This year’s Rétromobile Show (February 5-9, Porte de Versailles, Paris, France) will see Renault celebrate three notable anniversaries:
- 100 years since Parisian taxis – in large part Renault Type AG1 models – were requisitioned by the French Army to transport wartime troops from the capital to the front of the First Battle of the Marne;
- The 50th anniversary of the Renault 8 Gordini, the iconic car which made the joy of sporty motoring an affordable reality for a whole generation;
- The 30th anniversary of the ground-breaking Renault Espace.
Visitors to the 2014 Rétromobile Show (Salon Rétromobile) at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France (February 5-9) will be able to admire the following exhibits on Renault’s 700 sq. metre stand in Hall 1 (1G64 stand):
- A recently-restored Renault Type AG1 taxi.
- Five legendary Renault 8 Gordinis, including a Type 1134, prepared by Renault’s competition department.
- The Espace saga, told through eight display vehicles from the original concept right up to the current-day model, with a special space reserved for the extraordinary Espace F1.
The vehicles on display on the Renault stand in detail:
Marne Taxi: Renault Type AG1 (1909)
The first Parisian taxi, the Type AG found itself elevated to fame during the First World War. In 1914, the German army marched upon Paris. In order to hold the enemy back, it was necessary to despatch French troops to the front – a task that fell to Paris’ plethora of taxis. Six hundred of them were consequently called into service to transport 3,000 men, which resulted in France winning the First Battle of the Marne and earned the vehicles their ‘Marne Taxi’ sobriquet.
The vehicle on display at the show has been restored especially to mark this centenary.
Renault 8 Gordini:
Renault 8 Gordini (1970)
One of the most popular sporting models ever produced by Renault is indisputably the Renault 8 Gordini, which boasted a top speed of 175kph for an unrivalled low price. Launched in 1964, this automotive icon brought the joy of sporty driving to an entire generation.
Renault 8 Gordini 1500 Twin Cam (1967) (private collection)
This Renault 8 Gordini is powered by a 1.5-litre engine with a double overhead camshaft, the same powerplant that was used by a number of Alpine prototypes competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This particular model is unique and once belonged to Amédée Gordini.
Renault 8 Gordini (1969)
Renault 8 Gordini shone in rallying from 1964, with an extraordinary performance in the legendary ‘Tour de Corse’ culminating in four cars placed inside the overall top five, headed by winner Jean Vinatier. That impressive record of success continued all the way up until 1970. The model on show at the Rétromobile Show recently returned from the 2014 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, where it competed as part of the Team Renault Classic line-up.
Renault 8 Gordini Type 1134 (1965)
This Renault 8 Gordini Type 1134, prepared by Renault’s competition department, has been restored to contribute to the Renault 8 Gordini’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Ex-Michel Leclère Renault 8 Gordini (1969)
The original livery of this white car with an orange front end was chosen by its first owner, Michel Leclère, who piloted it to victory in the Pas Dunlop and second place in the 1969 Coupe Gordini. Despite the passing of the years and changes of ownership, this outstanding Gordini is totally original.
Renault Espace: Four generations on display to tell the story of this model:
1984 – Espace I: Espace was first presented to the media in April, before going on sale in July. The model’s versatility took observers by surprise, with the five rear seats all being removable and the front two revolving when the vehicle was stationary to create an impromptu living room. Renault introduced its slogan ‘Voitures à Vivre’.
1991 – Espace II: The second-generation Espace offered more refined dynamics and softer lines. This time, the modularity was even more versatile, with the rear seats now mounted on fore/aft rails. Mated to automatic transmission, the V6 engine confirmed Espace’s status as a truly high-end model.
1996 – Espace III: The third generation saw Espace grow in size, with a version that was 27cm longer still – christened Grand Espace –added to the range in January, 1998.
2002 – Espace IV: The current-generation Espace was produced entirely by Renault at its Sandouville plant. Its most significant innovation was its bodywork, no longer made from composite materials but from steel.
Other Espaces at the Rétromobile Show:
Renault Project 900 (1959)
Providing spacious interiors has always been at the very forefront of Renault’s thinking. Responding to the requirement for better management of a vehicle’s cabin space, Project 900 was too avant-garde to meet with any great success – but Espace was not far around the corner...
Matra Project P18 (1981) (Matra Museum collection)
Presented by Matra, this prototype would act as the basis for the model given to Bernard Hanon by Philippe Guédon in 1982. It led to the partnership between Renault and Matra for the design and production of Renault Espace.
Renault Espace I (1984) (private collection)
A pre-production vehicle built in October 1983, this car carries the number 4, making it the oldest Espace known to exist! Its owner, a former Matra employee, states: “I am extremely proud to have played a part in this adventure and to see, 30 years later, just how much of a revolutionary vehicle Espace went on to be!”
Renault Espace F1 (1994)
This Espace F1 was designed to celebrate the Williams-Renault team’s third consecutive Constructors’ crown in the 1994 Formula 1 World Championship and the sixth title for Renault’s V10. It went on display at the Paris Motor Show in October 1994 and even acted as the Safety Car at certain circuits.