Renault Agriculture operated for many years, from the early 20th century until the early 21st century. A brief resume of those times is provide below. Please point out any innaccuracies you may spot and don't hesitate to let me know if you can add to this page.
During the First World War, Renault's FT army tank proved very popular. Following the war, Renault saw the similarities between tanks and mechanical horses and so the first Renault Agriculture tractor was derived from the FT tank; it was a tracked vehicle and was designated the GP-type, presumably for general purpose. Further versions appeared quickly and ran both petrol and diesel engines. Renault's first tractor with wheels was designated the HO and as the years passed, Renault were able to supply a tractor for each sector.
Between 1919 and 1939, Renault employed characters as type indication, as with their cars, trucks and buses. However, as the number of models increased, 1 character wasn't enough and so they increased to 2 and then 3 characters.
During the Second World War, Renault were forced to produce simple versions of existing tractors and few new tractor series saw the light of day. Folowing the war, Europe effectively needed to be re-built and there was a great demand for tractor s to increase food production. All this progressed at Renault despite the mysterious death of Louis Renault and the bombing of the factory. Indeed, the factory was put under public ownership during these hard times. By this time, type designations had progressed to 4 characters and Renault was employing Perkins engines as well as their own.
In the fifties, the mechanisation of agriculture had really taken hold and both horsepower and prices were on the up. Two new series wre developed for this breed of 'new farmer', with the diesel engine becoming the de facto standard, aided by the introduction of agriculture specific fuel (i.e., red dyed diesel). At this time, Renault was using both air-cooled engines from MWM (Motor Werke Mannheim) and water-cooled engines sourced form Perkins. Series at the time consisted of the N for normal width, the E which was narrow guage and the V for the wine growing industry.
As the demand for power continued its upward trend, Renault introduced the Super Series. Thses tractors were constantly updated and revised an appeared in many formats and with various power outputs. The most significant change ocurred in 1965 with the introduction of draught control (referred to as Tracto-contorl). This allowed one lever to set the desired working depth and another to lift the implement in and out of work. It also measured the draught and adjusted the height accordingly depending on the ground conditions. Another significant introduction occured in 1966 - the first four-wheel drive Renault tractor.
This page was produced in conjunction with Ed Lenders at RENAULTOLOOG.
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