Renault Type NN
More information about the model Renault Type NN
In 1927, at the wheel of a modest Renault NN, lieutenant Estienne accomplished the feat of crossing the Sahara from side to side in scarcely more than a month. The desert was no longer a barrier.
Eighteen thousand kilometres covered in 36 days across the Sahara Desert and what was then French West Africa – that was the feat achieved by lieutenant Georges Estienne. He knew Africa well, because he had already crossed the Sahara in 1924 as part of the Gradis-Estienne expedition, which involved three Renault six-wheelers. That had been the first crossing of the desert by wheeled automobiles, which were easier to service and manoeuvre than caterpillar track vehicles. The purpose of Georges Estienne’s 1927 journey was to carry out a study on a railway link between the Algerian railway system and those in Dahomey (now Benin) and Senegal. He left Billancourt on January 7, 1927, at the wheel of a NN without any particular preparation. He was heading for Fort Lamy (now Njamena in Chad). His return journey was via Kano (now in Nigeria) and Niamey (now in Niger) and it went off without the slightest hitch. Vanquished by an ordinary 6CV the Sahara Desert was no longer an obstacle.
Estienne’s car was one of great breed of Renault 6CVs, born in 1922 with the Type KJ, followed by MT and NN. They were rugged automobiles, over 150,000 of which were sold in total.