Renault was at the Epoqu'Auto 2014 historic car show in Lyon with mythical models —such as the famous fifty-year-old R8 Gordini— in a 1,000 square metre exhibition area. The operation was masterminded by Renault Classic, with valuable support from twenty FCRA (French Federation of Renault & Alpine Clubs) member clubs.
On the occasion of the European heritage days on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September, Renault will be taking part in the events organised by the town of Boulogne-Billancourt, the brand’s historical home. The programme includes a parade of vintage cars through the town, a car exhibition in the “Renault Histoire” museum and events on the Île Seguin. A mouth-watering menu for car-lovers from near and far!
For the launch of new Twingo, let’s look back at the history of small Renault cars, each one of which has successfully responded to changes in society and still holds a special place in the hearts of motorists.
September 5, 1956. The whistle of a turbine echoes across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA. The sound issues from a singular-looking blue vehicle, Renault’s Etoile Filante (Shooting Star). Developer Jean Hébert takes to the wheel for the vehicle’s first outdoor run, after two years of wind-tunnel testing. Several minutes later the Etoile Filante sets a new land speed record, peaking at 308.85 km/h. Read on as we look back at the history of the experimental car – the Renault missile that proved the world’s fastest car!
More powerful cars… Even right at the start of the 20th century that was what carmakers wanted, and their main showcase was motor racing. Louis Renault had become a leading name in the automobile world since the launch in 1898 of his “Voiturette” with a De Dion Bouton engine and revolutionary direct drive transmission. But it was only in 1902 that Renault began designing its own engines.
The term “design” only appeared at Renault in 1988 when Patrick le Quément, a designer who began his career with Simca before moving on to management posts with Ford and Volkswagen-Audi, was asked by Renault chairman Raymond H. Lévy to head what was still called Renault Styling. By giving styling a more important role, Mr Lévy hoped to restore the company’s image. Mr le Quément, given a free hand, set up the Corporate Design Department with a radically new structure and working methods.
As the Second World War ended, France was torn between a desire for consumer products and a weak economy. The demand for cars was promising but not yet cost-effective, and manufacturers’ machine-tooling equipment had not yet been replaced.