While the Renault 4 was known for its rust problems, this specific example has been very well preserved. It was owned by one family in France for 48 years, still has its original paint and only 78,000km on the odometer. The license number is hand-painted, which was usual in France in the 1950s and ‘60s.
The Renault 4 was the biggest competitor of the Citroën 2CV. Renault studied this and other small cars such as the Mini and Volkswagen Beetle very closely, looking for anything that could be improved; so they built in a larger engine than was used in the 2CV and fitted independent wheel suspension with torsion bars, thereby enhancing road comfort. Production started in 1961, thirteen years after the 2CV. Over eight million Renault 4s were made.
This Fourgonnette or light van is a first series model, with a small, semi-rounded grille. In its day it was one of the best-selling vans in its class and even now it is still recognised as the typical French ‘bou- langerie’ delivery van. A special feature is an extra hatch above the rear loading doors so that ladders or other long items can be trans- ported. This was called the ‘girafon’, the ‘giraffe hatch’.