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Usines Renoir


#1

Frunia, 1945.
The great war has ended and the continent was destroyed. The resources were limited, the people poor, but the will to start the reconstruction large.

USINES RENOIR in southwest Frunia (aka France, but my companies are located in the Automation World) have been founded by Raymond Renoir in 1905 and produced looms, bicycles and some cars, basic three-wheelers or some better motirbike-based fourwheelers for the masses before the war started.
The factory was bombed, but still good enough to be rebuilt, and what lacked the most was a cheap, reliable and efficient van. So the owner, Charles Renoir, decided to build exactly that.


In 1946, the Renoir Fourgon arrived, a very simple and basic car, but more capable than it looks.
Based on a ladder frame with leaf springs, it offered almost 4500 liter cargo space despite being four meter short. Being made full of steel, the car was immune to wind and weahter (until it started to rust, but none of the 40s cars lasted long by default). Nevertheless it was very basic, having only a steering wheel, three pedals, a three-speed manual, an odometer and a warning light if running out of fuel. The two seats were made of space frame with canvas fabric.
The engine was a 1,1 liter OHV inline four, remarkably powerful with 45 horsepower. Two eco carburetors were a quite complex and sophisticated fuel system, but otherwise everything in the engine was basic but used parts made with a satisfying build quality considering the economy had been down to zero.
The Fourgon was able to reach 123 kph, a lot when most simple passenger cars were barely able to maintain a speed of 100 kph. Those 100 were reached after 25 seconds - not that big problem as the roads were empty. The consumption was more than acceptable with 14,7 liter, but it required regular gas - but most gas sold had a poor quality, and therefore the Fourgon was only usable if the Gasmean army sold their better-quality-gas to the public, what luckily happened.

The Fourgon was not as terrible to drive as its low $ 7440 price indicates, and $ 300 annual maintenance pleased many Frunian companies that were on a tight budget while re-starting their businesses. The Renoir Fourgon had a good start as delivery vehicle. Yes, there were others sold for $ 6000 but those were avoided within the next 24 months when the Frunian economy started to recover, while the qualities of the Fourgon were still desired.

1950 - a risky move

Charles Renoir wished he was named with the rich and beautiful. Barely possible if the one and only product is a small basic van. In april Renoir unveiled a 4,5 meter two-door sedan, the Renoir Gaulois. The car’s styling by the company’s designer Hugo Curvilleux was totally extravagant as Renoir aimed for local artists and the haute couture.




The ladder frame swapped leaf springs against coil springs for a ride comfort accepted in the premium class, and power came from a new 1,9 liter inline six-cylinder, the Série B engine, while the 1,1 was now named Série A. The “B” made use of two new two-barrel carburetors, the rest was more or less the same as in the “A” despite size and cylinder count. The result were 77 horsepower, definitely enough for an upper-class car. The interior was made of fine materials and very premium indeed, and the car had a standard AM radio.
With 16,5 seconds acceleration, the Gaulois kept up with sports cars or the models of Gasmean soldiers, and 151 kph top speed were remarkable for a family car, while 15,7 liter regular gas were a reasonnable consumption. Even the price was not exaggerated in comparison to its power and comfort with $ 12.000, but the car had not been a real success.

First of all, Renoir was known as a brand for the “blue collar”, and aiming directly at the Frunian “white collar” avantgarde and haute couture might have been irritating. Yes, Renoir sold almost 10.000 of those in Frunia until 1955, but the developement costs where immense.

1951

As Renoir wasted almost all their money on the Gaulois, only little improvements were made in their main product, the Fourgon.
Some smaller saftety improvements, like a second wiper, electric indicators, an improved suspension geometry and setup and a more refined engine with slighty better reliability and response were the benefits of Phase II models.
The Fourgon phase II performed a little better on the road, as it now needed 24 seconds to 100 and could theoretically reach 124 kph. More important was the lower consumption, dropping to 13,6 liter. The price rose only marginally to $ 7460. As the overall demand was lower as in 1946 because there were more vehicles to choose from, the sales were quite good in relation. The Fourgon remained a very common vehicle on Frunian roads.



Car Company Directory
#2

1955 - large ambitions

Charles Renoir was still willing to establish the brand as a “first-class” brand, offering cars for the upper class. This led to a new car called Boulevard.
As the Gaulois as a two-door did not work well as chauffeur car, the 4,93 meter Boulevard came as four-door sedan. But Renoir lacked money for a larger engine, so a rework of the “Série 2” had to be enough, now delivering two horsepower more, in total 79. Still enough for mid 50s Frunia, although the 1,9 liter engine got a bit lost in the giant engine bay, but this helped maintenance a lot. And $ 12.200 were not much for a premium car, so it was rather considered a Premium Budget car, but mostly scored as Family Premium in Frunia as it was spacious, durable and not too expensive to run.
18,2 seconds to 100 kph were at least enough to shake off the cars of the working class, and 149 kph were a mediocre speed. 15,5 liter consumption are rather economical considering it was a full size car with six cylinders. A four-speed manual would have made it faster, but Renoir lacked the money, so the transmission of the 1950-onwards Gaulois was reused.



