Renault 8 Gordini 1300 (1967)

Renault 8 Gordini 1300 (1967)
Renault 6 (1968)

Renault 6 (1968)
Renault 12 TL (1969)

Renault 12 TL

The Renault 12 was a large family car produced by the French manufacturer Renault between 1968 and 1980. Available as a sedan and station wagon, it was also produced under licence in many countries across the globe into the early 21st century.

In its first few years the 12 received praise from the European press for its spacious, comfortable interior, its styling, its performance and its low fuel consumption. However it fared worse in the North American press: in a test of the 1974 model, Road & Track was critical of the engine's "obtrusive" noise, and called the heavy, non-power steering "a serious design flaw". They also gave it "very poor marks" for the ventilation system.

Renault 12 production and sales ended in most of Europe in 1980, but the model continued to be produced and sold by Renault affiliates worldwide. The last R12 was produced in 1999 in Turkey, whilst Romanian automaker Dacia continued producing R12-based cars until 2004 and was still producing the 12 based Gamma pick-up in 2006.

The project

In 1965, Renault began to study a new model to bridge the gap between the Renault 8 and the Renault 16. The demands for Project 117 were:
"The car had to be economical, not very sophisticated. It had to have a roomy interior, and a large boot, and a small engine will suffice. The car had to be easy to produce, so it could be made all over the world. It had to be reliable for the export markets, and comfortable enough for France. It should be usable as a base for multiple variations."

The Renault 12's design dates back to the genesis of the Renault 16; indeed, some initial R16 concept designs resemble the R12 more than the ultimate design of the R16. However, the R12 was technically quite different from either the R16 or the smaller Renault 4. Like all new Renaults at the time the car had front wheel drive, but the R12 had a very different layout. The engine was placed longitudinally ahead of the front wheels, while it was behind the wheels on the R4 and R16; the engine itself was the iron cast Cléon unit used since 1962 in the Renault 8/10 (the engine's size was increased to 1289 cc for use in the 12). The placement of the engine allowed the R12 to have a very simple design of the gear-selector that was placed on the floor of the car, and not on the dashboard as with the R4 or on the steering column as with the R16. The handle to operate the handbrake was placed under the dashboard. The R12's suspension differed from the R4 and R16 also, using a rigid (but light) rear axle as opposed to four-wheel independent suspension.

Renault 4 Van (1969)

Renault 4 Van

The Renault 4, also known as the 4L (pronounced "Quatrelle", which could be heard as "4 wings" in French), is a supermini produced by the French auotmaker Renault between 1961 and 1993. It was the first front-wheel drive Renault.


The Renault 4 was Renault's response to the 1948 Citroën 2CV. Renault was able to review the plusses and minuses of the 2CV design and come up with a larger, more urban vehicle. In the spring of 1956, Renault Chairman Pierre Dreyfus launched this new project: designing a new model to replace the rear engined 4CV that would become an everyman's car, capable of satisfying the needs of anybody. It would be a family car, a woman's car, a farmer's car, a city car. It would also be suitable for motorists around the world.

The production Renault 4 was finally revealed at the Paris Salon de l'Automobile in 1961, in the L version (L for Luxe), hence the popular name 4L.

Early versions used engines and transmissions from the Renault 4CV. The initial transmission was a 3-speed manual, an obsolete feature when compared to the four-speed manual of the thirteen-year old Citroën 2CV. Unlike the 4CV, which was a full monocoque, the R4 body was bolted on to a chassis. However, the body had a structural role and the chassis could twist if the body was removed without proper shoring. This semi-monocoque construction would later allow Renault to build other models on the R4 platform like the Renault 6 and the successful Renault 5. The R4 had four-wheel independent suspension. A surprising, yet often unnoticed, feature on the R4 is its shorter wheelbase on the left than on the right. This allowed a very simple design of the rear suspension using transverse torsion bars, and didn't affect the handling of the car. The front torsion bars were longitudinal. During its production run it was regarded as an estate car but in retrospect some now say the Renault 4 pioneered the hatchback body style, and is therefore significant in the history of car design. It was not the first, however, to introduce a top-hinged single-unit tailgate, which is one of the distinguishing features of the hatchback body style: the 1954 Citroën Traction Avant also included this innovation, while the earlier Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk1 of 1953 also had a small top-hinged tailgate.

Renault 8 S (1970)

Renault 8 S (1970)
Renault Alpine A 110 (1970)

Renault Alpine A 110

The Alpine A110 also known as the "Berlinette" was a sports car produced by the French manufacturer Alpine from 1961 to 1973. The A110 was powered by various Renault engines.

