- Written by webmin
What’s the first thing to come to mind when you think of James Cameron’s Titanic? (Other than that awful warbly theme song?) (BTW, just try getting that song out of your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.) That’s right, the steamy scene in the back of the car in the hold. While this 1912 Renault Coupe DeVille, fortunately, is not the car that hosted that scene, it is claimed to be an exact twin to the 1912 Renault that sank with the Titanic. From the seller’s description:
Purchased from the Barney Pollard estate in 1980 by Arthur Doering, who immediately commenced a full restoration. When it was complete, it won its First Senior and Preservation Status, and received AACA’s S.F. Edge Trophy, which recognizes the year’s most outstanding restoration of a foreign-made automobile entered in a national meet. It also won a Golden Award of Excellence from the Veteran Motor Car Club of America, and the Ed Heltemes Memorial Trophy for the best restored foreign car. Subsequent to that, it was a regular on the concours circuit, where it ultimately earned a First in Class at Meadowbrook Hall.
In 2000, Mr. Doering sold the car. With the initial restoration some 20 years old, this new owner undertook another frame-off restoration. Inspired by the James Cameron film, Titanic, and the famous scene in which the two main characters use the back seat of a Renault Town Car for a private moment, he contacted 20th Century Fox to get more information. In the course of their research for the movie, it turns out that there was, indeed, a 1912 Renault Coupe DeVille owned by William Carter aboard the Titanic when she sank. Insurance records provided by Lloyds of London not only offered proof that this car was a twin to the Titanic Renault, but also detailed specifications that could be followed like a road map during the restoration.
Armed with the insurance information and 21st century restoration techniques, the Renault was re-restored to its current spectacular condition by 3R Restoration in Denver, Colorado. Now a deep, rich red, it is an exact duplicate of the car currently sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic. Gold and black accents were added throughout, with an abundance of pinstriping to accent all the gorgeous curves and add to its incredibly ornate, Edwardian appearance.
Upon completion of this second restoration, it was invited to the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it easily completed the 50-mile tour and received a great deal of attention from crowds and media alike, thanks to its Titanic connection. It was invited to the 2005 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it also completed a 50-mile tour and was judged Best Presentation of Fashion and the Automobile. In September 2007, it was awarded Best in Class at the inaugural Rocky Mountain Concours at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
Today, the Renault remains in true #1 condition throughout, and is absolutely breathtaking in person. The paint is so lustrous and deep that you are tempted to dip your fingers in it as if it were still liquid.
The front seat is upholstered in rough-grained black leather as was customary with open-front town cars, given their minimal weather protection for the driver. But just because it was for the hired help, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t beautifully finished.
In back, you’ll find the most luxurious and opulent interior that Renault designers could muster in 1912. Again using the Lloyds of London claim as a blueprint, original-style floral fabrics and wool broadcloths were secured and stitched into the original patterns. As with the exterior of the car, the interior is virtually without flaws and shows no signs of wear.
Powering this elegant palace on wheels is a 2.6-liter T-head inline 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 12 French horsepower. In reality, it is probably closer to 40 or 50 contemporary horsepower, and is sufficient to allow this car to cruise at a comfortable 35 MPH in top gear. The engine was, of course, fully rebuilt at the time of restoration and runs beautifully today. This car also has the added benefit of an electric self-starter, which is integrated with the generator, and the large Besnard headlamps and single taillamp are electric.
The chassis is as beautifully finished as the body, and features a great deal of gloss black paint and ornate pinstriping. And as with the details on the body, you will be able to spend many hours admiring the mechanical components of this car, both for their engineering curiosity and for the quality of the workmanship, with cast aluminum and brass fittings throughout. The wooden wheels have been fully restored, and carry white 815x105mm Excelsior tires.
As for the movie scene car, according to a commenter on IMCDB.org, it was just a made-up prop built on a Model T rolling chassis with a sheetmetal body and no running gear. It was subsequently destroyed in the flooding scenes.
See more Renaults for sale on Hemmings.com.