The Boulevard has not been very innovative, even for it’s time. Most had been carried over from the Gaulois, as the ladder frame, the suspension and the drivetrain. This kept the sales in a medium range. The Renoir Boulevard did neither become a flop nor the sucessful premium car it was planned to be. Despite the all-premium interior, five seats made it versatile as family car, and it was by far the safest Renoir in the 50s.

The sales of the Gaulois dropped from medium to low. One reason might have been the design, so it was styled to match the Boulevard - and looked definitely less extravagant, but not boring. The 79 horsepower engine brought no real performance boost, but the reliability of the car improved as Renoir had gained more and more experience. The consumption was the same as in the Boulevard, but the smaller car needed 16,4 seconds to 100 kph and was able to run 153 kph. Those specs might have been no real improvement compared to the 1950 model, but the price remained the same, so those small changes were welcomened. Duplex drum brakes in the front were a noticeable feature in daily driving for example, something taken over from the Boulevard. Despite becoming a better car, the Gaulois did not recover a lot and was lost somewhere further down in Frunia’s car market, and became more and more an unpopular model, so it was replaced in 1959.


1956

As Charles Renoirs plans were risky, his younger brother Fréderic urged for “blue collar” models, small and cheap cars for the masses. The low budget for the Boulevard might have been responsible for its missing breakthrough, but there was nothing wrong in facelifting the Fourgon as it was the brand’s main product.
New taillights, a small engine update and duplex front brakes were enough to keep it one of Frunias most-sold delivery vehicles.


The performance remained more or less the same with 23,9 seconds and 128 kph, as well as the consumption with 13,3 liter. $ 7510 were a justified $50 more than before, mainly due to the better brakes. The maintenance cost was still below $300 annualy, so there was no surprise in seeing your plumber, milkman or parcel service coming in a Renoir Fourgon.

But Fréderic Renoir, mostly called “Frédo”, wanted an alternative to the Bitron BCV2, one of the most basic cars of all time. The result was the Renoir Gaston, a three-meter car with the engine of the Fourgon. The developement was very expensive and ruined the company completely, but the result was a radically modern car - Renoir’s basic car for the working class was a lot more modern than their sedan for the upper class.

The car switched to a monocoque, something still quite rare in the 50s and to front-wheel drive, as Renoir engineers were convinced that FWD is a lot better than traditional RWD. Originally, a traverse engine was planned, but the engineers failed, and the Gaston came with longitudinal engine position. While the rear leaf spring axle was simple and cheap, new innovative McPerson struts were used in the front instead of a solid axle, which gave the car a quite good handling.
In addition, 46 horsepower were quite a lot for a 557 kg car. To keep the car accessible despite its power and innovations, everything was terribly basic. Some standard safety, some gauges, five seats.


$ 9150 were definitely a lot for a budget car, but the excellent performance and the funny handling made it one of the leading family sport cars despite being a lot smaller. 16,9 seconds to 100 kph were as fast as most domestic Frunian midsize cars. 123 kph were enough for a simple family car, and 11,8 liter consumption combined with $ 295 service cost payable for an average worker. The Gaston worked and sold nicely as family sport, fun and pony car in Frunia.

But Renoir knew that for a “regular” family car, the people urged at least for minimal comfort. For that reason, Renoir switched the basic interior to a standard one, added chrome on the exterior and such goodies like a passenger side mirror and a reverse light, calling it the “Gaston NE” while NE stood for “niveau élevé”. The only technical change was using progressive springs for the suspension.
The NE did work as family car for $ 9410 and sacrificed sportiness for comfort. While running 123 kph, it needed 17,1 seconds to 100 and 11,9 liter regular gas, so there was no real downside except the price and $ 445 maintenance cost. The NE sold noticeably less units, but it was definitely necessary to offer a better equipped model for those that liked the car but considered it as too frugal.

Renoir did improve their sales and market position, but they were broke and had to rely on what they had for the next years.



#3

1958 - Renoirs first really remarkable car

When the Gaston had been unveiled, one of the curious spectators was CMT boss C.M. Thandor. He had to admit that the brand-new CMT City was no match against Renoirs latest vehicle when it came to value for money and technical sophistication, as the Gaston was simple where it was not obvious and innovative where it made sense.

The Renoir brothers and Thandor agreed on a cooperation, as Renoir did not have the money to develop a successor for the aging Gaulois on it’s own, and CMT already considered a small sedan using the platform of the upcoming Libra compact car, but doubted that it would be worth the cost for developement.