The Alpine A110 was introduced in 1961 as an evolution of the A108. Like other road-going Alpines the A110 made heavy use of mass-produced Renault parts. But while the A108 was designed around Dauphine components, the A110 was updated to use R8 parts. Unlike the A108 available first as a cabriolet and later as a Coupé, the A110 was delivered only with "Berlinetta" bodyworks. The main visible difference with the A108 Coupé was a restyling of the rear body that gave the car a more aggressive look. Like the A108, the A110 featured a steel backbone chassis with fiberglass body. This design was influenced by the Lotus Elan, Colin Chapman being a major source of inspiration for Alpine designers at that time.

The A110 was originally available with 1.1L R8 Major or R8 Gordini engines. The Gordini engine delivered 95 hp SAE at 6500 rpm.

The A110 achieved most of its fame in the early 1970s as a victorious rally car. After winning several rallies in France in the late 1960s with iron-cast R8 Gordini engines the car was fitted with the aluminium block Renault 16 TS engine. With two dual chamber Weber 45 carburetors the new engine was able to deliver 125 hp DIN at 6000 rpm. This allowed the production 1600S to reach a top speed of 210 km/h.

The car reached international fame during the 1970-1972 seasons competing in the newly created "International rally championship for makers", winning several events around Europe and became considered to be one of the strongest rally cars of its time. Among notable performances the car won the 1971 Monte-Carlo Rally with Swedish driver Ove Andersson.

Renault 5 TL (1971)

Renault 5 TL

The Renault 5 is a supermini produced by the French automaker Renault in two generations between 1972 and 1996. It was sold in the U.S. branded Le Car in the 1970s and 1980s.

First generation (1972–1984)

The Renault 5 was introduced in January 1972. It was Renault's first foray into the supermini market, 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. Boue had wanted the taillights to go all the way up from the bumper into the C-pillar, in the fashion of the much later Volvo V70, but this was not to be. The lights remained at a more conventional level.

Underneath the skin, it borrowed heavily from the Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension. OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4, Renault 8 and Renault 12, and ranged from 850 to 1400 cc.

Early R5s used an idiosyncratic dashboard-mounted gearshift in true French style, but this was later dropped in favour of a floor mounted shifter. The other distinctive feature was the door handles, which were formed simply from a cut-out in the door panel and B-pillar. Other versions of the first car included the Renault 5 Alpine (Gordini in the United Kingdom), Alpine/Gordini Turbo, and a four-door sedan version was called the Renault 7 and built by FASA-Renault of Spain.

The Renault Le Car, which was designed exclusively for the North American market and sold by American Motors saw its introduction delayed until 1976 due to high demand in Europe. This choice of name was much-ridiculed among Francophones, as it literally means "the coach". The U.S. version featured a 1297cc engine that produced 55hp, and the dash mounted gear change was substituted for a more conventional floor mounted unit. Sales continued through 1984.

Renault 8 (1972)

Renault 8 (1972)
Renault 15 TL (1973)

Renault 15 TL (1973)
Renault 16 TX (1973)

Renault 16 TX

The Renault 16 was an executive car produced by French manufacturer Renault between 1965 and 1980 in Sandouville, Le Havre, France.

The R16 was voted European Car of the Year by a board of European motoring journalists in 1966. Over 1,845,959 R16s were produced during the model's lifetime.

In the autumn of 1965, Renault launched one of the world's first hatchbacks - a halfway move between a saloon and estate bodystyle which would eventually become the most popular car bodystyle in the world.

It sold well in most of Europe, winning praise for its spacious and comfortable interior. Equipment levels were also high for the price. Initially, Renault sold the R16 with just a 1.4 L gasoline engine in GL specification; then followed the 1.6 L TS which could top 100 mph. The top-line model was the TX, which was launched in 1973 and had a 5-speed manual transmission. Equipment included power windows and central door locking, features previously unknown on family cars in Europe.

Production of the Renault 16 lasted until 1980 when it was finally replaced by the less successful Renault 20. Even by this stage, when it was nearly 15 years old, the Renault 16 was still one of the most popular and highly rated family cars on sale in Europe. Current Renault styling chief Patrick le Quement has made no secret his admiration for the R16 - and incorporated a subtle tribute to its "bird-beak" grille in the corporate look he devised for many of the models (Laguna, Mégane, Scénic) that the company launched in the 1990s.

By the time the Renault 16 ceased production most other European manufacturers had at least one hatchback on sale, with the idea just starting to rub off on Asian and American makers. The most significant hatchbacks influenced by the Renault 16 between 1965 and 1979 include the following: Austin Maxi (1969), Fiat 127 (1971), Peugeot 104 (1972), Volkswagen Golf (1974), Chrysler Alpine (1975), Opel Kadett City (1975), Rover SD1 (1976), Ford Fiesta (1977), and the Chrysler Horizon (1977).