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Homepage. This page: A Paris-registered Renault Fregate is seen parked in a snowy setting, and a 1954 example.

1. 1953 Renault Fregate Amiral in the snow.

The Renault Fregate made its debut in 1950, although it would be late 1951 before the first car was actually delivered to its expectant owner. Production grew at a relatively leisurely pace during 1952, and even in 1953 - the approximate date of the car shown below - only 25,000 or so examples are believed to have been delivered to home-market buyers. This year would see the introduction of two specification levels - the higher-priced Fregate Amiral, and the entry-level Fregate Affaires. The former car can quickly be identified from its lowlier cousin, and indeed cars built in previous years, by the standard fitment of two - rather than just one - fog lamps, and bumper overriders that didn't feature as standard on the Affaires. The Amiral can also be identified thanks to the fitment of windscreen washers, just visible on this example, fitted to the scuttle ahead of the 'screen.
Interestingly, this Fregate (registration 4184-BL75) sports a rally entrants' plaque on its front bumper, advertising its name. Perhaps this car was taking part in a demonstration for local members of the press? The rally plate also refers to "Croisieres du Nouvel An" - which translates roughly to "New Year's Run", which if nothing else explains the snow. Someone is sat in the back, while two gentilshommes are stood alongside, well wrapped up, one of whom is attending to his camera.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size Renault image.)
Renault Fregate
The engine fitted to this era of Fregate was a four-cylinder unit of 1,996cc, although this would be upgraded to 2,141cc in 1956, the year that a handy estate-car version - called the Domaine - was introduced. At the same time, a range-topping Grand Pavois specification level joined the catalogue in Renault dealerships. Reflecting the continued evolution that this car received, in 1957 a semi-automatic "Transfluide" gearbox was offered in addition to a slightly perkier engine, still of 2,141cc. The following year a revised front grille would differentiate the newest cars from those that had gone before, the latest in a series of revisions to the car's front end that had taken place since the early 1950s.

2. A 1954 example.

Leo is to thank for the next photograph, it shows the Fregate that his father drove in 1954. Can anyone explain the significance of the number 2 on the bonnet badge? This car belonged to the company that Leo's father worked for. The "L" registration confirms that it was registered in Utrecht; after May 1955 the format of the registrations was altered to the form that is used to this day. Many thanks for sending the photograph over. Which version this is I'm not sure, after all it has the windscreen washers and bumper overriders of the Amiral, yet just one fog lamp, which usually indicates the Affaire. Note the radio aerial, and sliding steel sunroof.
Front view of a 1954 Renault
Return to Page 16 in the gallery of classic vehicles.
Other classic Renaults to feature in this section of the website include the contemporary 4CV, and the slightly later Dauphine.

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