40 CV des records
In the 1920s, every self-respecting carmaker was locked in a battle to set new speed records. There was quite an obsession with speed at the time and speed ovals were built all around the world. The track in Montlhéry was built in 1924 and became the arena for many a high-speed confrontation. Renault naturally shared this need for speed and entered its flagship model, Renault 40 CV with its huge 9,000 cm3 engine!
Renault commissioned Plessier and Gartfield, two automotive engineers, to develop a highly streamlined Renault 40 CV with a narrower chassis, an engine with a free-flow exhaust system, the radiator mounted behind the engine (instead of on the sides, to allow for more slender bodywork) and flexible, single-seater bodywork (again, to keep the weight down) with no wings over the wheels (to improve aerodynamics).
Here is the soundtrack to Renault 40 CV and its record-breaking exploits. Drivers, start your engines!
The Renault 40 CV “des Records” was a striking single-seater designed to break speed records. Its streamlined body and narrow chassis was actually bendy, as it was made from imitation leather stretched over a wooden and mesh structure. At first glance, it was quite frightening! Drivers of that time were clearly ready to do anything to break a record! In addition, Renault 40 CV only had (cable-operated) brakes on its rear wheels. The car shown is an exact replica of the record-breaking car, and was produced in the 1970s.
On 23 February 1926, Garfield (a driver and engineer) set off around the Linas-Montlhéry circuit in a Renault 40 CV and covered 100 km then 500 km at an average of 178 kph and 173 kph. Two records! A few months later, Garfield returned to the speed oval, this time with Plessier and Guillon in tow. In 24 hours, they covered 4,167.578 at an average 173.649 kph, breaking multiple records: the 1,000 and 2,000 miles, and the 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 kilometres, in the most successful feat ever for an automotive brand.
a single model
- Performance and engine
6 cylinders inline, 9,121 cm3, 140 hp
4-speed gearbox + reverse
around 200 kph
- dimensionsLength 5,40 mWidth 1,45 mHeight 1,70 m
streamlined single-seater on a narrowed chassis
front engine, rear-wheel drive