13 Dec 2010


I have always had a soft spot for small cars -the original Mini , the Citroen 2 CV , the Fiat 500 and the Renault 4CV --  marketed as the Renault 750 in English speaking markets . I particularly like the 4CV because I am a Francophile and it has a friendly "jellymould" shape . You don't often see them outside France although a few weeks ago I saw a pristine RHD example just down the road from home in NSW .
At the Le Mans Classic in July this year there was this magnificent cabriolet 4CV on display .Probably the work of a specialist coachbuilder it is very pretty but if I was going to spend serious money to build a cabriolet a 4CV would not have been my base vehicle but someone 50 years ago thought that it was a good idea and each to his own .
Also spotted were these wonderful period accessory trim pieces on the side air intakes on one 4CV .
In the early 50's Renault 4CVs were regular competitors in the Le Mans 24 hour race competing in the 500-750cc class and also the Index of Performance - a special category devised by the Le Mans organisers to ensure that a French car always won a prize . Indeed in 1951 Messrs Landon and Briat won the 500-750 cc class in their 4CV . Imagine doing 24 hours in that tiny car and literally buzzing down the Mulsanne Straight flat out in the dark at 110-120kmh with two tiny rear lights and massive Jaguars , Astons, Cunninghams et al bearing down on you at twice your speed . One touch and the 4 CV would have been in orbit .The speed differential must have been terrifying .They would have driven the whole race with one eye on the track ahead and the other on the rear view mirror .

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