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Renault 4 (1961-1992)

Published: 27th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Renault 4 (1961-1992)

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 1108cc/4-cyl
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 34/4000
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 55/2500
  • Top speed: 73mph
  • 0-60mph: 25.7sec
  • Fuel consumption: 41mpg
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Length: 12ft 0in (3.67m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 4ft 11in (1.51m)
  • Weight: 1626lb (739kg)
  • Books: Album Renault 4 by Robert; Séjourné. ISBN 2-85120-482-3
  • Clubs:;;
  • Websites: Renault Classic Car Club. 01344 777 550 or Renault Owners’ Club, 07917 858423
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The 2CV wasn’t the only economy car to come out of France; Renault’s 4 was not only a match for Citroen’s icon, but it also comprehensively outsold it, with 8.5 million made. Carrying on where Renault’s best-selling 4CV left off, over the years 4 development appeared nonexistent, but there were lots of changes along the way, as well as numerous ultra-rare derivatives, such as a van, pick-up and Moke-like Rodéo. You’re unlikely to fi nd one of these for sale though; you’ll be doing well just to fi nd a good example of a standard car. Very few pre-1967cars are left, but that’s no hardship, as all 4s are fun to drive and own as well as cheap to buy and run. They’re practical too thanks to a fi ve-door hatchback confi guration and front-wheel drive. So start looking!

What to look for?

The 4’s panels are very thin and rust-prone, so as well as corrosion you need to look for dents and creases. Just about all replacement panels are available cheaply, and if you can do your own welding it’s easy to restore these cars relatively cheaply. Biggest pain to repair is the rear suspension mounting on each side – just about everywhere else can rust too, but it’s generally easy enough to fi x. Engines are unburstable,but when one does eventually wear out, slotting in a decent used unit for £50 is easy enough. Gearboxes are also tough, but driveshaft gaiters can split so listen for untoward noises – repairs are cheap and easy though. There are no grease points in the suspension, but the top and bottom ball joints wear in the front suspension; genuine Renault items at £45 apiece are the way to go as cheap alternatives don’t last long. The braking system is simple too, the most likely malady being rusty brake pipes or a leaky master cylinder. Two types were fi tted; tandem or split, with the two not interchangeable. Interior trim has all disappeared and even used bits are hard to fi nd. Early cars featured hammock-style seats which are now extinct, but at least the exterior brightwork is all available – not that there’s much of it. Pre-1970 cars featured six-volt electrics; the systems are so simple that you only need to worry about poor earths and dodgy connections.


The most expensive 4s are those with the 1108cc engine, but you can still pick up parts cars for nothing, whatever their age. Smaller-engined cars fetch up to £1500, with a reasonable runner available for under£1000. The best 1108cc 4s (GTLs) cost up to £2500 – although one
sold not long ago for over £3000.

Driving one

The R4 is faster than you’d think as it’s so light, while the controls are light and the steering is direct – but there’s masses of body roll in the corners. This last point is countered by the superbly comfortable ride though. Early cars featured a 747cc engine, evolving through an 845cc unit before emerging as the 1108cc GTL in 1978; these are now the most sought after as they’re the most usable. However, no 4 makes a relaxed long-distance cruiser but it’s better than a 2CV.


November 61

Renault R4 and R4L launched in the UK with a 747cc engine and front-wheel drive. In France there’s a 603cc version called the
R3. R4 has no quarter lights; the R4L has them.

October 62

R4 Super saloon arrives, with 30bhp 845cc engine and a bootlid instead of a tailgate.

November 63

747cc engine is discontinued, while the choke is now manual instead of automatic.


Four-wheel drive R4 is launched, built by Sinpar. Upmarket Parisienne is also offered, with stick-on wicker panels.

May 65

R4 saloon is discontinued, leaving just the estate.

July 65

Bench seat replaces previous individual chairs.

October 65

R4 is rebadged merely ‘4’.

September 66

Dashboard is facelifted with new switchgear.

September 67

De Luxe goes on sale, with four-speed all-synchro gearbox and revised bonnet.

September 70

12-volt electrics are now fi tted.


4 TL arrives with 845cc engine; this lasts until 1982 in the UK and 1992 in France.


GTL is launched, with 1108cc engine.


Final 4 is sold in the UK.


Final 4 is built.

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