Renault in Australia: The Useless Info File

JohnW

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Interesting, Simon; thanks. You sought input on possible errors. I think that the below 750 info is wrong.

"1956
<snip>
750: A revised “safety” plastic dashboard with a crushable rubber cushion along its lower edge is introduced. An externally accessible fuel filler cap is included on Australian assembled vehicles."

My 1958 750 is of this type, I think, & the dash is metal & the cushion is plastic (it also has plastic, not metal, door handles & a padded roll in the panel above the windscreen).

cheers! Peter

Great work Simon. A thousand thanks for getting this together for the rest of us.

I have a couple of minor changes: the 1954 "Mk 54" version of the 750 didn't get a thermostat. I'm not sure which 750s did, if any, in Australia, although some are now retro-fitted. Others may know the answer to my uncertainty there.

Our 1964/5 R1130 has seat belt mountings, so they didn't come in with the R1132.
 

Simon

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I have a couple of minor changes: the 1954 "Mk 54" version of the 750 didn't get a thermostat.

Guess who found the easter egg. Technically the radiator blind is a thermostat of sorts, being used to regulate the temperature to an optimum of 85 degrees. But granted, a proper thermostat came along later.

Our 1964/5 R1130 has seat belt mountings, so they didn't come in with the R1132.

That would be correct, the plugs in the B-pillars and reinforcements on the floor came in with the 1964 model year cars thoughout the range.

Just had another look, I can see where you are coming from. I'll do a touch-up over the next couple of days when there will be a few additions.
 
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Simon

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Attached are a few pics of the Renault assembly plant at West Heidelberg.

The aerial shot is from 1971, Dougherty Road at the top of the pic. The 770 finished cars in the paddock being a selection of 12s and 16s in Rouge Red, Teal Blue, Beach Haze, Sage Grey, Alpine White and a handful of Sunburst 16's.

Pic of a round-eye Renault 10 from 1967, showing the old assembly track with the Australian Craftsmen, with the next pic featuring the white square-eye 10 showing the plants replacement travelling assembly line, and an employee in need of OHS&W training.

The final pic from 1971 shows the assembly line with an Alpine White 16TS and Sage Grey 12TL, in the pic are Maurice Fertey (in short sleeved shirt) and Brian Bowen (in yellow shirt) with a visitor and more Australian Craftsmen.
 

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Kim Luck

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That last shot looks very much like my area of responsibility for 12 months or so, the "high Line"! Complete suspensions for the 12's, 16's and 504's were inserted from underneath the cars as they moved along. It was an ideal place for unruly employees to cause havoc by not keeping up with the line, causing a line stoppage. That's probably what the Office Wallahs are down there looking at! They were hardly ever seen in the plant unless someone had cocked up!
 

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R8 1100. Happy 50th Anniversary!

A couple more pics of Australian Renault production, these being from the Continental and General West Heidelberg era. The first pic is likely circa June/July 1964, as the cars undergoing detailing on the final line are early versions of the R8 1100. Also interesting, and just out of shot, are a Citroen ID19 Parisienne and a couple of Peugeot 403.

The second pic is from the paint shop, a couple of Studebaker Cruisers, and a Renault R4.
 

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Simon

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Happy Anniversary! 40 years of metric motoring in Australia.

1 July 1974 saw the introduction of the metric system to Australian roads. The road network being the final frontier crossed in Australia's change from the Imperial system to the Metric system.

Renault Australia's change from MPH to KPH speedos occurred in May 1974, when the 1974 model year upgrade was introduced. Featuring in addition to metric speedos, new colours and extra frills, tombstone seats for the 12GL and 16TS. However the fully imported 15/17 vehicles were still fitted with MPH speedos unless the purchaser noticed, and requested replacement to metric instruments at time of delivery until 1975.

For the oldies, there were either stick on numbers supplied by your friendly local service station, to remind you of the new speeds, or Renault Australia commissioned DeNeefe signs in Eltham Victoria to print stickers to be attached to the face of the MPH speedometer.

The stickers supplied for the 10 and 16TL strip speedo (see pics attached below) were a bizzare creation featuring what could be interpreted as random numbers, with no real indication of 60/100/110 kph. In reality I'd say they would have been of less use than a chinagraph pencil blob on the face of the MPH speedo to remind one of where 60/80/100 etc would approximate.

TV ad from the period, introducing metric motoring:

http://aso.gov.au/titles/ads/metric-motoring/clip1/
 

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Sarosa

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1 July 1974 saw the introduction of the metric system to Australian roads. The road network being the final frontier crossed in Australia's change from the Imperial system to the Metric system.

Renault Australia's change from MPH to KPH speedos occurred in May 1974, when the 1974 model year upgrade was introduced. Featuring in addition to metric speedos, new colours and extra frills, tombstone seats for the 12GL and 16TS. However the fully imported 15/17 vehicles were still fitted with MPH speedos unless the purchaser noticed, and requested replacement to metric instruments at time of delivery until 1975.