In 1957, CMT aquired one third of the Hetvesian sports car manufactor Wagner and suggested Renoir the use of their brand-new boxer engine. The Renoirs refused at first, but then agreed to build a prototype.
It was done in early 1958 and was definitely one of the most unique cars of the 50s, as it was still three meter short and only 689 kg light, but sent impressive 118 horsepower to the front wheels.
As it had noticeable amount of wheelspin, Renoir kept a three-speed manual as a four-speed did not improve performance. The car was at 100 kph after only 8,23 seconds and got up to 168 kph top speed, miraculous specs for a souped-up 1958 city car. 10 liter premium gas seemed adequate, and it was propably the cheapest performance vehicle to own and run, as $ 518 service cost were far below a “real” Wagner and $ 13.000 definitely too.


The trim was the same as the NE, but it still had no radio. Instead, the car recieved a black roof and painted hubcabs to be exclusive from other Gastons. In Frunia, the car sold surprisingly good as Fun Premium, and not few of them were in use as sporty family car as it was nothing for douchebags but still controllable for amateurs.
The Gaston Racing was also the first Renoir to be exported, as Wagner sold the five-seater in their home market Hetvesia as “Wagner Renoir”, and it became quite popular especially as basic car for rallyes, as it was affordable, fast and easy to modify.

1959

When CMT planned the Libra-based Familia II, the roles were clearly set apart: CMT offered the 4,2 meter sedan only with six-cylinder engines and fancy premium interior, while Renoir used four-cylinders and a standard trim level. Renoir also changed the design to their taste
But that was not enough for Renoir as they preferred front wheel drive, meanwhile common for small cars in Frunia and used in some domestic sedans, while CMT wanted to stick to rear wheel drive.
As the Libra platform theoretically allowed for both, Renoir developed own driveshafts, reinfoced ones from the Gaston, and gave their version of the car a totally different character.

It was called the Avenue and even recieved a brand-new engine:
The “Série C” was a 1400 ccm four-cylinder with a lot more stroke than bore, as Renoir hoped for good economy. The valvetrain switched from Série A’s OHV to a modern OHC layout. The result were 64 horsepower, a good amount for a midsize sedan, and 14,2 % economy, not bad for the late 50s. 100 nM torque guaranteed for a good use of the four-speed gearbox provided by CMT.

The differences were also noticeable in the handling, as the CMT Familia aimed at sporty drivers accepting a harsh ride for good handling. Renoir cared a lot more about ride comfort, especially as they had agreed on using standard trim and no premium features in the interior. The FWD limited oversteer and went more for understeer, so reducing stiffness AND a secure handling were possible. Nevertheless Renoir left a little “firmness” in it and avoided making it really soft.
The Renoir Avenue was slower than the CMTs, but not sluggish, as 15,4 seconds to 100 kph were still better than most established rivals in the 60-horsepower sedan class. 141 kph meant that the car was able to maintain 120 kph as long-time highway speed without much stress, and 13,6 liter consumption also pleased drivers that used it on long trips.


As the Renoir Avenue was almost flawless, reasonnable in price and power, as $ 12.600 were a fair offer, there was no wonder in becoming the leading Frunian family sport sedan, but also CMT had a benefit from that, as 25 percent of the money earned with each sold unit were transferred to CMT as “license fee”, and the cars did not even have many overlaps and approached different buyers. The solid sales of the Gaston and the great success of the Avenue guaranteed Renoir’s survival and prepared the company for the next decade.
The Gaston Racing gave the brand some attention in motor racing, as it was a strong participant especially in rallyes.


#4

1960

The Renoir Boulevard was the last passenger car with a ladder frame, and its overall construction wasn’t very progressive for 1960. This made an update very urgent. Power steering, front disc brakes and - most important on a premium car - automatic transmission became standard. The modern thee-speed was bought from CMT, as this was their new ComfoShift gearbox.
This brought the 1,9 liter SĂ©rie B engine to its limits in the heavy car. The engineers tried hard and squeezed 82 horsepower out of it, with the help of forged pistons and two brand-new four-barrel carburetors.

The car needed quite slow 19,4 seconds to 100 kph, and 152 kph were not really fast even in comparison to its time, but 16,1 liter regular gas were ok for a full-size car, as it was huge for Frunian habits.
Considering the high premium trim level, $ 13.900 were not a bargain but definitely a good offer. The simple chassis allowed to offer modern features for the price, and it still sold not bad in Frunia, although not excellent. But the Renoir Boulevard did not exaclty what Charles Renoir wanted, not actors and musicians were driving it, but rich old people. A rather surprising popularity was archieved among wealthier blue-collar people, self-employed plumbers or other craftsmen loved it for its very high load capacity.

