Renault 4 celebrates 50th anniversary

As the third bestselling model in automobile history and the bestselling French car across the world with sales in excess of eight million units in more than 100 countries, the Renault 4 has become a motoring icon.

As the third bestselling model in automobile history and the bestselling French car across the world with sales in excess of eight million units in more than 100 countries, the Renault 4 has become a motoring icon.

In 2011, Renault will be celebrating its 50th anniversary which provides the brand's Histoire & Collection department with a first class opportunity to stage and take part in a long list of major events.

A car has been entered for January's historic Rallye Monte-Carlo, for example, and the model is due to star at February's Rtromobile classic car show in Paris. It will also receive red carpet treatment at the third 4L International event which will visit the Loire Valley chateaux in July.

La Renault 4 was the fruit of a concept. In 1956, Pierre Dreyfus, then president of the Rgie Nationale des Usines Renault, launched the notion of a "blue jeans" car. Like the now-familiar article of clothing which is worn the world over, he wanted to produce a versatile, inexpensive car

with a worldwide calling which could match the changes in society that were being observed as the

1960s approached.

Following a five-year incubation period, the Renault 4, the make's first front-wheel drive passenger car, was unveiled to the press before going on display at the 1961 Paris Motor Show. A van and three saloon versions were launched simultaneously: the R3, which was dropped from the catalogue the following year, the R4 and the R4L (the "L" standing for luxury), soon to become the household name for a model that lost no time in finding a place in the French public's hearts.

Its unrivalled interior, low running costs and ability to adapt to all types of use made it an instant hit. Just six years after its launch, Renault 4 production exceeded the million mark, and other records were broken as the car reached a total production figure of 8,135,424 in the course of its 31-year career.