On this day in auto history – May 27th

Thu 27th May 2021

It was on this day in 1903 that Marcel Renault - one of the founders of Renault - died without regaining consciousness following a crash on the opening day of the Paris to Madrid race. He was just 31.

Born in Paris in 1872, Marcel gained business experience working with older brother Fernand at their father’s textile firm, at a time when their precocious younger brother, Louis, was already displaying his mechanical genius by building his first car at the age of just 21.

The three brothers joined forces to found Renault in 1899, with Louis heading design and production, and the older brothers concentrating on managing the business.

It was Mercel’s decision to promote the Renault brand through racing and he himself proved particularly skilful, gaining many notable victories, including the 1902 Paris-Vienna race a year before his death.

Shortly after Marcel’s death, Renault began producing its own engines and enjoyed a phenomenal rise, becoming France’s largest car manufacturer as early as 1908.