1961

With the begin of the new decade, the sales of the Gaston started to decrease. This was the worst case, as the Gaston was the most important model by 1960.
But Renoir prepared for that and started with a facelift in time.
In April 1961, the reworked Gaston rolled into the showrooms.
The 1100 kept the SĂ©rie A engine, but it recieved a small update, the power was almost identical. Drivability, safety, reliability and economy improved. Accelleration and top speed remained almost identical the acceleration even dropped to 17,1 seconds, but the consumption also dropped from 11,9 to 11,6 liter. The price increased to $ 9.930.


Of course the NE returned, and it recieved a different engine. The SĂ©rie C recieved a new variant with 1049 ccm, and it returned 50 horsepower, strong enough for such a tiny car. Besides the standard radio, the NE finally featured a basic radio straight from the factory. The stronger engine also recieved a four-speed transmission, and the acceleration was quite brisk with only 15,2 seconds. 127 kph top speed allowed for long-time travel speed of 100 kph, and 11,7 liter consumption were not higher than in the 1100 standard car. The reliability was not bad, but not as good as in the non-NE. For $ 11.100, the NE stopped its decline and remained a stable seller.


Why buying the NE if you could have more power for less? In case you were not aiming for comfort but for performance, the “Sport” was your car. The Racing trim with Wagners 118 hp engine was too extreme although it became a rally icon. For a daily usable small sports car, the 1.4 engine with 64 horses known from the Avenue was a good choice. It needed only 11,3 seconds to 100 kph, archieved 138 in total and also needed 11,7 liter. As it sacrificed the radio, it was even cheaper with $ 10.700. One could really say that this was an extremely sweet deal and it was an excellent seller in Frunia as it pleased family sport, fun and pony buyers. Wagner still sold it in their home market Hetvesia despite no longer featuring a Wagner engine.


As Renoir was well aware of the fact that the Fourgon showed its age, a low-end replacement was built based on the Gaston. The Gaston F was a relatively successful light delivery for $ 9540 offering 1400 liter cargo volume with a length of 3,23 meter. Although using the SĂ©rie A from the 1100, its power reserves were enough for some cargo. It needed 17,5 seconds to 100 kph and and went up to 122 with few load. 12,5 liter consumption were not reall low for the small car, but it was cheap and practical.


Although the Gaston wasn’t as succesful as back in it’s date of introduction, it superseded the Fourgon as the brand’s main pillar.

1962

Renoir nevertheless did not want to let the partnership with Wagner die. When they released a sportiness-tuned 129 horsepower variant of their boxer four in 1961 for their new Autobahn, Renoir ordered these engines and quickly developed a sports car.
Instead of space frame like Wagner often did, Renoir went for a monocoque and used MacPherson struts in front and rear. Renoirs engineers were definitely looking somehow at Wagner, as the car had no front engine but a mid-engine, as a low center of gravity the boxer provided was best accomodated in the middle of the car. This led to a rather bizarre shape, but the designers gave their best to let the car look outstanding. The Vitesse was one of the first cars to feature pop-up headlights, activated with a manual lever that required some force. The weight distribution was not really balanced, so the car had rear disc brakes and front duplex drums.



The Renoir Vitesse had a test track time of 2:43,86 minutes, needed only 8,94 seconds to 100 kph and ran 183 top speed at only 11,8 liter consumption. Sounds good, but the new Wagner Gepard with the same engine was cheaper, more comfortable and slightly easier to drive, so the sales were not as good as wanted but not really bad. The Renoir Vitesse was sold for $ 17.300 in Frunia from 1962 to 1970.

1963

The Fourgon phased out, as it was outdated. On the lower end, the Gaston F made a good job as light delivery vehicle. For other tasks, Renoir now offered the Transporteur.

All cars shared the 1.4 L SĂ©rie C engine as 58 horsepower were a reasonnable amout of power and the economy of the SĂ©rie C great. As these cars were designed to take one ton of load, their model code was T1000.
As Renoir considered a passenger variant, the leaf springs on the front axle were swapped against coils, otherwise most resembled the Fourgon. Rear-wheel drive, ladder frame, solid axles. The whole car was larger, as it should be able to carry as much load as possible, but a lot smaller than real heavy duty cars like the CMT Torpedo to stay cheap enough.
The interior was pure poverty-spec, as usual on a early 60s commecial vehicle, but the comfort was overall a little above zero.
Often seen on building sites was the flatbed variant, but it was not designed for offrad use and therefore not too succesful. But it was very cheap for $ 8.630 and only $319 service cost. The car was also able to move fast enough, with 17,6 seconds to 100 kph and respectable 129 kph top speed when not fully loaded. Once again the SĂ©rie C proved its economy with 14,3 l consumption.


