Founded by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand in 1898, Renault engineering was of the highest quality, from the outset. The arrival of multi-cylinder models in 1900 really put the company on the map.
As well as motor cars, Renault manufactured taxis, buses, and commercial vehicles in the years before the Great War, and during hostilities branched out into munitions, military aircraft, and armored vehicles. By the war’s end, this diversification had seen Renault established as France’s biggest manufacturing enterprise.
When the Société des Transports en Commun de la Région Parisienne (STCRP) decided to replace trams with buses, it chose the Renault TN4, which had been introduced in 1929. One of the last of the TN series, the TN4H Autobus was launched in 1936 and belongs to the final generation with a directly accessible rear platform.
In order to create more passenger space, the TN4H adopted a “cab forward” layout, doing away with its predecessors’ pig snout. Compared to previous models, the body was restyled and extended (to 30 feet, 7 inches), boasting five side windows with rounded corners instead of four rectangular ones.
The four-cylinder petrol engine displaced 5,883 cc and produced 58 hp, which was good enough for a top speed of 40 kph (25 mph). Weighing seven and a quarter tons unladen, the TN4H Autobus could accommodate 50 passengers. A total of 410 TN4Hs were ordered by the STCRP, the last of which was not withdrawn from service until January 1971.
This particular TN4H Autobus comes with a good history file containing its original 1937 Carte Grise and a letter from the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens museum stating that it was in service in Paris from June 4, 1937, to January 15, 1971.
The vehicle, which has been fitted with two new batteries, also comes with an original specification sheet and parts list. The vendor advises that in 1991 he drove the TN4H to Paris, a trip that was widely reported in the press, and that it runs perfectly and is totally original throughout.
The interior is said to be excellent, retaining its varnished wooden ceiling and enamelled notices conveying messages such as “Do Not Lean Out Of The Window” and “Only 9 Standing In This Area,” etc. A quantity of spare parts is included in the sale.