c.1951 CIJ, Renault Fregate Clockwork Sedan in Original Box

c.1951 CIJ, Renault Fregate Clockwork Sedan in Original Box

The Renault Fregate sedan manufactured in France by CIJ is one of those few toys that the word "rare" aptly describes the frequency  by which it's found. This is the only example I've ever seen and by some incredible stroke of luck it comes complete with its original box and original key. Best of all it runs beautifully!

This is not a tin litho vehicle. It's lithographed pressed steel and weighs nearly 1¼ pounds. It's powered by a rear driven clockwork motor and also has battery operated headlights. The headlights are both original to the toy. It's a huge car measuring over a foot long. The body was pressed from a single sheet of steel, painted light gray and striped with light silver highlights. 

It has several features which I haven't seen on any other toy. The driver's side door was authentically hinged (like the real car) to open and close. The door handle works to secure the door in place. The interior is all lithoed steel. It has a single gray bench seat up front. The dashboard is cream colored and embossed. It has a rotating metal steering wheel with. It also has a securely mounted turn signal attached to the steering column. The lever at the end of the turn signal stalk turns the electric head lights on or off. 

Additional features include wrap around chrome plated steel rear and front bumpers, painted front grille, authentic Renault gold radiator ornament, rear (painted) French license plate and tail lights. Both front quarter panels include an authentic Fregate chrome plated logo tabbed to each side. From my research the car was built without an antenna stalk. Only the tip is visible in front of the driver's door. It's not broken, or bent.

The chassis is a single plate pressed steel covering the entire underside of the auto. A lever located between the front tires turns their position right, left, or straight ahead. Between the rear tires is a balanced, movable plate. This serves as the vehicles rear suspension allowing the wheels to angle up or down depending on the the ground tilt. The die cut section in the center of the chassis holds the car battery. It's a European battery which I've never seen before so I had no way of testing the head lights. Both of the battery supports are also still in place. I could've rigged up a standard cell battery, but I was afraid that the filaments would blow out. As it is now, both filaments are intact so there's no reason why they shouldn't work. I checked the internal wiring and everything is connected and properly soldered in place. (Today this wouldn't be a problem. Jun. 2012).

The tires are white solid rubber. They have dark painted embossed metal centers with chrome plated bullet shaped hubs.

The key is embossed pressed steel and fits perfectly over the stem. There's no play or movement (i.e. it's not loose, but fits securely) and it doesn't rub against the body when turned. 

The box is a two piece, thin, but heavy duty walled cardboard. It's covered with a dark blue textured material. The cover is highlighted with yellow-orange striping around the top edges. The original directions for inserting the battery are pasted to the underside of the cover. The original manufacturer's label is still pasted to the lower right corner of the box bottom. Please note that the small gray circle just to the left of the label indicates the color of the car inside the box, and that it correctly corresponds with that color.

Size: 12½" x 4½" x 4¼".

Sold: Nov. 2007

Price Sold: $ 1265


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Subject: c.1951 CIJ, Renault Fregate Clockwork Sedan in Original Box

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