The delivery van sold far more units. With 4,1 meter it was shorter than the flatbed (4,45 meter) but still offered enough cargo space (4050L). With $ 8.620 almost a bargain and therefore a good seller in Frunia’s professional car market. With 18,3 seconds to 100 slightly slower, but also able to reach 129 kph. Consumption was bearable with 14,6 liter, and it was quite reliable, so the T1000F (F for Fourgon) became an important part of 60s economy in Frunia.


Responsible for trucks and delivery vehicles was the young manager Jacques Grenaud who entered Renoir in 1960 and became responsible for the product line “Renoir professionel”. He was one of seven children of Thierry Grenaud and saw the need for a cheap family hauler.
The Renoir T1000 seemed like the perfect base for it and he created the T1000P (P for personnel) seven-seater. The car still had no power steering or other comfort features, but its interior was not as frugal as in the commercial cars, and it even had a simple AM radio. Nevertheless comfort wasn’t a really strong point, and the “bearable” trim level caused the price to rise to $ 10.100.
But this was still not expensive considering you got a seven-seater with plenty of interior space. The performance dropped due to the weight gain, but the T1000P still managed to go 100 kph after 20,4 seconds and at maximum 128 with pedal to the metal. 15,1 liter regular were not too much for the pockets of a hard-working family man.

The vans were not really popular, but those that really needed one were thankful as Renoir at least offered such a vehicle and many later Renoir buyers remembered being raised in one of these rolling bathubs. The T1000 series reinforced Renoirs image as family-friendly brand and kept the good “blue-collar” reputation.


#5

1965 - A new core product

The Gaston was definitely a popular family car in Frunia, as it was a real five seater despite its tiny dimensions - but it’s interior had one serious problem - the trunk was a joke. The better and faster the cars became, the more the people wanted to use it. Under the working title “Grenouille” Renoir developed a car that was more or less based on the Gaston, but became larger.
To underline what it should be, it was presented in May 1965 as Renoir Compagnon.

The car grew to 3,18 meter length and became a little wider, especially because the middle seat in the rear was a torture in the Gaston. But the overall space in the interior wasn’t much better, but the cargo volume grew to 257 liter, so it accomodated two adults, two kids and their luggage. The Gaston’s rear axle with leaf springs recieved coil springs, further improving the handling. The front longitudinal engine placement swapped to a traverse mounted engine, as Renoir finally figured out how to do that.
Styling wise, Hugo Cuvrilleux did not go far away from the Gaston. but especially the much larger taillights made the still tiny car better visible in the dark, as the Gaston was often overseen by truck drivers and being rammed in the rear.

Wagner Automobile was Renoir’s sales partner for Hetvesia, as the company urgently needed money for their race activities, selling the T1000 models since 1964, the Gaston sport trims since 1955 and now the full range of the Compagnon CMT, who had a 1/3 interest in Wagner, disliked this not too much in the beginning as there were only minor overlaps. Even the also-new for 1965 CMT Bingo, a car of almost identical size, wasn’t a direct opponent, as the $ 10.300 four-seater was completely tuned for handling and had not even a hint of comfort unlike the Renoirs, it was more inspired by FATI.


The entry-level Compagnon was the 1100, but the OHV SĂ©rie A was banned. Power came now from the 50 horsepower SĂ©rie C engine known from the Gaston NE. The four-speed gearbox was also taken over, while CMT still mounted three-speeds in their cheapest car. Compared to the CMT Bingo, it was the much better car despite worse safety and reliability, but not as radical fun-tuned. For $ 10.600, it made the sprint to 100 kph in very good 14,6 seconds, and 139 top speed were good for what it was - a totally basic car, as you saw pure poverty spec when opening the doors. 10 liter consumption were ok for it as well as $352 service cost. No wonder the car sold decent in Frunia, and Wagner dealers reported the same from Hetvesia.

The NE version shared the engine, but had nicer interior with features already known from the Gaston NE, like crank windows (instead of sliding ones), better seats, better heater and a basic AM radio. The safety features were finally up to date, and this caused a weight gain. The car now needed 15,3 seconds to 100 kph and 10,2 liter. But for $ 11.200 it was the better choice compared to the base trim, and it became even more successful, selling more than Renoir could produce, so they had to make their factory larger as fast as they could to meet the demand. Servicing was still no problem for the average family man with yearly $515.


But this still wasn’t the best offer. Hard to believe, but true. The NE was again available as “Sport”, now keeping its radio as the buyers really wanted one, but for only $100 more you recieved an updated variant of the 1.4 liter engine, returning 65 horsepower. This machine was and still is considered as Renoir’s best engine.
At identical consumption and almost the same service fees as the NE; it propelled the Compaignon in 11,8 seconds to 100 and allowed for 152 kph top speed - this was already enough to keep up with midsize cars on the highway.
The only reason why it “only” sold as good as the NE and not much better was the fact that it was already too fast for a “normal” family car and most thought conservative and did not go for the 15 extra horses unless they liked engaged driving.