For the oldies, there were either stick on numbers supplied by your friendly local service station, to remind you of the new speeds, or Renault Australia commissioned DeNeefe signs in Eltham Victoria to print stickers to be attached to the face of the MPH speedometer.

The stickers supplied for the 10 and 16TL strip speedo (see pics attached below) were a bizzare creation featuring what could be interpreted as random numbers, with no real indication of 60/100/110 kph. In reality I'd say they would have been of less use than a chinagraph pencil blob on the face of the MPH speedo to remind one of where 60/80/100 etc would approximate.

TV ad from the period, introducing metric motoring:

Metric Motoring (1974) clip 1 on ASO - Australia's audio and visual heritage online

Also a sticker to convert round dial 16TS's to kph. Even had it's own part number 7702063176.
 

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Simon

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Another picture of Renault Australia at Heidelberg. The Renault 16 is apparently the first Australian assembled prototype. I wonder if it is the evaluation car later registered as JZA 930, featuring in the Modern Motor road test?

I especially like this picture because it features virtually all the cars that Renault Australia assembled at that point in time, the Peugeot 404 wagon, a batch of 404 sedans, square eye 10 and a couple of 8 Gordinis in the background.

I was trying to work out the date, my best guess being late 1967 to very early 1968
 

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schlitzaugen

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You can tell the Gordinis were quick. Seems like they took off the assembly line before all others.

Well done Simon, though I have to say I am disappointed in you, what do you mean you can't guess the date?! Sheesh!
 

Simon

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what do you mean you can't guess the date?! Sheesh!

I'm more hoping the guy with the bad hair working on the 404, or the burger guy checking out his new R10, or the professor working on the 16 see the pic and tell us the exact date.
 

Sarosa

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Another picture of Renault Australia at Heidelberg. The Renault 16 is apparently the first Australian assembled prototype. I wonder if it is the evaluation car later registered as JZA 930, featuring in the Modern Motor road test?

Could be - it does look like it's being analysed there and not part of a line. I think JZA930 went to Sydney as it appears in the Sydney office based Magazines, where as JZA931 stayed in Melbourne and was reviewed by Motor Manual and Wheels. The key to finding it would be the stencilled paint and factory assembly codes above the R/H Headlamp like in JZA931, along with a few other tell tale signs.
 

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Simon

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I think JZA930 went to Sydney as it appears in the Sydney office based Magazines, where as JZA931 stayed in Melbourne and was reviewed by Motor Manual and Wheels.

After considering a few other points, the 8G being the key, I'm pegging the picture as being circa September 1967. Also I'm thinking it isn't JZA 930. In the Modern Motor road test, it refers to the white test vehicle being a full import, the white JZA 930 car has the same ride height as the JZA 931 red car, tending to indicate it is another "good road" spec car as opposed to the "poor road" spec 16 sold in Australia.

Whilst I'm banging on about 16s, it appears little known that the first 16 in Australia was imported by BMC for evaluation. Two recent books featuring BMC Australia history neatly avoid the 16, but mention a number of other vehicles that BMC benchmarked, such as the BMW 2000 and Peugeot 404. The Renault would appear to have been imported circa early 1966, registered in March, and featured in a Wheels road test in the October 1966 issue. I appears to have survived into 1967, being pictured with the Gerry Crown 8 Gordini from the BP rally. Another 16 in the where is it now file.....
 

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Simon

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One way of promoting Renaults in Australia in the 1950’s was the Renault Tea-Cup Derby in April 1959. Punters entered the competition through their friendly Renault dealer, took a no obligation ride in a Dauphine, then had to estimate how far the car would travel on an 8 ounce tea-cup of super petrol, with a final test of skill being to describe in 25 words the feature of the Dauphine that impressed them most.

A clue provided was that the Dauphine had achieved 55.08 miles per gallon in a recent economy run, with one gallon equalling twenty 8 ounce tea-cups.

1st prize was a Renault Dauphine, as well as a 10 day holiday to Hayman Island for two, including all air fares courtesy of Ansett-ANA.

History doesn’t seem to have recorded who the lucky winner was, although Mr Desmond Jilbert of Swan Hill was recorded as the winner of the Victorian round. He estimated a distance travelled of 3.055 miles, and won a 10 day holiday, as well as the right to compete in a run-off in Sydney for the major prize.

As with a lot of things, such as the Kangaroos, Meat Pies and Holden Cars jingle of the 1970’s, the original idea came from America.

James Morrison of Florida Sports Car Center, 1700 Florida Ave, Tampa Florida, crystalised the idea to promote his new Renault dealership in September 1957. Over a period of nine weeks, people were invited to drive his demonstrator Dauphine over a set course in order to achieve the greatest distance on a tea-cup of petrol. The “tea-cup” being a re-purposed Lockheed Nivoclair glass brake fluid reservoir mounted inside the engine compartment. A fuel tap from the main tank switched over to the “tea-cup” and a fifth wheel mounted to the rear bumper accurately measured the distance travelled. The prize for the greatest distance travelled being a new “Young, Willing and Able” Dauphine.

