In 1899 the Renault Corporation was founded by brothers Louis, Marcel, and Fernand Renault. At the time it was known as Socit Renault Frres, or translated from French to English, the Renault Brothers Company. Louis was the leader and engineer of the trio while his brothers were in charge of management and keeping books. The company worked to manufacture automobiles such as cars, trucks, vans, busses, tanks, and rail vehicles. Currently, however, their specialty is geared in the direction of only cars and vans.
In 1919, Renault embraced the world of agriculture and farm equipment and set their sights on building tractors. That year they released their first tractor, the Type GP, which was based in design on the FT Tank. Renault, however, struggled with the automotive aspect of their business due to competition to make smaller, more affordable cars, and the company's growth was hindered as a result.
While Renault did go on to make several tractor models over the years, the demand for tractors was at a peak after the end of World War II in 1945. Efforts were being made to rebuild Europe and the tractor was a necessary part of that. Renault itself was damaged, but the factory was revived when brought under public ownership. They took their previous design and improved on it, reintroducing it with 4 numbers in the name instead of the three that were previously used.
In 1949, the Renault R3042 Tractor was produced and released. It offered a choice of power to its four cylinder engine between alcohol, paraffin, or petrol, an option for which your choice had to be clarified prior to purchase. This tractor had an electric start and 22-30 horsepower as well as a transmission with four forward gears and one reverse. It topped out at 13.5 miles per hour and could be stopped by the use of features such as independent foot brakes and a hand brake, too. It also offered options to allow the addition of a side mounted cutter bar mower (power takeoff shaft on the opposite side of the tractor used in combination with side mounted pulley) and a bolt-on hydraulic linkage unit that used the rear power takeoff shaft as a source of power.
The tractor portion of Renault, known as Renault Agriculture by that time, went on to build many more tractors for several years before being acquired partially by Claas in 2003, a transition that became a full acquisition in 2008. Claas is a German agricultural machinery manufacturer that was founded in 1913. Renault, on the other hand, opted to continue in the automotive industry by acquiring stakes in other automobile manufacturers in other countries. While their most recent project is a far cry from tractor manufacturing, Renault is still on the map for its engineering talents, having recently partnered with Nissan to create electric cars. If you still wish to lay hands on a Renault tractor, you will have to do so through Claas, who at this time sells Renault machines under the Claas name, unless are lucky enough to find an old but excellent tractor such as the R3042.