For those buyers that loved comfort despite a tight budget Renoir offered the Compagnon luxe.
It had a sedan body, 350 liter trunk space and stretched itself to a length of 3,5 meter. The main target was making it as easy to drive as possible, so it even recieved power steering and three-speed automatic transmission. The premium interior was very qualitative and well-equipped for a small car, and the standard AM radio was entertaining, especially compared to the basic one in NE and Sport.
All that extra weigt AND the automatic tamed the 65 horses of the 1.4 engine, and with 13,9 seconds acceleration and 148 kph top speed it was perfectly balanced between quick and tame. There was really few competition on the market that featured similar balance and drivability, so it was worth its $ 12.800 price. For Frunia this was really quite a few so it was the least popular model, but in Hetvesia it was possible to see the one or other of them in city traffic.


As Hetvesia was occupied by Wagner dealers, Renoir sold the car to Archana by themselves, and it was rewarded with instant success, so the T1000 models followed soon. Very surprising was the fact that the luxe was the best-selling Renoir there, as they were sceptical towards hatchbacks and they welcomened automatic transmissions at the same time.

1965 became the most successful year in company history, and at the christmas party the rough beginnings and the formerly omnipresent financial problems were totally forgotten. As the Archanean market had not been opened up by many foreign manufactors (CMT did, but they had another price segment), Renoir decided to build a second factory there, delivering the first vehicles already in 1967.

1966

To meet the demand for the Compagnon, Renoir dropped the Boulevard. It was outdated and selling poor, so this was the right descision although Charles Renoir mourned a top-end model. But at least the Vitesse was left as something rather prestigious.

As this descision was made shortly after the introduction of the Compagnon, Renoir renovated the Avenue to make it more appealing. Equipped with the 65 horsepower engine from Compagnon Sport and Luxe, the performance slightly improved even if it was only one horsepower more than before.
The styling was… more daring than before. The overall shape of CMT car it was based on was a child of the late 50s, and the Renoir clone couldn’t deny that. Hugo Cuvrilleux used the rounded shape and underlined it with art-déco like headlights, reflecting the trapeze line of the car and just to pretend the 50s shape was on purpose. Surprisingly, he did the opposite in the rear, as rectangular taillights gave a contrast to the body shape.


All in all, the car looked interessing, but buyers knew it was just a try to conceal it’s age. Nevertheless, the sales were still decent, but this didn’t help Renoir as much as they wanted, as they still had to pay the license fees. But as long as the Avenue made profit, it was welcomened in the portfolio.
The interor had only detail changes, and it was basically just a visual makeover and a slightly improved engine. The Avenue now needed 15,1 seconds to 100 kph and was able to reach a top speed of 142, all that at a consumption of 13,1 liter regular, half a liter less. The brice rose by $100 to $ 12.700 - still a good offer for a family sedan with no evident weakness. It was even slightly cheaper than the Compagnon luxe, but the two cars had nothing in common despite the engine and targeted different buyers.


#6

I think this is in kilometers, not miles per hour, considering that its engine has just 129 horsepower on tap.


#7

Yes, every statistics here are in metric units.


#8

1969 - self-confident

The late 60s were a challenging time. The company earned solid money, but lacked a figurehead, as the Boulevard had been dropped and it never was the premium car Renoir wanted.
When the Wagner Automobile GmbH in Hetvesia got in financial trouble, Renoir wanted to aquire them in 1967, but CMT was faster and took the knowhow. So Renoir had to rely on the technology they had, and that wasn’t too much.
While a new flagship was under development since 1965, Jacques Grenaud urged for more resources for the “Renoir Professionel” division and presented a renewed Transporteur in February 1969 - and left Renoir a day after for CMT, as the competitor offered him a good job as product manager.

The flatbed variant of the Transporteur was the least successful, and Grenaud discontinued it - Renoir was trimmed for maximum profit, as large investments were made.

The T1000B recieved the updated engine from the 1965 Compagnon Luxe, Sport and the 1966-onwards Avenue. The two extra horsepower allowed for 17,7 seconds acceleration to 100 kph and 129 kph top speed - a small improvement, and the consumption dropped to 14,0 liter, while the price rose to $ 8.830.
Despite a better safety, the design was a reason to go for the new one, as Renoir focussed back on their early styling, looking unconventional and “different”, but offering solid and simple technology.
The sales were solid, and the T-series remained a popular choice among craftsmen in the new decade.


The passenger van returned, now called T1000BF. Higher customer expectations considering drivability and comfort led to the descision to fit the car with power steering. The power steering egalized the better engine economy, so the consumption remained stable at 15,1 liter. But the rather poor acceleration improved noticeably to 18,7 seconds. The modest, but not too low top speed improved by 1 kph to 129 in total. For $ 10.800 the car still sold mediocre but enough to stay in the portfolio.


