CAR OF 1961 RE­NAULT 4

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

1961 presents many choices for car of the year; aside from the Jaguar E-type or Mini Cooper, there is the Citroën Ami 6, the Simca 1000, the Jaguar MkX, the VW Type 3, the Tri­umph TR4 or the Lan­cia Flavia. But for mil­lions of driv­ers, one of the key mo­tor­ing devel­op­ments was the launch of the Re­nault 4. Af­ter years of the di­a­mond badge be­ing as­so­ci­ated with small rearengined cars, the R4 was the first front-wheel drive car from La RŽgie.

Its wheel­base was three inches longer on the right to ac­com­mo­date the rear tor­sion bars and the en­gine was air-cooled and de­void of grease points – es­sen­tial for Re­nault’s African mar­kets. ‘Four seats and four big doors, scarcely a cu­bic inch of use­less space that can­not carry some­thing, a sus­pen­sion sys­tem that can cope with ploughed field and boule­vard alike,’ mused Au­to­car in 1963.

The R4 was of­fered at a very rea­son­able cost – the De Luxe’s £581 5s 3d was quite a bar­gain for a car with a stan­dard heater. The body was sub­limely min­i­mal­ist and it was great fun to drive. Success seemed in­evitable, with any­one need­ing space for ‘chil­dren, prams, wives, gro­ceries, hus­bands, dogs, bags, bag­gage – and room to spare be­sides.’

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