Renault’s 5. The 4. The Dauphine. All iconic little cars from the Diamond brand that sold well into the millions within a single generation. Since their time, there have been plenty of generations of small Renaults that have gone into the seven digits, but only one truly captured the pizzazz and joie de vivre of the early hatchbacks: the Renault Twingo I.

Recognized the world over and popularized as an internet meme, there’s really very little to dislike about the micro-minivan layout of the original Twingo.

It was simple, rugged, incredibly spacious, and extremely adorable. Le Quément’s timeless design changed the landscape of city car design forever, implementing the one-box concept and encouraging “friendlier” aesthetics.

The “twist-swing-tango” even had a joyful name that characterized its cheerful and carefree intent and Europe snapped it up in huge numbers.

Today, the car has been immortalized through these miniature-scale renditions with:

a 1:72 Hongwell
a ~1:60 Majorette
and a ~1:55 Norev.

The next Twingo was a bit of a letdown in comparison.

It showed little of the thoughtful French touches of the original or the engineering genius that created the revolutionary one-box city car.

Rather, it was just a mini-Clio, although thankfully it engendered the larger car’s excellent driving dynamics.

Welly, Majorette, and Norev have all offered 3-inch versions and here is Norev’s, probably the best of the three.

Today, the Twingo is again completely avant-garde with its new Smart-developed rear-engine RWD chassis although unfortunately it lacks the charm and feel of the original.

A good car, yes, but not a “Twingo”.

Just another upright five-door. Norev and Majorette have replicated it so far in three-inch scale.

Majorette’s is a bit bigger (and thus comparing better with the earlier three-inch Norevs).
On the other hand, Norev has just begun pursuing true 1:64th scale and so the new Twingo from them is considerably smaller than Majorette’s as well as past Norevs.

All in all, Renault really has to bid a fond “Merci” to the original Twingo for creating an icon and a template for others to follow. Why they strayed from that simplistic and endearing design is for them to discover, and I hope that someday the Twingo nameplate regains its pizzazz and joyfulness.

That’s all from me today, I type this after a busy day of snorkeling with whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico so I’m pretty tired out! Thanks for reading as always, and I’ll see you around LaLD!