Aug 15 2013

Willie K’s Cars #6: The 1907 Renault “Vanderbilt Racer”

In a continuation of the series of the cars owned by William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., this is a profile of one of his classic automobiles.


The first Grand Prix was held on a 60-mile course near LeMans, France over a two-day period in June 1906. The winner was Ferenc Szisz in a new Renault Type AK powered by a large 13-liter, four-cylinder drive with a shaft drive.

William K. Vanderbilt Jr. was so impressed with the performance of this racecar that he requested Renault to build smaller 35/45 HP versions for him and his friends. A total of 10-15 Renault Vanderbilt Racers were produced with five known to exist today.


Howard Kroplick

Willie K. and his wife Virginia driving to the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race in his Renault.


Aug 16 2013 Ariejan Bos 4:53 AM

Beautiful photos, especially the second one, which was new to me. To my surprise they used this car for travelling Europe between June and August 1908 (so he was back in time for the organisation of the Vanderbilt Cup race). A detailed (and very interesting) account of this trip can be read in “Log of My Motor, 1908-1911”, downloadable at the LOC-site ( The first photo in the book shows this Renault in full glory!

Aug 18 2013 Randy Reed 10:59 AM

Very interesting photo. Mrs. Vanderbilt must have been a tolerant soul! He has full leather and goggles protection and she has, what appears to be, normal attire and only a light veil to protect her face. I know what it’s like to ride in an exposed position like that and she’s not ready for it, especially on the roads they must have encountered. Are there any photos that show her better prepared?

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