by Johanna Patterson
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.
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 WWII.
were constructed from 1942 – 1945
with the launch occurring in 1946 at the Paris Motor
Show. It was the nicknamed “la motte de beurre” (the
lump of butter) due to its shape and the fact that
many early models were painted with left over yellow
German army paint.
The Renault 4CV was powered by
a 748cc engine that produced 17 hp, with a three
speed manual transmission.
Sales were poor initially
due to the desperate state of the French economy
but by mid 1949 37,000 had been sold resulting in
this little lump of butter being the most popular
car in France!
For the next ten years it was manufactured
and the intent was to replace it with the Dauphine
which was launched in 1956. But this little popular
butter lump remained in production until 1961 being
eventually replaced by the Renault 4 which housed
the same motor and was priced about the same. The
poor old Dauphine was discontinued in 1962.
numbers of the 4cv totaled 1,105,547 making the 4cv
the first French car to sell over one million. With
sales this high it seems the French really do like
their butter!! It was also manufactured in Japan
under licence by Hino Motors Limited but here at
Uniquecarsandparts we are not sure if the Japanese
nicknamed it “little lump of sushi”!!
colorful history included victories at Le Mans and Mille Miglia
. The 4cv was very easy to modify meaning
it was often spotted on a race track. The Alpine
Company and Renault collaborated to win the World
Rally championship with a car based on the 4cv, the