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Renault FT

In Detail

Our First World War Renault FT light tank, is widely and inaccurately referred to as a Renault FT17. Due to no intact examples of the Renault FT being available we endeavoured to piece together the hull and turret. The hull design consists of plates and angle iron. The gathering together of the hull panels required a considerable period of time as many of the panels were either missing or in very bad shape given the original poor quality of the steel and subsequent exposure to the elements since the First World War. We were unable to secure a complete hull and were therefore in the hands of the dealer community to source the panels. Once this process had ended t he plates were eventually laid out as a giant jigsaw puzzle to enable us to photograph and identify each component and provide a lasting resource for the research effort to come. The hull and related components thereafter languished in a far corner of our sheds for many years before we began to address the issue of restoration.

To begin the work, an assessment of the hull plates was carried out. Except for the floor and framework, the plates appeared to have been remarkably well preserved. There had been some corrosion to the plates, obliterating the camouflage scheme. Although a partial outline of the registration number was found on the front plate. However closer examination of the plates revealed more extensive damage.

The restoration would go on to involve many key experts, some of which would be in highly specialist fields. Additionally, the work would necessitate help from various sources such as The Tank Museum and include the search for many components. As with all our projects, research is a crucial part. This research incorporates the history, as well as ensuring that components are in keeping with the original fitting, or the paint used is an accurate representation. The real challenge in this case, was that we intended to rebuild a vehicle that was 100 years old.

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Articles

Renault FT And TSF - Building the Suspension Beam

Renault FT And TSF - Building the Suspension Beam

16 Oct 2020

From the Archive: The key component of the Renault FT and TSF suspension examined. 

 
Renault FT  TSF - Differences in Exhausts

Renault FT / TSF - Differences in Exhausts

18 Mar 2016

There are very few Renault FTs with original exhausts in the world today.

 
Renault FT - Drivers Seat Strap

Renault FT - Drivers Seat Strap

17 Sep 2014

Collecting for the interior of the FT has been a challenge.

 
Renault FT  TSF -  Engine bore rust removal

Renault FT / TSF - Engine bore rust removal

13 Aug 2014

What's the best way to remove rust from an engine bore? 

 
Renault FT  TSF - Engine rust removal

Renault FT / TSF - Engine rust removal

14 Aug 2014

After testing the technique could we scale it up? 

 
FT  TSF Firewall - Part one - Brussels gives up its secrets
 
Renault FT -  Drivers Seat Strap

Renault FT - Drivers Seat Strap

29 Mar 2016

Collection for the interior of the FT has been a challenge.

 
Renault FT - Paint analysis
 
FT17 Steering levers

Renault FT Steering Levers

18 Sep 2020

From The Archive - Berliet or Renault that is the question.

 
Renault FT -  Turret Restoration

Renault FT - Turret Restoration

29 Mar 2016

After over a month's work the final score for the turret restoration is over.

 
Renault FT gear gate

Renault FT - Original Gear Gate Strip Down

03 Mar 2017

From our archives - the first stage of restoration. Strip down and analysis of parts. 

 
Renault FT  TSF - The Trenching Skid Part Two
 
Renault FT  TSF - Towing Chains

Renault FT / TSF - Towing Chains

22 Jan 2016

Sizing the chains was the first challenge...

 
Renault FT  TSF - Ventilateur Sourcing The Air Outlet Housings

Renault FT / TSF - ‘Ventilateur’ Sourcing The Air Outlet Housings

13 Jan 2016

Locating an original housing still retaining its original grill that was accessible was a formidable task.

 
Renault FT Oil can

Renault FT / TSF Engine Bay Oil Cans and Holders

14 Jan 2016

Most surviving Renault FTs and TSFs no longer retain their spare oil cans but could the holder give us more information?

 
Renault FT idler wheel

Renault FT and TSF - Berliet FT Idler wheels

16 Nov 2015

Why were some metal and others wood? The explanation is....

 
Renault FT and TSF  Drivers Seat Box

Renault FT and TSF – Driver’s Seat Box

15 Jun 2016

Replicating the sole example of the Renault FT Seat Box.

 
Renault FT and TSF  Testing the Radiators
 
Renault FT and TSF Archive Files

Renault FT and TSF Archive Files

12 Feb 2016

The archive documentation required for the Renault and TSF project has been building.

 
Renault FT and TSF Engine Restoration – The White Metalling Process

Renault FT and TSF Engine Restoration – The White Metalling Process

29 Apr 2016

A lengthy process of trial and error in order to perfect the dying skill of white metalling

 
Renault FT and TSF Suspension

Renault FT and TSF Suspension

08 Apr 2016

A look at the small components in the suspension beam.

 
Renault FT Engine  Setting The Ignition Timing

Renault FT Engine – Setting The Ignition Timing

01 Dec 2017

Revisiting our understanding of the ignition timing settings...

 
Renault FT Engine  Zenith Carburettor  Part 2 Machining and Assembly
 
Renault FT Engine Colours

Renault FT Engine Colours

07 Oct 2016

Just how were these engines finished in 1918?

 
Renault FT - Idler wheels reproduction

Renault FT - Idler wheels reproduction

07 Sep 2014

See the process behind re creating these intricate wooden wheels. 

 
Renault FT Internal Cabin Tools Part 1

Renault FT Internal Cabin Tools Part 1

01 Aug 2016

Mysterious object uncovered using parts already in our collection.

 
Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

27 Jan 2016

The internal faces of the panels gave some interesting conflicting information...

 
Renault FT turret

Renault FT Polygonal Turret Unmasked

09 Dec 2015

The polygonal turret is rare in relation to the cast Berliet variety.

 
Renault FT Registration  Part One

Renault FT Registration – Part One

11 Mar 2016

The corroded plates held the key to identifying the registration and chassis numbers. 

 
Renault FT Registration  Part Two

Renault FT Registration – Part Two

24 Mar 2016

There remained the last three digits to identify.

 
FT Throttle lever
 
Renault FT turret

Renault FT Turret - Part Two

26 May 2017

Discovery of three heavy rectangular metal blocks.

 
FT door

Renault FT - The Elusive Brass Panels

18 Mar 2016

Our examination of all known survivors has so far failed to locate and copy a pair of these plates.

 
Renault Tractor arrives

Renault Tractor arrives

04 Oct 2014

Renault GP tractor arrives from Belgium

 
From The Archive - Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

From The Archive - Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

27 Jan 2016

The internal faces of the panels gave some interesting conflicting information...

 
From The Archive - Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

From The Archive - Renault FT Internal Paint Finish - Part One

27 Jul 2018

The internal faces of the panels gave some interesting conflicting information...

 

Renault FT and TSF – ‘Painting the Tanks’ – Camouflage – Part One

06 Apr 2018

Our paint conservation partners have now established all the external colours needed on the Renault FT and TSF. 

 
Renault FT and TSF  Starting Handle Boss

Renault FT and TSF – Starting Handle Boss

17 Mar 2018

The fairly innocuous looking attachment at the rear of the Renault FT engine bay has proven to be quite troublesome for us to reproduce.

 
Renault FT and TSF Cooling Fan

Renault FT and TSF Cooling Fan

09 Dec 2016

Continuing the build of the cooling fan...

 
TSF

Renault TSF - We Have L'Horne

15 Dec 2015

Uncovering the origins of the TSF hull

 
Renault TSF Turret

Renault TSF Turret

17 Mar 2017

Battery and Box Detail