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Coachwork by Belvallette & Cie

1919 Renault Type GR Skiff

  • Seldom seen Belvallette & Cie coachwork
  • Photo documented restoration by Carrosserie Lecoq Paris of France
  • 2019 Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance Rolling Sculpture Award winner
  • Formerly of the world-renowned Harrah's Collection; documented by verification certificate

VIN: 64533

Register To Bid Auction Info

Renault's reputation was made on the open road races of Europe in the cars built and driven by Louis Renault and his brother Marcel. Competition was the most effective way to promote the company's products and to demonstrate their speed and reliability. The earliest Renaults were powered by deDion engines and, with a pair of them, Louis and Marcel finished first and second in the amateur drivers class in the 1899 Paris-Trouville race. Only two years later, Renault was building cars and its own engines specifically for competition, and Marcel won the overall victory in the 1901 Paris-Vienna race. By 1913, Renault had grown to become the largest automaker in France, with a reputation for luxury cars of exceptional quality, often fitted with the latest in formal coachwork. In the formative years from 1904 to 1928, Renault's primary identifying features were a shovel nose bonnet and a radiator positioned between the engine and the firewall, something many competitors soon adopted.

A rarely seen Type GR Skiff Renault, this example sports stylish open coachwork by coachbuilder Belvallette & Cie of France. Bearing chassis number 64533, it is believed this Renault was built in 1918, but the body was not completed until 1919. The charming, nautical-inspired body features African Mahogany decking and a full canvas top with matching side curtains. The two-tone light blue livery suits the boat-like body and is believed to be close to the original color scheme. Accents are provided by black fenders and light grey coach lines, with body-colored artillery wheels.

A copy of the production ledger shows this Renault was first delivered to New York; however, the original owner's identity remains a mystery. Known history picks up with Eugene Lajunie, owner of the Fair Oaks Garage in Pasadena, California in 1947 and again in 1962 when George Shafer of San Bernardino, California, a founder and past president of The Horseless Carriage Club, sold it to the world-famous Harrah's Collection of Reno, Nevada. William Harrah had an eye for rare and interesting cars and surely recognized the significance of this Renault when he acquired it. This GR remained in the Harrah's Collection until the early 1980s, when many of the cars either became part of the National Motor Museum in Reno or were sold at auction. This Type GR Skiff was then acquired by Mr. Shar of Glendale, California. Photos on file show this example when it was purchased from Harrah's, displaying this Renault as worn down but very complete, making it an ideal candidate for a restoration. For the restoration, it was only fitting that it was returned to Europe in 1996 for Carrosserie Lecoq Paris of France to complete the thorough restoration. Finished in 2002 and documented by a photo album showing the entire process, everything, including the mechanical prowess was gone through, leaving the 18-horsepower long-stroke 4,534cc four-cylinder Monobloc engine ready for touring and road enjoyment. Refinished in two-tone ocean blue with tan leather upholstery, it is handsomely presented and well-detailed throughout. Carefully maintained since restoration, it has mellowed nicely, and shows signs of occasional use while remaining worthy of display. Most recently, this Renault won the Rolling Sculpture Award in February 2019 at the Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance.

With the sale of this special 1919 automobile, the next owner will receive a Harrah's Verification Certificate, a copy of a Nevada title in Bill Harrah's name, an owner's manual, and the aforementioned copy of the production ledger as well as photos before and during the restoration process.

Seldom seen today with fabulous coachwork and striking features, this proven award-winning 1919 Renault Type GR Skiff which was once owned by one of the largest collectors in the world, will make a great addition to one's collection or to grace any show field they desire.

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