Renault Dauphine: Wikis


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  • Parisian artist Paule Marrot landed a job at Renault developing bright colors for the forthcoming Dauphine after writing the company to say the cars of postwar Paris were uniformly somber?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Renault Dauphine
Renault Dauphine
Manufacturer Renault
Also called Renault Ondine
IKA Dauphine
IKA Gordini
Production 1956-1967
Assembly Flins, France
Ciudad Sahagun, Mexico
Valladolid, Spain
Santa Isabel, Argentina
Heidelberg, Australia
Portello, Milan, Italy[1] (only 1959-1964)
São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil Nesher, Haifa, Israel
Predecessor Renault 4CV
Successor Renault 8/10
Class Compact
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
Layout RR layout
Engine(s) 845 cc I4
Transmission(s) 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
push button 3 speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,267 mm (89.3 in)
Length 3,937 mm (155.0 in) [2]
Width 1,524 mm (60.0 in)
Height 1,441 mm (56.7 in)
Curb weight 650 kg (1,433 lb)
Related IKA Dauphine
Alfa Romeo Dauphine
MHV Renault Dauphine 01.jpg
Renault Dauphine 5.jpg
This Renault Dauphine had no difficulty in climbing to the top of the Continental Divide, in Colorado, USA in August, 1964

Renault Dauphine was an automobile produced by French manufacturer Renault from 1956 to 1967. A luxury version, badged as the Renault Ondine was sold from 1960 to 1962. The Dauphine was assembled in many countries; South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Belgium and Ireland and under license in Italy, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Israel, USA and Japan. A sport model, the Gordini, was also available with a standard 4-speed transmission and 4-wheel disc brakes, as well as engine modifications to increase the horsepower. A factory racing model, the "1093" was homologated with about 2140 units produced in 1962/3.



The Dauphine was launched in 1956 to replace the highly successful Renault 4CV. Like the 4CV, the Dauphine used a single-shell monocoque body. It was a 4-door saloon design as was the 4CV, but it lacked the rear-hinged "suicide doors" of the 4CV. It was also heavier and 12 in (300 mm) longer than its predecessor, but used the same engine, albeit a version increased in size and power from 760 cc to 845 cc and 19 hp to 32 hp (14 kW to 24 kW) (the Dauphine was infamously slow: Road & Track magazine measured the Dauphine's 0-60 mph/0–97 km/h acceleration time as 32 seconds). Like its predecessor, the Dauphine used a rear-engined rear wheel drive configuration: Renault's Fernand Picard pointed out in a paper he delivered in 1957 that in this respect the car was part of a trend led by Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault themselves whereby the rear drive/rear engine configuration had increased from 2.6% of continental western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6% in 1956.[3]. (The UK auto industry, which had also managed largely to avoid the front-engine/front-wheel drive trend of the 1930s, was excluded from Picard's figures here[3].)

The Dauphine was originally intended to be called the Corvette, but was changed to Dauphine (the female form of the French feudal title of Dauphin) to avoid confusion with the recently-launched Chevrolet Corvette.

Two limited editions of the Dauphine tuned for greater power were launched during its lifetime. Renault performance guru Amédée Gordini engineered a version of the Dauphine tuned to 37 hp (27.2 kW), sold as the Dauphine Gordini. In the final run of Dauphines, a limited edition of 2140 called the 1093, were similarly tuned to 55 hp (41 kW) and featured a twin barrel carburettor, rear track rods, four-speed manual transmission and tachometer, and had a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). The 1093 was only available in white with two blue stripes down each side.

In a press statement produced in 1966, Renault stated that the Dauphine production had passed the million mark more quickly than any other car manufactured in Europe, with the first million coming up in just four years.[4] (Second, third and fourth places at that time went to the Renault 4 - 4½ year, the BMC Mini - 5½ years and the Fiat 600 - 7 years.[4]) 2,150,738 Dauphines were produced in its production run of 10 years.[5] In the United Kingdom, it was one of the first imported cars to sell in large numbers, in a market that was formerly dominated by British manufacturers and the local subsidiaries of American manufacturers.

The Dauphine's legacy is largely dominated by its infamously poor performance and bad handling, as well as its poor reliability. In many markets (particularly the United States and the United Kingdom), the car became notorious for mechanical problems.[6] In 2002, the auto enthusiasts' radio show Car Talk named the Dauphine the 9th Worst Car Of The Millennium, calling it "truly unencumbered by the engineering process".[7] In 2007, Time named it one of the 50 worst cars of all time, calling it "the most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line" and noting that it could actually be heard rusting.[8]

International production

In Italy, Alfa Romeo built under license an Alfa Romeo Dauphine between 1959 and 1964. The Italian Dauphine was manufactured in Portello, Milan. Differences with the French model are: electricity (Magneti-Marelli) 12 Volts, special lights, and the logo "Dauphine Alfa-Romeo" or "Ondine-Alfa Romeo".

It was also produced in Brazil, under license, by Willys-Overland, between 1959 and 1968, in the following versions: Dauphine: 23,887 units (1959–1965); "Gordini" 41,052 units (1962–1968); "Renault 1093": 721 units (1963–1965); "Teimoso" (simplified model, without accessories): 8,967 units (1965–1967). A total of 74,627 units was produced in Brazil.

In Argentina, Industrias Kaiser Argentina produced 97,209 units of IKA Dauphine and Gordinis, dealer options included a sporty "1093" model, but not equivalent with the French version.

Kaiser-Frazer in Israel manufactured the Renault Dauphine 845cc between 1957 and 1960 later in 1963 also the Hino Contessa 900 with the Dauphine's platform.

In Spain, Renault's subsidiary F.A.S.A built Dauphine FASA between 1958-1967 (125,912 units).[9]

In Japan, the Hino Contessa 900 used the Dauphine's platform under license.[10]

Among the aftermarket options for the Dauphine was a supercharger from United States company Judson Research & Mfg. Co.; this sold in 1958 for US$165, and was designed to be installed in about two hours without any chassis or body modifications.

The Dauphine was used as the basis for the electric Henney Kilowatt.

Engine specifications

Engine Fuel Displacement
hp (kW)
N·m (lb·ft)
Top speed 0-60 mph
Power to weight ratio
W/kg (hp/tonne)
Type Ventoux 670-1 Gasoline 845 27.0 (20.1)
at 4000 rpm
66 (49) 112 km/h (70 mph) 37 38.43 (41.54)
Gordini - Ventoux 670-5 Gasoline 845 36 (26.8)
at 4000 rpm
65 (48) 130 km/h (81 mph) 30 40.68 (54.55)


  1. ^ "Dauphine AlfaRoméo". Retrieved 2008-09-28.  (French)
  2. ^ "Technical specifications of 1956 Renault Dauphine". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  3. ^ a b "BMC's Mini: The Background story: Part one: The Volkswagen cometh". Small Car: pages 42–47. date January 1965. 
  4. ^ a b "News and Views: 1M Renault 4". Autocar 124 (nbr 2651): page 248. date 4 February 1966. 
  5. ^ "Dauphine". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Renault Dauphine". Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  7. ^ "The Worst Cars of the Millenium". Car Talk. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  8. ^ Dauphine's entry at Time's "50 Worst Cars of All Time"
  9. ^ "Dauphine Fasa". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  10. ^ "THE BRE HINO CONTESSA 900 & 1300 COUPE". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 

External links

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