To offer an alternative to larger delivery vehicles like the CMT Torpedo, Renoir stretched the T1000 to a length of m, offering cargo space. To ensure that the car will do the job, Grenaud urged for a stronger engine - and he got it.

When visiting the area outside the Automation world, he found an engine concept named “Diesel”. These cars had good torque at low rpm and were thrifty. As this worked - in a less serious attempt - good in the Série C, the Série D should be a Diesel engine running on regular gas as there was no Diesel fuel available.
The 2,3 liter four-cylinder engine had injection, as all Diesel engines in the other world had fuel injection, and its long stroke and very low cam profile perfectly simulated the behaivour of a Diesel engine. As this was only possible by using a very low compression, Renoir dared an all-aluminium engine as they expected low stress. The output was 73 hp at 4100 rpm, and the torque was 169 nm at 1500 rpm - just perfect for deliveries.

It was neither dirty and polluting nor as heavy as “real” Diesel engines, but it’s smoothness wasn’t good, just as in a real Diesel. But as that engine was primary designed for delivery vehicles, the shaking idle and raw revving were an acceptable price for torque and economy.
The car stretched from 4,1 to 4,2 meter, now offering 4330L cargo volume and 5700L passenger volume - if needed, but that’s what the official data sheet told. The car was quite pricey with $ 11.300, as D engines were not cheap to produce, but at least the service cost remained low with $ 360 annualy.
The engine allowed for better performance, even going uphill at full load (1373 kg) without too much trouble, accelerating with few load in 14,6 seconds to 100 kph and reaching 136 kph top speed.
The consumption was indeed lower, as it needed only 12,9 liter regular leaded. The T1000DF sold quite good and was the perfect car to test the quality and reliability of the SĂ©rie D in professional use.


The much more interessing car came in May 1969, and it was the long-awaited flagship, called Supérieur.
Renoir wanted a design that was accepted all over the world for global marketing, but nevertheless it should carry the brand’s identity, look unconventiona and avantgardistic.
This difficult task was handed over to the Lavelle Studios. A Lavelle sign on the fenders was left, as this car was a real designer car.

The monocoque chassis did without solid axles, as a double wishbone in front and a semi trailing arm in the rear were used. The trim level was adequate for a large car with a length of 4,6 meter, as the premium interior with high quality materials and goodies like pneumatic central locks, rpm counter, oil pressure and temperature gauge, front and rear headrests, complex ventilation system, foglamps, power steering, standard AM radio and automatic transmission pleased with comfort and progressive design.
Surprisingly, the Supérieur was available with the 2.3 D engine, targetting those that needed a large car for long and frequent use, such as taxi drivers, salesmen and frequent travellers. The car was indeed very thrifty, but not the fastest, but strong enough for crowded city traffic or comfortable highway cruising.

The average consumption of 12,6 liter regular was really bearable for its time and considering the high trim level of the car. 16,9 seconds to 100 kph and 149 kph top speed were - as already said - nothing to stand out with, but enough for an economy premium sedan with automatic.
For $ 16.300 the Supérieur was even quite affordable, and it became one of the better selling cars in the premium family and commuter range, and it was a frequently-bought premium budget.

Most 23D models were bought by fleet managers that liked the mix of affordability, great comfort, economy and exclusive design, but consumers preferred the 19i model. This was exactly what Renoir wanted.
Very early models before March 1970 had “DIESEL” written on the rear, but this was confusing as it ran on conventional petrol, so the “DIESEL” badge changed to “23D”.


For $ 17.400 you could get a “befitting” inline six, but as this was still the Série B, it was handicapped with its rather small displacement of 1,9 liter. With all possible means, including injection like in the Série D, the engineers managed to get 86 horsepower from the old engine.
The economy surely wasn’t as good as with the D engine, but 13,6 liter were only one more, and you got a lot more smoothness and prestige, so the Renoir Supérieur 19i scored acceptable as “real” premium car, where the 23D failed with it’s shaking four-cylinder engine.
The Supérieur 19i was not one of the fastest sedans, but the engine still managed to push the car to 100 kph in 15,3 seconds, a noticeable improvement over the 23D, and 157 kph were at least enough not to get roasted from a midsize on the highway.
The 19i sold definitely better than the 23D and was a lot more successful than the Boulevard in the 50s, but it was not a giant success - it did neither lack comfort, nor styling and the price was not too high - but more power could have helped.



#9

This thread deserves to be put in the Car Design subforum - it’s about one of your many brands, after all.


