Converting our books to digital recalls Renault flirting with Grand Luxe.
Renault Nerva Grand Sport 1935
There was nothing modest about Renault’s own description of its new Grand Sport series. In a word, it was hyperaérodynamique. The steeply-raked radiator grille blended into smooth wings with the headlamps faired in between them. The original styling clay buck shows the lamp units set into the front of the wings. This was the first Renault to do away with running boards. A centre pillar on saloon models separated the halves of the flat windscreen, which was raked back to match the lines of the radiator. Spats enclosed the rear wheels. At the front the chromium-plated bumper blade curved down in the centre to provide access for a starting handle.
The Grand Sport used a classic separate chassis, with the side frames linked by tubular cross members. When launched at the Paris Salon in 1934, it had a 4.8-litre straight-eight engine, but when it went on sale the capacity was increased to 5.4-litres. A three-speed gearbox was retained. Front suspension was independent, using a pair of transverse semi-elliptic springs and lever arm dampers. At the rear a single transverse spring was used, with double-acting hydraulic dampers
BODY Saloon: 4-doors; 6-seats; 2450kg (5401lb). Convertible: 2-doors; 3-seats. ENGINE: 8-cylinders, in line; front; 85.0 x 120.0mm, 5448cc; 23kW (31bhp). ENGINE STRUCTURE: 2 valves per cylinder; pushrod; side camshafts; aluminium alloy cylinder head; cast iron block; 1 double choke carburettor; water cooled. TRANSMISSION: Rear wheel drive, 3-speed gearbox. CHASSIS DETAILS: Steel chassis construction; transverse leaf spring front suspension; banjo type rear axle; rubber shock absorbers; drum front and rear brakes; worm & roller steering; 107L (23.5 Imp gal) (28.4 US gal) fuel tank; 6.50 x 17 tyres, 6in rim width. DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 321cm (126.4in), front track 145.4cm (57.2in), rear track 145.4cm (57.2in), turning circle 15.5m (51.67ft), length 450cm (177.2in). PERFORMANCE: 37.4kph (23.2mph) @ 1000rpm; 106kg/kW (79kg/bhp).
Renault Nervasport Monte Carlo Rally 1935
Although Renault notched up a string of successes in rallies, and won the classic Monte Carlo Rally in 1925, it was looking for another big-time victory. In the 1930s, the annual battle through snow and ice to the warmer climate of the Principality captured the imagination, especially in a country where the Depression was biting hard. So when Lahaye and Quatresous took first place in the 12th running of the rally, with Guyot in fourth place in a second Nervasport, Renault had real cause to celebrate.
The Rally covered huge mileages across Europe, so just getting to Monaco was praiseworthy, let alone winning. The victorious Nervasport, which started from Stavanger, had the 5.5-litre engine and three-speed gearbox in a close-coupled four-door, five-seat saloon body. In this form the car would have cost 44,000 francs, against just 35,000 francs for a rolling chassis.
BODY: Saloon; 4-doors, 5-seats; 2100kg (4630lb). ENGINE: 8-cylinders, in line; front; 85.0 x 120.0mm, 5448cc; 23kW (31bhp); 4.2kW/L (5.7bhp/L). ENGINE STRUCTURE: Side valve; 2 valves per cylinder; side gear-driven cam; water cooled. TRANSMISSION: Rear wheel drive; 3-speed; bevel final drive. CHASSIS DETAILS: Steel chassis construction; semi-elliptic front springs, trailing banjo rear axle, cantilevered springs, hydraulic dampers; drum front, drum rear brakes, servo assisted; rack and pinion steering. DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 319cm (125.6in), length 500cm (196.9in), width 185 (72.8in). PERFORMANCE: Maximum speed 145kph (90mph); 91.3kg/kW (67.7kg/bhp.
Renault Type ACXI Viva Grand Sport 1935
The Grand Sport concept seemed to capture the spirit of the 1930s. Several changes were made between the car appearing at the 1934 Salon in Paris and going on sale in April 1935. At the rear the lines were made more sweeping and the rear screen, originally designed in two pieces, now appeared as a single unit. This smaller version of the Grand Sport was powered by a straight six 4.1-litre engine, with aluminium cylinder head. It was still a relatively slow-revving engine, developing its 95bhp at just 3000rpm. The fact that it also had a 107 litre (23.5 Imp gal) fuel tank suggests either a prodigious thirst or huge range. The most expensive version was the six-seater convertible, with fold-flat windscreen, which cost 44,000 francs. Cheapest was the four-door, six-seater saloon, at 39,000 francs.
BODY: Saloon: 4-doors; 5-seats, 2000kg (4409lb). Cabriolet: 2-doors; 2-seats. ENGINE: 6-cylinders, in line; front; 85.0 x 120.0mm, 4085cc; compr 6.0:1; 71kW (95bhp) @ 3000rpm, 17kW (23bhp) imposed; 17.3kW/L (23.3bhp/L). ENGINE STRUCTURE: Side valve; 2 valves per cylinder; 1 side gear-driven camshaft; 1 Stromberg carburettor; water cooled. TRANSMISSION: Rear wheel drive; 3-speed; bevel final drive, 4.111:1. CHASSIS DETAILS: Steel chassis construction; semi-elliptic spring front suspension, rubber dampers; trailing live axle rear suspension, lateral semi-elliptic spring, hydraulic dampers; drum front and rear brakes, rack and pinion steering; 107L (23.5 Imp gal) (28.3 US gal) fuel tank; 14/45 tyres. DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 296cm (116.5in), front and rear track 145.4cm (57.2in), turning circle 14m (46.7ft)