Renault’s Sixties winner is ready to rock again
IT has been out of production since 1994 but that’s no reason to ignore the 40th birthday next year of the best-selling French car of all time and, for obsolete models, the world number three after the Beetle and the Model T. Citroen’s 2CV was a familiar sight when the essence of the Renault 4 was occurring to Pierre Dreyfus in 1956. The Renault chief wanted a “versatile, inexpensive car with a worldwide calling which could match the changes in society that were being observed as the 1960s approached.” The 4 had its debut at the 1961 Paris Motor Show. It was Renault’s first vehicle with front wheel drive. Britain had the Mini but the boxy R4 was more versatile with its full-length tailgate. It didn’t drive as sweetly as a Mini but was a fine example of utility with fun, was made in 28 countries and sold in 100 markets. Renault took it racing, with entries in the 1962 and 1963 Monte Carlo rallies and a third place in the gruelling 1980 Paris-Dakar event. To kick off the 40th celebrations, three works 4s have been entered in the Monte Carlo rally on January 27, driven by Jean Ragnotti, Manu Guigou and Michel Duvernay. The Ragnotti car will be given away in a prize draw, held at the 4L International meeting in Thenay, Loir-et-Cher, in July.