Claude Haycroft, senior salesman, monitored all the tests, with the greatest distance achieved being 5.01 miles travelled by Mrs Hellner, who beat her husband by 0.2 miles. The presentation of the Dauphine to Mrs Hellner was broadcast on local television in Tampa, pictured (fuzzily) below.
 

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Simon

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Diesel Motors, West Australia

Ripped from the Western Australia State Library collection. Attached are some showroom pictures from 1957 of Diesel Motors, the then Renault Distributor for Western Australia.

The full range of Renaults is on display, with 750s, two tone Fregate Affaires, and a new model Domaine as well as a Dauphine. Note on the Dauphine the Australian spec fuel filler on the panel behind the C-pillar.
 

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Simon

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And yet more dealer pictures from Western Australia. The first one was posted to me today, with the second night shot ripped from the Western Australia State Library collection. Diesel Motors passed on the Western Australian Renault franchise in the late 1950's to Maison Motors.

The first picture can be fairly accurately dated to mid 1970, as the showroom window is promoting the new Renault 10S, and as from 1971, Rod Slater's Eurocars commenced issuing international passports to driving pleasure, becoming the Western Australia distributor for Renault and Peugeot.

The second picture featuring the natty illuminated Renault diamond dealer identification sign is also from 1970.
 

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Simon

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In an effort to improve the transparency of vehicle servicing costs, Renault in Australia introduced fixed price labour servicing for their vehicles in 1958. The specified service interval for both the 750 and Dauphine was 1,250 miles (approx. 2,012 kilometres) with no time specified. Though at the time, the accepted average mileage per month was around 1,000 miles, for instance the Renault new car warranty period at the time was six months or 6,000 miles. So, on average, in Australia you would be seeing your friendly Renault dealer nearly every month.

Australia was obviously considered as a severe climate, as the servicing frequency for the French market cars was 1,500 miles or 3,000 kilometres. Australian road conditions were literally a world apart from their home market.

The service sequence was every 1,250 miles as follows:
Service 1
Service 2 + Service 3
Service 1
Service 2 + Service 4
Then the service sequence repeated over again.

Service 1 - Lubrication service -Small service costing 12/6 (approx. $18.35 in 2014) plus parts and materials (P&M). Being a drain and fill of the engine, steering and king pin greasing, belt tensioner , replenish trans fluid, brake fluid and battery check, tyre pressure check and lube of the gearshift ball joints.

Service 2 - Lubrication service -Small service +extras costing 12/6, the extras being a lube of the windscreen wiper bearings, bonnet hinges, door hinges and locks in addition to the items above.

Service 3 - Maintenance inspection – Costing £2/5/0 (approx. $66.07 in 2014) plus P&M. Being everything in the small service, plus a road test, manifold nut tighten, tappet check, removal and clean and check of dizzy and its points, clutch and accelerator cable check and adjust, battery, lights and wiper check, then finally rotate tyres and check pressures.

Service 4 - Maintenance inspection – Big service. Costing £5/10/0 (approx. $161.50 in 2014) plus P&M. Amongst the operations was a general tightening of all the nuts and bolts through the car from bumper brackets, sump bolts to the cylinder head bolts, generator check, radiator blind check. Air filter clean, wheel alignment, full check and adjustment of the brakes, check and adjust, doors, windows, bonnets front and rear, and for the 750 only, the key had to be checked as well.

There were a few other minor variations in the Australian service schedule too:
The trans fluid was specified to be changed every 5,000 miles (8,000km), as well as the rear wheel bearings to be greased “moderately” instead of the 6,000 miles specified for the French market in the handbook.

So how much did all this cost? For a distance covered of 5,000 miles (approx. 8,000 kilometres), the car cost the equivalent of $300.97 plus parts and materials. This compares to the current cost of a capped price service at a Renault dealer for a passenger car of $299 every 12 months or 10,000/15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first (for the first three services). Not quite an apples and apples comparison, but it does demonstrate the modern Renault is obviously initially significantly cheaper to service.

The donor for the Owner Service Book pictured below was a red Dauphine Deluxe, rego BNH 876, delivered by Civil Service Station, 19 Pacific Highway North Sydney in May 1958.
 

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Simon

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I guess I'll get out of the 1950's some time, but here's another anniversary of sorts. The 60th anniversary of the introduction of the locally assembled Renault 750 to Victoria, Tasmania and the Riverina!

As the distribution of Renaults in Australia in the 1950's was by region based distributors, cars could be sourced from different locations, depending on the whim of the particular distributor. In 1954, Pound Motors, the Renault distributor for Victoria, Tasmania and the Riverina emphasised that their 750s were the only fully imported 7-8hp car. By 1955 however, it was more viable to source the locally assembled cars from Ira Berks in Sydney.

Pound Motors were a very enthusiastic Renault dealer, after having taken up their distribution in 1938. They actively promoted Renaults in motorsport, selling them from their rather imposing building in Victoria St, North Melbourne (pic attached from circa 1940, ripped from Victorian State Library). Despite their enthusiasm for Renault, when Renault Australia came into being in 1958, they lost the Renault franchise and went onto become Volkswagen dealers.
 

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