The era of the sixties and seventies flourished in several pioneering car models that rose to the top in the then car industry and indicated a new trend. French cars were mainly known for their innovations and unusual solutions. One of such cars was Renault 16as many call it the world’s first officially presented vehicle of the type hatchback.
It was a real revolution. Visitors to the Geneva Motor Show in 1965, people could not take their pattern from the Renault place for a moment. A completely different car, which went beyond the models from other European brands from those years, debuted on them. The body’s crucial, angular lines made everyone aware that time was slowly approaching new ones. The exciting front with a chrome grille hidden in the grille, square lamps, slightly undercut rear wheel arches or the emblem perfectly integrated in the tailgate were just some of the many designer “flavors” that came from the designer Gastona jucheta.
The biggest news was the large and extremely practical luggage compartment lid, which was opened together with the windscreen, which enabled free transport of larger objects. However, this solution did not make the new Renault model look like a sluggish limousine or a small truck. The car was only available in a five-door body version. Excellent visibility all around was also due to the small side windows at the rear, which meant that parking was not the worst of the driver’s nightmares, but pure enjoyment. The innovation in the 16 model was also manifested by the possibility of folding the rear seats. There were really many different ways to create a combination of folding seats. There was a reason Renault 16 was proud to carry the title “European car of the year 1966”!
In a few minutes, the interior can be transformed into a cozy space where you can even sleep comfortably. The interior of the early copies was very futuristic and thoughtful for that time. Soft materials prevailed there. The steering wheel itself has also been refined, which had special grooves for the driver, which made this element even better in the hands. The gears were conveniently replaced with the “lever” on the steering wheel, which meant that there was even more space between the passenger and the driver. Another advantage was the large space above the heads of people traveling by car.
The engineer Renault was responsible for the mechanics of the machine Yves georges. Renault 16 uses engines that commute between 1.4 and 1.6 liters. The most popular unit, however, was 55 hp version 1.4, which could accelerate the not so light car to a maximum of 150 km / h. Unusual solutions could also be found under the hood, where a spare wheel was mounted at the factory. Renault 16 can also be proud of its participation in the Monte Carlo Rally! Over the years, this car became better equipped (TS type) and … more aggressive! In 1973, the TX version was introduced, whose engine already had almost 100 hp.
The combination of elegance and practicality proved to be a plus for the French brand. Just as in the case of the Renault 4, the 16 model quickly established its high position in the market and until around the beginning of the seventies it was considered a model family car, which also took off during Renault’s French expansion abroad. Over the years, the appearance of the popular “16” has not changed much. Depending on the year and type of equipment, these cars usually differed from each other by lampshades, slightly modernized interiors or accessories that adorn the body. The car’s silhouette remained the same and was still stuck in the heels of the German competition (known for its excellent quality).
Renault 16 left a strong mark on the brand’s history from the beginning. This car will be very well associated with drivers from all over the world and cycling enthusiasts, as these cars have been serviced many times Tour de France and many similar events. One can say with certainty that his middle name was both universality and sustainability. However, time passed relentlessly and the representatives of the French group decided to introduce a new successor to production in the mid-seventies – Renault 20which was also developed to the Model 30. Nevertheless, the last units in the still popular Renault model series were produced until 1980. Certainly it was one of the “those” models that greatly took the image of a well-known brand in Europe to a higher level, and the effects of this can be observed even today.
At present, the iconic “sixteen” is a good suggestion for an original vintage car, which in some situations can certainly surpass the competition presented at a particular rally or rally. The practicality of this car can also be a good excuse to use it every day as a classic that stands out from the crowd, for which transport of even a large wardrobe from Ikea will not be a particularly big problem.
Photos: Car brochures and advertisements, Renault press material
Submitted by: Marcin Zachariasz