Places & Things
Our first experience with a Renault 4 was a ride from Nice, France along the Haute Corniche, a mountain road with steep inclines, sharp curves and sudden 180° turns. We were on our way to La Turbie, a small ProvenÇal town overlooking Monaco and the sea.
One point must be made— this car is no rocket. Even with the engine flat out it struggled up the steeper slopes. Car after car passed us effortlessly as we continued to proceed at our turtlesque, "slow but steady" pace of travel. In the end, the only car that remained behind us was another Renault 4. Whether it was a bond brought on by our common choice of transportation or simply a lack of power that kept him there, it was nice to have the company.
The Renault 4 was released in 1961 as a replacement for the 4CV. It was the world's first 5 door hatchback and was extremely popular among farmers. The base engine was a 747cc from the 4CV although different engines were offered at various times during the little Renault's life.
The famous Renault 5 brought the company into the modern front wheel drive hatchback space in the 70s, but it did not kill off the 4. In fact, the company did not cease production until 1992, when EC legislation was introduced that required improvements to the gearshift design and emissions.
The Renault 4 was the company's second bestselling car after the 5, with 8,126,200 sold in over 30 years. They are still a very common sight around France and many other European countries. Catch a ride in one if you have the chance.