This year, the Renault 4 blows out sixty candles. Of course there is every reason to consider that. Renault built the successor to the 4CV for almost 33 years. Without too drastic adjustments and in various designs. More than eight million copies left the factory gates. This put him in the top 10 of most built cars in history.
The Renault 4. Once a Swedish journalist called it the most important car of the 2s. With front-wheel drive, two more cylinders than the 3CV, the fifth door, two side-by-side torsion bars at the rear and a recognizable and practical design, the Renault broke new ground within the small class. The French also had the Spartan Renault 4 on the program, but it quickly cleared the field. The Renault XNUMX did become a keeper.
Plastic model from NOREV
I cherish fond memories of the Renault 4. As a kid he already spoke to me. I remember very well that I received a plastic model from my parents. That was the 1:43 version of NOREV. The toys R4 fascinated me. It came close to the real R4. The tailgate could open, and the back of the back seat could be lowered. That made the miniature Renault lifelike and often played. Within six months it was done with the cart, but Sinterklaas provided a replacement. I can thus evoke the smell of the model, and also the special feeling that I had with it.
Roadside assistance version of Bburago
That sense of true-to-life reappeared in 1979. We celebrated Sinterklaas at grandma de Mooij in Haarlem. I no longer believed in the saint, but I had asked him to put Bburago's Renault 4 Roadside Assistance in the parcel basket. And that happened. I was still a child, my joy was ditto. This toy car was also lifelike, with real pawns and a warning sign. I had it for years, eventually it ended up as a wrecker in an old school bag. Sin, sin.
From the Dutch yearbooks
What I also thought was a shame was the fact that the Dutch importer removed the Renault 4 for 1987 from the program. The Renault 4 had already had a number of metamorphoses at that time. Changed grilles, the removal of the sliding flap under the windscreen, the arrival of the GTL, the Safari: it all still resonates with me. I always followed the Renault 4 with its different wheelbase left and right, and I was sincerely sorry that the sympathetic Frenchman was no longer in the Dutch car yearbooks from 1987. Still, I remained a fan.
This became apparent, for example, when I made a report with the Renault 4 in good condition which was offered by Egbert Spinder from Nosstalgia. I kind of got home in the cart, which put a smile on my face. A few years earlier I was also under the spell of an R4. This was in Vlaardingen, garage de l'Est offered the copy from a late year of construction. I was thinking about making this Renault mine. The omens were good, and as if it had to be that way, I came into contact with an R4 club member on Terschelling. Not much later, however, a VW 1303 crossed my path, that was love at first sight. After deliberation, I chose the Volkswagen, and I was very happy with that for years. But I still often thought of the Renault I didn't buy. With a little pain in the heart.
The Renault 4 in the door to door newspaper
It was not the first time that I had a Foursome shot. Years earlier, in 1992, I fished a house to house newspaper in Leeuwarden from the letterbox of my student flat. I always spelled out that newspaper, especially because of the privately offered cars in the Frisian capital. These were often in a price category that was manageable for a student with a side job. I also came across an R4 from 1980, with five months MOT. It was for sale for two hundred and fifty guilders, so I gave it a call. Then I made an appointment to drive the Renault the next day.
"Fred Flintstone, Pleasant"
The front door opened, the owner introduced himself. "Fred Flintstone, nice." Then I already knew enough. The seller's joke confirmed the poor condition in which I had already found the Viertje. “Just take it with you for a few days”. I made a lot of kilometers with the Viertje. The motor was fine, but to develop brake pressure I had to pump structurally. The sliding windows rattled and the seats sagged. The ventilation options in the floor made available by Mother Nature did their job well, because there was considerable draft in the Renault. Five months MOThow in the world was that possible.
"Still deserved something"
I didn't buy the R4, but I never forgot it. The cart was cozy, the two-day fun was enormous. The simplicity was a revelation, the umbrella poker charming, the pedals were close together, and the comfort was sublime. Moreover, I made good progress with it. And people laughed, gave me a thumbs up, I got a blink now and then. But the ratio indicated that I simply could not buy this car. With a little regret and a full tank, I eventually brought the Renault back. The seller understood my considerations not to buy the Renault. He laughed and said goodbye with the legendary words: “A full tank? Ha ha, well deserved. ”
A persistent weakness
The Renault 4. I have a soft spot for it. Because this was a car that carried practical charm in all its simplicity. It was the simple and good technique. In versatility. In space. In the design that everyone can draw. And in that back seat, that told all about the great possibilities of a small car, which became very big. Congratulations, Renault 4!
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