Renault 4CV

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Renault 4CV

1947 - 1961
4 cyl.
Top Speed:
Number Built:
3 star
Renault 4CV
by Johanna Patterson

The first French car to reach the 1 million sales figure, the Renault 4CV was manufactured from 1946 to 1961, it being inspired by the economy and design of the Volkswagen Beetle.

During World War II and with Germany occupying France Renault was under very strict instructions to design and manufacture military and commercial vehicles.

Fernand Picard, Charles-Edmond Serre and Jean-Auguste Riolfo lead the team to design a small economical motor vehicle which was suitable for the difficult years that immediately occurred post WWII.

Three prototypes were constructed from 1942 – 1945 with the launch occurring in 1946 at the Paris Motor Show. It was the nicknamed “la motte de beurre” (the lump of butter) due to its shape and the fact that many early models were painted with left over yellow German army paint.

The Renault 4CV was powered by a 748cc engine that produced 17 hp, with a three speed manual transmission.

Sales were poor initially due to the desperate state of the French economy but by mid 1949 37,000 had been sold resulting in this little lump of butter being the most popular car in France!

For the next ten years it was manufactured and the intent was to replace it with the Dauphine which was launched in 1956. But this little popular butter lump remained in production until 1961 being eventually replaced by the Renault 4 which housed the same motor and was priced about the same. The poor old Dauphine was discontinued in 1962.

Production numbers of the 4cv totaled 1,105,547 making the 4cv the first French car to sell over one million. With sales this high it seems the French really do like their butter!! It was also manufactured in Japan under licence by Hino Motors Limited but here at Uniquecarsandparts we are not sure if the Japanese nicknamed it “little lump of sushi”!!

Its colorful history included victories at Le Mans and Mille Miglia. The 4cv was very easy to modify meaning it was often spotted on a race track. The Alpine Company and Renault collaborated to win the World Rally championship with a car based on the 4cv, the Alpine A-110.

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Also See:

Louis Renault
Renault Car Commercials
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