April 17, 2010

Renault 5.

Renault introduced the 5 (arguably the first car with plastic bumpers) in 1972. In an effort to market this car throughout the world they offered several versions of it that were different from the French 5.

The one that a few readers will likely be familiar with is the Le Car. It was standard Renault 5 renamed the Renault Le Car and sold in the United States from 1976 to 1984 with a 1397cc four cylinder engine and available in both three and five door variants. Differences with its French counterpart included US-specific bumpers and headlights, side reflectors on both front and rear, a different grille, decals on the side and a more generous standard equipment. It had a tendency to rust rather quickly and a poor reliability record so the AMC dealers that sold them did not need to order very many of them. How it got its reputation for being unreliable is questionable since in France these cars were considered quite reliable and they're still a common sight on today's roads.

In 1979 Renault offered the Le Car on the French market as a limited edition of 6,000 cars. The car retained French-spec bumpers and headlights:

Worth noting that French coachbuilder Heuliez made their own version of the Le Car called the Le Car Van, meant to look like an American conversion van. It's hardly surprising that very few of them were built:


A more obscure version of the 5 is the 7, a four-door Renault 5 produced by FASA-Renault in Spain for the Spanish market which prefers traditional sedans to hatchbacks. Unlike the French version the 7 had traditional metal bumpers, specific tail lights and a specific grille. Initially available only with a 1037cc in TL trim, the 7 was slightly redesigned in 1979 and from that point on one could also order it in GTL trim with a 1108cc. Both engines were four cylinders mated to four-speed manual transmissions. It was phased out when a new four-door sedan, the Renault 9 (known as the Renault Alliance in the United States), was introduced on the European market after 240,000 units were produced.

The Renault 5 stayed in production until 1984 when it was replaced by the Super 5.

1 comment:

kashgar216 said...

That Le Car Van should be the mascot for this year's Concours de Lemons, as the theme this year is minivans!