1. (1962) Renault Rambler
1962 Renault Rambler
Lets start off with the 1962 Renault Rambler which at the time occupied the place at the top of Renault's lineup of cars throughout the 50's. The design of the rambler made it look a lot more ahead of it's time compared to its competitors from Citroen or Peugeot and it came in a saloon or estate form. However, in 1955 Citroen released its new car, the DS which was arguably more beautiful than the Rambler in design and more appealing to buy.
Renault already had plans to create a new executive saloon from scratch but because of this new car from Citroen, they made a deal with American Motors Corporation (AMC) to build and sell the Rambler all across Europe. The Rambler was then built in Belgium and came with a 3.2litre l6 engine which produced 129hp.
However, even with all this effort to get the Rambler in the showrooms in more countries it unfortunately was a sales disaster and was way too expensive for what you got. In addition, many people didn't like the American styled design, so in America at least, the Rambler went out of production in 1969.
1962 Renault Rambler interior
2. (1965) Renault 16
1965 Renault 16
Renault didn't give up on the idea of making a luxury car, so after people ignored the Rambler they created a couple years earlier, Renault brought in a new designer called Gaston Juchet who ditched the saloon style body and came up with a more practical hatchback shaped look with a more simple design and Renaults front-wheel drive layout seen on previous gen cars.
Now, unlike the Rambler this 16 came with more luxury features like an automatic gearbox or power door locks and powered windows. All of this helped people to recognise that the 16 was the new car at the top of Renaults lineup.
After the 16, Renault looked to replace it with the 20 and after that a model called the 30. Both of these were released in 1975 however the 16 was kept on sale up until 1980 and it was the opposite of what the Rambler was because Renault sold over 1.8 million 16's in lots of countries all around the world.
1965 Renault 16 interior
3. (1972) Monica 560
1972 Monica 560
Monica was created in the late 60's by a French man called Jean Tastevin who wanted to create the ultimate luxury saloon. This would be a car to rival the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Maserati or even Aston Martin. The 560 was designed in partnership with former F1 driver Chris Lawrence. Tastevin named the car in honor of his wife Monique and the 560 comes from the engines displacement.
The 560 made it's debut at the 1972 Paris motor show and was produced a year later. The production model received a contemporary looking body and a 5.6litre V8 from a Chrysler. However, the 560 sadly came around at the wrong time because in 1973 the oil crisis meant that thirsty V8s collapsed. In addition, the French government enforced stricter speed limits which meant that there wasn't much point of buying a car like the Monica.
Despite all of this though, Jean didn't give up on his idea of creating the 560 and priced it in the same region as the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. this was not only expensive for a small French companies first car but because of the oil crisis, it is said that Tastevin built no more than 17 regular production models.
1972 Monica 560 interior
4. (1989) Peugeot 605
1989 Peugeot 605
The Peugeot 605 was a huge step in in-car electronics for Peugeot. It was an expensive move for them but it was necessary if they were going to compete with the likes of Audi, Mercedes and BMW in the luxury saloon market. The 605 was originally offered with a petrol powered four and six cylinder engines.
It was also praised at the time for it's comfort and luxurious atmosphere. However, whilst all of these positive comments from reviews were flowing in, there were some bad reliability and electrical issues too. Peugeot issued several recalls but soon it was no use and the reliability had completely ruined the cars reputation.
Peugeot thought it could produce around 500,000 examples of the 605 in 10 years however, in 1999 when the car went out of production they only managed to sell about 250,000 units.
1989 Peugeot 605 interior
5. (1983) Renault 25
1983 Renault 25
Renault executives imagined that the 25 would propel Renault back into the world of luxury cars. The cars that Peugeot and Citroen were producing were starting to show their age and now this was Renaults chance to finally build a car that would be able to compete with the Germans. The engineers were given a generous budget and so were the designers, in order to make a car that was reliable, safe and looked ahead of its time.
On paper things were looking promising however, due to cost cutting the 25 became another unreliable 4 door saloon. The company didn't even try to hide this factor with the companies boss Raymond Levy once revealing his own 25 breaking down.
1983 Renault 25 interior
So there you are, 5 glorious French luxury cars. Now these are in no particular order, I just picked 5 that I thought were quite cool and interesting. I hope you enjoyed reading!