I’m actually a bit surprised I have not done a piece on the R4 yet. Sure, several Renault 4CV’s have passed already but it’s successor, the Renault 4, was quite a success for Renault as well. And, just as with the 4CV, there were several bodytypes available, thanks to it’s platform frame structure. No sporty barquettes though, although an R4 Sinpar (4WD!) did compete in a Paris-Dakar.
The R4 derivates were more fun cars, like the Renault Rodeo. Or truly utilitarian. Like this sapeurs-pompiers (fire brigade) ladder “truck”. Because why not? And the R4 and all it’s derivates were an even more commercial success then it’s predecessor. Within 5 years (1966) Renault had produced over one million cars!
And Renault kept producing it. Everywhere. It was built in France. In Argentina. In Morocco. In Mexico. Belgium. Australia. Italy. Ireland. Yugoslavia. The list is endless. It’s lifespan was huge as well: 31 years. In Western Europe Renault had to stop selling these due to environmental regulations but Renault just kept building ‘m and selling ‘m somewhere else.
Resulting in over 8 million of these produced. So I’ve always wondered why on earth this R4 doesn’t get as much love as the 2CV. Same eras (although the R4 is a somewhat late answer to Citroën’s 2CV), almost the same production numbers (but the 2CV needed the Ami and Dyane to get there) but more of everything: Power, torque and space! But the 2CV’s seem to cost way more than an average R4, the Citroën really skyrocketed recently while the R4 can still be found for reasonable prices.
It had even more weird (French) features. Like two different wheel bases on one and the same car. As the two torsion bars were located behind each other resulting in a slightly bigger wheelbase on the right. Or a version with imitated cane work on it’s side panels, like this black R4 Parisienne.
The Parisienne was launched only 3 years after the R4's introduction, in 1964. So it wasn’t an attempt of Renault to sell some in the end of the car’s lifecycle. It was “developed” in cooperation with the French magazine ELLE, in order to increase the sales of the R4 among feminine drivers. In the beginning only black cars were available, with imitation cane work on doors, rearwings and boot. Scottish tartan was available as an alternative and all cars were black. At first.
Describing every single R4 version is too much for one post so I’ll limit to this Solido 1/43 Parisienne and the red Universal Hobbies 1/43 Fourgonnette sapeurs-pompiers from the fire brigade of Nice for today’s French Friday. And one of the two brands is a bit off when it comes to scale as these definitely don’t have the same size. Which isn’t bad per se as the Fourgonnette is bigger anyway but the nose should be as wide on both. Which they aren’t.
The Universal Hobbies is the most accurate so my guess would be that’s the correct one. It definitely is my favorite of these two. Just look at that red. Those 3-lugged wheels. THAT LADDER! And I really love those UH-bases they come with, pretty neat for displaying ‘m.
The answer to the question about value differences between the 2CV and this R4 I really cannot come up with. Last time I was in Croatia you still saw many, many of these. Maybe it is even a local thing, I’m not sure. I’m not even sure which one of those 2 I’d prefer myself, it probably depends on what versions I’d have to chose from.
But then again: I’m probably not in the market for any of those anyway. Ça ne fait rien, c’est ca! That’s it for today. Still not sure what’s happening next week for LaLD Car Week’s Friday as it doesn’t seem to give a French Friday anymore, or does it? Well, anyway: Bon Week-End!