Renault’s long-standing tradition for prestige motoring is exemplified by 40 CV.
40 CV, a prestige model
Right since the early years of the twentieth century, Renault had consistently capped its range with a prestige upmarket model, like the six-cylinder 50 CV with its immense 9500 cc engine and power-assisted brakes in 1908. 40 CV, first unveiled at the 1910 Paris Motor Show, upheld the tradition, extending its reign into the roaring twenties as the number-one choice for showbiz stars, business VIPs and French presidents.
A strong performance on any terrain
Before giving way to Reinastella in 1928, 40 CV went through successive upgrades, the most visible being the change to a swept-back bonnet on the type JV in 1922. In 1920, the engine size increased from 7500 to 9100 cc, and in 1922 the 40 CV got brakes on all four wheels. The long chassis proved a source of inspiration to the greatest coachbuilders of the period, such as Kellner, with his famous “torpedo / diving bell” design.
The 40 CV was more than just a pretty face, and would excel in motor sports. It won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1925, and a special 40 CV broke several endurance records in 1926, including 24 hours at an average of 173 km/h at the Montlhéry track.