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The Renault brothers, 1898. Louis Renault, in the middle car, invented the direct-drive gearbox in 1898, and designed a two-seater car, the Voiturette. His older brothers Marcel and Fernand joined him in setting up Renault Freres in 1899, which went on to become one of the major players in the car industry. Marcel died in the Paris-Madrid motor race in 1903, and Fernand died 6 years later, leaving Louis to run the company alone. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

The Renault brothers, 1898. Louis Renault, in the middle car, invented the direct-drive gearbox in 1898, and designed a two-seater car, the Voiturette. His older brothers Marcel and Fernand joined him in setting up Renault Freres in 1899, which went on to become one of the major players in the car industry. Marcel died in the Paris-Madrid motor race in 1903, and Fernand died 6 years later, leaving Louis to run the company alone. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)