Renault

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Renault

Founded by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernaud as the Société Renault Frères in 1898. Louis provided the engineering expertise, while the brothers concentrated on running the business. Their first car, the “Voiturette”, was sold to a friend of Louis after he took a test ride. The company turned to motor racing to raise their profile, and Louis and Marcel quickly garnered success in the first French city-to-city races. Marcel was tragically killed in an accident during the 1903 Paris to Madrid race, and although Louis would choose never to race again, he remained committed to motor racing, his company taking out the inaugural Grand Prix race of 1906 in a Renault AK 90CV.

Renault went on to manufacture cars, taxis, buses and commercial vehicles in the pre-war years, however they turned to munitions, airplanes and even the Renault FT-17 tank during World War 1. Louis Renault was honored by the Allies for his company's contributions to their victory, and by wars end Renault was the number one private manufacturer in France. A dark period for the manufacturer came during the next conflict, Renault using their factories to manufacture trucks for Nazi Germany. Just how Louis Renault should have played his hand during this dark period of history remains debatable, but following the liberation of France in 1944 he was arrested and sent to prison; he would be killed (broken neck) before having time to prepare his defense.

The Renault industrial assets were seized by the provisional government, their factories becoming a public concern. Against the odds, new chief Pierre Lefaucheux would lead the company into a resurgence, mostly attributable to the wonderful 4CV model, a car that rivaled the German Beetle and British Morris Minor.

Renault 4CV  

Renault 4CV

1947 - 1961
The first French car to reach the 1 million sales figure, the Renault 4CV was manufactured from 1946 to 1961, it being inspired by the economy and design of the Volkswagen Beetle. During World War II and with Germany occupying France Renault was under very strict instructions to design and manufacture military and commercial vehicles.  Fernand Picard, Charles-Edmond Serre and Jean-Auguste Riolfo lead the team to design a small economical motor vehicle which was suitable for the difficult years that immediately occurred post World War 2. More >>
Renault Fregate  

Renault Fregate

1951 - 1960
Most commentators of the day felt the Fregate was Renaults attempt to move "up market", an ambitious attempt given the company was still under the control of the French Government following its incestuous relationship with the 3rd Reich. More >>
Renault Dauphine  

Renault Dauphine

1956 - 1968
The Dauphine was, like its predecessor the 4CV, a unibody constructed vehicle. The Dauphine however, was a four door sedan with conventionally opening doors, unlike the "suicide" doors of the 4CV. More >>
Renault Caravelle  

Renault Caravelle

1959 - 1968
Renault entered the American postwar market in 1949 with the small 4CV sedan. This car struggled with its tiny 760cc 19-bhp rear-mounted, water-cooled engine. With a top speed of around 55 mph it was almost unsalable in the US resulting in only 1400 sales in that time declining to 374 by 1952. In 1953 Renault made some changes of adding the 110 ¼ inch wheel base, 60 bhp Fregate sedan but it was priced nearly $400 more than a Buick special, so it never got off the ground. More >>
Renault 4  

Renault 4

1961 - 1993
The Renault 4 was the first car with a fifth door, and thus it was the first true hatchback. Today it remains the most produced French car ever, reaching production figures over 8,000,000... More >>
Renault Alpine A110  

Renault Alpine A110

1963 - 1973
It was when Renault put a modified 1600 cc. engine borrowed from the R16 that the Alpine became a world beater, taking the first 3 places in Monte Carlo Rally in 1971 and World Rally Championships in 1971 and 1973. More >>
Renault 8  

Renault 8

1963 - 1971
At the time, many journalists thought the R8 was a step backward for Renault as they had, the previous year, released the R4 with a more traditional front engine / front-wheel drive configuration. What Renault engineers banked on was the continuing popularity of rear engined cars in the European market. More >>
Renault 16  

Renault 16

1964 - 1979
When Renault introduced its model 16 in December 1964 the concept of a five-door saloon was very new. It used a rear hatchback door with fold-down rear seats and although it had awkward styling, at the time it was unique. More >>
Renault 16TS  

Renault 16TS

1968 - 1979
The Renault engineers had done far more than simply bore the motor out a little, and the 16TS remains an object lesson in how to make something good something great. More >>
Renault 6  

Renault 6

1968 - 1971
The Renault 6 was designed to supercede the Renault 4, and part of its design brief was that it should be larger, better looking and more luxurious - and thus more expensive. More >>
Renault 12  

Renault 12

1969 - 1980
The Renault 12 featured very modern styling (for 1969!) which had clean, straight-cut lines featuring a classic "3 box" layout of four doors and a boot - however it was never as good as the Renault 16. More >>
Renault 10  

Renault 10

1965 - 1971
If you took the time to take more than a casual glance at the Renault 10, you would quickly realise just how magnificiently proportioned and well engineered this wonderful car was, its sleek thoroughbred lines, its discreet touches of chrome. It was beautiful, elegant and restrained, a beauty that was so typically French. More >>
Renault 5  

Renault 5

1972 - 1996
It was Renault's first supermini, and its most prominent feature was its styling by Michel Boue (who died before the car's release), which included a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front fascia. More >>
Renault 16TX  

Renault 16TX

1973 - 1979
Given the Renault 16TS had been released in 1968, to some extent the car had dated, however the TX remained a fascinating car nevertheless. More >>
Renault 30TS  

Renault 30TS

1975 - 1981
On April 25th, 1975 the Renault 30TS went on sale in its native France, offering more of everything than any modern Renault, and signalling to the rest of the world that the French factory intended to continue offering highly individual machinery throughout their range. More >>
Renault American Alliance  

Renault American Alliance

1982 - 1987
The Renault American Alliance was more than just a new car at its release. Indeed many considerred it to be an important political event, marking the strong return of Renault to the American market through the medium of its relationship with American Motors, which built the Alliance - an Americanized R9 - in its plant at Kenosha, Wisconsin. More >>
Renault 5 Turbo  

Renault 5 Turbo

1980 - 1984
Set on fully exploiting their turbo image, the Regie Renault started to a modified R5 for Group 4 in 1975. Not only was the car intended to be a challenger in the World Rally Championship, it was also to be sold to the (sporting) public in detuned form, and was to embody a 'silhouette' look relevant to the front-drive/front-engined R5 hatchback so that the homme dans la rue could identify with the new car. More >>
Renault Fuego  

Renault Fuego

1980 - 1984
By no stretch of imagination could Renault's pre 1980 coupe range be deescribed as an overwhelming success. But things were about to change, with the release of a new semi-sporting two-door series which the big French manufacturer made great efforts to combine good looks with technical refinement. More >>
Renault 21 Turbo

Renault 21 Turbo

1986 - 1994
It had never been fashionable in France to knock the Regie, even when it was in dire difficulties in 1984-85, and Renault's return to full health was never in any doubt; only the speed at which this resurgence had been achieved. The 21 Turbo was a fine car - and ushered a new era of performance Renaults that we enjoy to this day. More >>
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