With the demise of the Renault 4CV in 1961, Renault needed a new utility vehicle to compete with the ubiquitous if agricultural Citroen 2CV which had been in production since 1948.
Renault Chairman Pierre Dreyfus came up with an urban vehicle that was superior to the 2CV in almost every aspect in the form of the front wheel drive Renault 4.
Built from 1961 to 1994 the Renault 4 was powered by a variety of motors from 747 cc 45.6 cui to 1300 cc 78.7 cui all water cooled in line 4 cylinder engines. In the first year there was a baby R4 with a 603 cc 36.7 cui engine marketed in France only as the R3.
Over 8,300,000 Renault 4’s were built, the 1st million had been built by 1966 in just over four years. Renault 4 was built / assembled at Billancourt, France in Australia, Spain, Belgium, Colombia, Slovenia, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Ireland, Morocco, Algeria and from 1965 to 1964 41, 809 R4’s were built under licence by Alfa Romeo in Italy.
Few people outside Renault and the motor industry realise that the Renault 4 has an asymmetrical wheel base with the left hand rear wheel being mounted just ahead of the right rear because each wheel is sprung by its own torsion bar mounted across the width of the chassis.
Like the 2CV the Renault 4 has a box chassis unlike the 2CV the R4’s chassis stiffness is dependant on all the body panels being attached.
A 20hp Renault 4 was entered in the 1962 Monre Carlo Rally in which it was classified last, an all wheel drive Sinpar version came 3rd in the 1980 Paris Dakar Rally and to celebrate it’s 50th Birthday a team of three Renault 4’s were entered in the 2011 Monte Carlo Rally.
Renault 4’s are great fun to drive with dash mounted umbrella gear sticks and hand brake levers,
happy Golden Anniversary Renault 4 !
My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for reminding me of this anniversary.
Hope you have enjoyed today’s asymmetrical edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for another 50th Anniversary. Don’t forget to come back now !