacement switch and the original speedometer was changed when reading 56000kms. The new unit, now in mph, reads approximately a third higher; this could be recalibrated or left to impress! The petrol tank has been rust treated and the front mudguards are repaired and resprayed to allow the rusting process to progress, thus matching the aforesaid patina of this historic motor car.

Supplied in the history file is the certificat d'immatriculation or ‘carte grise’ (the French registration document), the UK V5C, copy workshop manuals in both French and English, invoices and a (CD) disc of images found by the vendor of the Illiers history, as detailed above.

The owner has consistently endeavoured to maintain the age and character of the superb Torpedo; to that end, any rust has been treated merely to halt its progress and the quirks and perceived faults portray the history of the motor car, which would have been destroyed by a restoration. A truly rare opportunity. 

Auction Date: 8 September 2016