The French multi-national car manufacturer Renault has been producing cars and vans since 1899, and has a long history of manufacturing everything from trucks, tractors, and tanks, to buses and autorail vehicles. Renault also has a known role for its motor sport such as rallying and Formula 1, with Marcel Renault winning the 1902 Rallye Paris-Vienna. In the modern day, prolific Renault dealers offer the current model line-up such as the Clio, Kwid, Twizy, Zoe and Kadjar, but with classic Renault cars still being popular, with the Renault Car Club being founded in 2001, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to classic Renault cars.

Renault 5 Alpine Turbo

The Renault 5 Alpine Turbo was launched in 1982, and could reach a top speed of 111.8mph and went from 0-60 in 8.7 seconds as it was fitted with a GT turbo system, making it ideal for racing as a classic performance car. The Renault 5 Alpine was one of the first hot-hatches that was launched, and the Turbo version was the Renault 5 Alpine’s upgraded successor. The Renault 5 Alpine and Alpine Turbo was called the Gordini in the UK because Chrysler already had the rights to the ‘Alpine’ name.

Renault 8

This rear-engined car was launched in 1962. The design of the Renault 8 Gordini looked similar to the Alfa Romeo prototype tip 103 which was not a surprise considering the close business relationship the two brands had. Further along the line, the Renault 8 was upgraded as a more powerful model, featuring a 1108 cc engine, and then updated again to create the Renault 8 Gordini. The faster models of the Renault 8 were often used in rally racing.

Renault 4

This classic car, known in France as the Quatrelle, was first produced in 1961 and was the first front-wheel drive family car produced by Renault. Over eight million of the cars were built and was exceptionally spacious for its size and is regarded as the first mass-production hatchback car. The suspension on this car was an innovative design as it had four-wheel torsion bar independent suspension, which was then to be used on subsequent front-engine Renault cars. The Renault 4 GTL (one of the upgrades of the Renault 4) was raced in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1993 and the Tour de Corse in 1991.

Renault Estafette

This small, front-wheel drive van was first introduced in 1959 and with the production of the Estafette, Renault became the only auto-maker in the world to produce and sell vehicles with all three different drive configurations: front engine front wheel drive, rear engine rear wheel drive and front engined rear wheel drive. The van was produced as a rival to the Citroen H Van which was launched in 1947 and was an immediate success. The emphasis on economy and practicality was where Estafette excelled, and the tailgate of the pickup version of the van could be used as a convenient loading ramp, and a minibus version was also later introduced which seated eight passengers in addition to the driver.


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