- The Renault 4, an European car or just a French car?

The French motoring lifestyle : the Renault 4.

During my childhood, I lived in a town where you drive a Renault 4 easily and daily on the roads. Those cars symbolize a lot of things in the motoring world. So is it so frenchie to drive a Renault 4? Honestly, I’ve never understood why French people are so proud about that car.

I prefer admiring the classic cars but not driving them.

The Renault 4 called the 4L (pronounced "quatrelle") reflects some aspects of the French way of life. Once my father bought a Renault 4. He came back proud of his new acquisition. I've never liked that car. I drove a Toyota Yaris Hybrid during my driving lessons.

I'm a French young woman who use new technologies and prefer driving a Toyota than a Renault 4. Driving an old car is really cool for nostalgic automotive enthusiasts but I'm not that kind of people. I prefer admiring the classic cars but not driving them.

The Renault 4 would have been the "a real rival" of the French popular car, the famous Citroen 2CV. Fortunately, it is not the case. The 2CV model symbolizes the post era of the French motoring after the WW2. Produced between 1948 and 1990, those cars may be compared to the german beetles or the British Mini Austin. During the evolution of the motorism in the sixties, new models from Renault appeared while the supermarkets were developped everywhere in Europe. The Renault R3 and the Renault 4 (1961-1992) had to boost the motoring market. The 4L has never managed to replace the 2CV. Of course, that model seems to be the perfect car for the peasants and for the workers leaving their farms and their houses to work in the fields or the mafactories.

The Renault 4 had to replace the 2CV and its failings. The advertisement translate the main advantage of the new model developed by Renault in the 60s, the speed.

Those cars represent a particular lifestyle. Close your eyes and imagine how you can live having a Renault 4, the perfect hatchback economy car. Spending your weekends with your family in the countryside or buying your eggs, your cheese and your bread in a small village are the first things which you're thinking. I know, there are a lot of clichés but driving a 2 CV or a Renault 4 is just an ordinary thing. So why those cars are so popular?

I can’t deny the Renault 4 is a car of the people and a real champion to win the most popular races. In 1997, that car inspired the creators to create the 4L Trophy. Students can participate to this humanitarian rally in Africa to help children. Between the automotive feelings and the human feelings, our car is a hero for millions of people. Finally, the 'little' Renault 4 appears as a multigenerational and multicultural car for everyone. Old and young people discuss about that tiny mechanical thing without misunderstandings. Maybe the Renault 4 would be available with a new design and a modern soul with a style from the 21th century.

A new refreshed model of that multicultural car.

In 2011, new designs were imagined of the Renault 4 by David Obendorfer and other artists and engineers. You can watch the work of the italian designer on his website. Unfortunately, Renault don't plan to revive that popular car of the people unlike Volkswagen and the new beetle, Mini and its Mini Cooper or the Countryman and Fiat and the new model of the Fiat 500. Refine a practical and simple car would be easy. More than a car from the countryside, the drivers can drive the Renault 4 easily in the Parisian streets. Don't forget, the Fiat 500 and the Minis became so appreciated by the inhabitants of big cities. Small and practical to drive and park in the busy traffic jam and the narrow streets, they have the same advantages as the Italian Vespa.

Charlie Nghiem refined the 4L as a 4Lectric which have two electric batteries and photovoltaic plastic on the windows and the roof.

Would you be ready to drive those new hypothetical versions of the Renault 4? Do you believe an electric version of the 4L is possible? What would be your perfect Renault 4? Share your positions on that car in the comments and come on on the #classics, #conversation-street, #alternative-energy or #lifestyle to tell your experiences and your opinions.

Photos : instit.pagesperso-orange.fr, Pinterest, autotest.fr, www.avem.fr

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Comments (8)
  • I am an Australian and in 1989 my wife and I bought a little Renault 4 from an Amsterdam car market and drove 20,000 km through Yugoslavia, Greece, around Sicily and back to the UK and quite often off the beaten track. The only mechanical issue we had was to replace a spring and magnet in the alternator. It was a terrific little car and we have so many great memories and stories about it. Thank you for your story. Photo of my friends admiring the new hood ornament, a small plastic aeroplane, the propellers went around as we drove along.

    10 months ago
  • A very-very interesting and insightful article. I read it two times with a great pleasure. Thank you!

    Actually, when I was a child, we had an old Renault catalogue at home. Renault 4 was mentioned there as a car one could buy. Sweet memories.

    1 year ago
    1 Bump
    • Thank you. By writting that work, I thought to my childhood in the French countryside and how I saw the things at that time when I learnt to drive.

      1 year ago
      1 Bump
    • This perspective has worked out perfectly. The article is full of the flavour of individual reflections and experiences. I like this!

      1 year ago


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