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Renault

Renault Dauphine
From a rear engine layout for the 4 CV and its bigger brother Dauphine, there had been a swing towards front-wheel drive...

Renault 4
As far as individual models are concerned, the Renault 4 led production in 1967 with a figure double that of its nearest competitor, the Citroen Ami 6...

It was in the late 1800's that a young Frenchman called Louis Renault began tinkering with mechanical things. By 1898 he had taken over the tool shed at the bottom of the family garden and set about converting a de Dion tricycle into a four-wheeler. A year later he joined forces with his two brothers and formed Renault Freres, a company for the manufacture of cars.

By the mid 1960's the Renault empire had grown to employ close to 90,000 workers in a group of 15 companies. And it is between these important extremes that there is a romantic history. In the beginning the Renault brothers made a name for their voiturettes in the great road races of the era: Paris-Berlin, Paris- Madrid and Paris-Vienna, the greatest of them all.

Then they turned to volume production and diversification of interests with an 8 hp taxi in 1906, a vee-8 aero engine in 1907 and a production of cars in 1913 of over 10,000. With the 1914-18 war there was a switch to munitions and the sight of the revolutionary Renault light tank storming through the German lines in the last summer of the war must have been awesome.

The next 20 years of peace brought the foundations of the present Renault empire based on the Seine where the four main plants were linked by river barges. Three iron foundries, a steel and an aluminum foundry, rolling mills, stamping and press shops, were only the beginning. In the 1930's, motor sport and record breaking again brought the name of Renault to the headlines, both with cars and aircraft.

Then came the second world war, and Paris sunk in flames. When the reckoning came in 1944 it was estimated that over half the buildings, a third of the machines and, worst of all, the files and designs were all lost. Accused of collaboration, Louis Renault died in Fresnes prison in October 1944.

Out of the ashes came nationalisation, new management and a keen effort to revive. Cars were desperately needed all over the world, so it was decided to tool up for a high volume of economy cars. Thus the Renault 4 CV began, slowly at 12 per day in January 1948, rising to 225 per day by the end of the same year and to 400 per day in 1950. It ran for 16 years, until July 1961, by which time over one million had been made.

From a rear engine layout for the 4 CV and its bigger brother Dauphine, there had been a swing towards front-wheel drive. The replacement for the 4 CV, the plain Renault 4, and the top car in the Renault range, the Renault 16, both utilized front-wheel drive. The middle-sized Renault 8 and Renault 1100 however stuck with the original post-war configuration, by then much refined of course.

Since the Fregate of the early 1950's there had not been a Renault of more than 1 liter in engine capacity. On 22 April, 1966 an agreement was published between Renault and Peugeot to collaborate on research and provide mutual assistance in foreign markets. The first result of this co-operation was been the TS engine for the Renault 16 TS.

MAKE
1966
1967
Renault
37.5
40.2
Citroen
27.3
25.7
Peugeot
18.1
20.3
Simca
16.6
13.4

During the late 1960's Renault enjoyed a healthy increase in market share, the table left showing percentages of sales of French makes for the first six months of 1966 and 1967 respectively.

As far as individual models are concerned, the Renault 4 led production in 1967 with a figure double that of its nearest competitor, the Citroen Ami 6. That year Renault exports rose by 14 per cent, German sales leapt from 58,000 to 70,000 and British sales grew from 12,500 to 18,000. In addition to the French factories there were 30 assembly plants located in Ireland, Belgium, Canada, South America, Africa, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

The Renault's That Made The Company What It Is Today...
Model
Cap.
Ly.
Cp.
Pwr
Max
0-60
¼ Mile
Cs.
Tk.
Br.
Wb.
Tr.
Ht.
Wd.
Lt.
Tc.
St.
4L
845
F4
8.0
72
32.1
23.3
38.6
5
DR
8 0¼
4 1¼
5 0½
4 10½
12 0
28 6
4
8
1108
R4
8.5
82
20.6
21.9
36.4
8½
D
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 5½
4 10½
13 1
30 6
4
8 auto
1108
R4
8.5
-
-
-
-
8½
D
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 5½
4 10½
13 1
30 6
4
1100
1108
R4
8.5
-
-
-
-
8½
D
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 5½
4 10½
13 9¼
30 6
4
1100 auto
1108
R4
8.5
80
24.8
23.0
34.6
8½
D
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 5½
4 10½
13 9¼
30 6
4
1300 Gordini
1255
R4
10.5
108
10.9
17.7
22.5
14¼
DV
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 3½
4 10½
13 1
30 6
4
Caravelle Coupe
1108
R4
8.5
89
17.6
20.9
30.4
8½
D
7 5¼
4 1¼
4 3½
5 2
14 0
30 6
4
16
1470
F4
8.6
88
16.7
20.8
26.9
11
DF
8 11
4 1½
4 5½
5 5
13 10½
33 0
5
16TS
1565
F4
8.6
100+
12.9
18.6
28.0
11
DFV
8 11
4 1¾
4 5½
5 5
13 11¾
33 0
5

KEY TO DATA

F = front engine; R = rear engine; IL = in-line; DR = drum brakes all round; DF = front disc brakes; D = four wheel disc brakes; V = vacuum servo assistance. LEGEND: Cap = Engine Capacity; Ly = Engine Layout; Cp = Compression Ratio; Pwr = Net Power Output at specified RPM; Max = Maximum Speed in Miles Per Hour; 0-60 = 0-60 Miles Per Hour; ¼ Mile = Standing Quarter Mile; Cs = Fuel Consumption; Tk = Fuel Tank Capacity; Br = Brake Configuration; Wb = Wheelbase; Tr = Widest Track, Ht = Vehicle Height; Wd = Vehicle Width; Lt = Vehicle Length; Tc = Turning Circle; St = Seating Capacity.

Recommended Reading: Renault Car Reviews | Louis Renault

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