#10

1970

Based on the Supérieur chassis, Renoir added a new Vitesse. Instead of a mid-engined sports car, Renoir offered a quite unspectacular front-engine coupé. The design was not made by the Lavelle Studios, instead, the less avantgardistic car went for a rather conservative but not old-fashioned line.
Power came from the 86 horsepower I6 - just like in the Supérieur, but as the car should be affordable and offer a nice sporty six-cylinder vehicle for the working class, the trim level was lower than in the Supérieur, No five-gear-transmision, no power windows and central locks, but nice bucket seats in the front, rpm counter and oil temperature gauge.
The rear wheel drive in the Supérieur wasn’t noticeable, the car has a very neutral handling and does not tend to oversteer, so driving a Vitesse was something everybody could handle - there you notice the unobtrusive and pleasant sedan as base.
For $16.400 the car was available at the same price as a Supérieur 23D - not really a bargain in comparison, but for those that looked for a spacious coupé with pleasant handling and nice engine sound the Vitesse was worth a look.

The car was nowhere a sports car, and the performance was well in the range of Frunian pony cars. 12,1 seconds to 100 kph, 164 top speed and 11,9 liter consumption were more for cruising than racing.

The car did not meet the expectations in Frunia, but it scored pretty good on the Hetvesian market.


If the Vitesse was not fast or fancy enough, Renoir now offered a really exclusive car - a GT car with a V12. As Renoir lacked money and experience, a joint venture with F.S.A. was formed in 1964, and in 1970 the car went on sale as Renoir Vainqueur and F.S.A. Turismo Speziale.
Four double wishbone wheel links have the handwriting of F.S.A. as well as the three-liter OHC V12. The engine was quite conservative, the fuel-injected Renoir had 24 valves, the F.S.A. a “quattrovalvole” 48V head. The Renoir Vainqueur featured hydropneumatic suspension for superb comfort. The all-luxury interior was as fancy as the exterior, and the rear seats were relatively spacious.
The sales were good, and the buyers arranged with the poor reliability as extravagancy was one of the car’s main points.

With only three liter displacement, the V12 mobilized only 156 horsepower, but that was enough for 8,94 seconds to 100 kph. 211 kph top speed were also adequate for a GT, as also 16,4 liter regular were. For $ 34.200, the Vainqueur was a good offer as there was hardly anything this fancy under $35.000 available, especially considering the V12.

1971

Time to renovate the Compagnon.

The styling changed to a more reduced and simpler direction, as Renoir considered the design of the Phase I models as meanwhile out-moded due to their chrome and oval grille.
The 1049ccm engine was overworked, but still had 50 horsepower. The changes were only minimal. Better safety was actually the highlight of the Phase II models. The price rose from 10.600 to $10.700, and the performance remained almost identical, while keeping 139 kph top speed it was now margianally faster with 14,6 seconds to 100. Cosumption dropped from 10 to 9,7 liter.

The better equipped model changed its name from NE to TL and kept its $11.200 price. Besides needing 15,2 seconds to 100 kph and 9,9 liter, nothing changed compared to the predecessor.

The two-door sedan Luxe with automatic was not facelifted and left in production, but only for the Archanean market. Renoir considered hatchbacks as cars of the future for small vehicles. All regions except Gasmea and Dalluha, where Renoir was not present, recieved another automatic car, based on the TL, with a three-speed automatic as only difference. Now the 50 horsepower were under pressure, as it needed 18,1 seconds to 100 kph, and 136 were the maximum to go. With 10,7 liter regular leaded it needed also more, but such a small car with automatic was almost unbeatable in city use. It was available for $11.500.

The best offer was still the 1400 sport model, still available for rather cheap $11.300, but the engine was totally unchanged. The better safety equipment increased the weight a little, so the performance did not improve in any way. 11,9 seconds to 100 kph and 152 top speed were still fast for the early 70s, as well as 10,1 liter were not too much. Well - if it had been faster, it might have been too fast for most potential buyers, so re-using the old engine was maybe a good descision.


The sales dropped in Frunia and Hetvesia, as more competitors, partially with newer technology, appeared. But as “a Renoir” had the image of a solid buy, the decrease wasn’t too fast. Renoir Archana reported more than just satisfying sales of the Phase II models. But it was also a warning: For further growth, reusing the 60s stuff would not be enough.


#11

1972

André Renoir took over the lead. Since 1968 he worked in the company in a leading position, after starting as mechanic, then as production worker and as salesman. From 1963 to 68 he wanted to have done almost every job to have a great understanding for every process.

Renoir had the image of reliable boredom in the early 70s - mostly gone were extravagant styling (Gaulois) or innovative concepts (Gaston). Even the Supérieur was quite modest for a premium car.

In the late 60s Renoir wanted to akquire Wagner but lost against CMT - so the upmarket models had to rely on the totally underpowered and outdated SĂ©rie B six-cylinder. Wagner had both a very modern six-cylinder nearlly finished in developement and an image of quality, innovation and exclusivity.
When the Renoir Supérieur came out in 1969, the company started working on a new V6 trying to beat Wagner’s latest engine - and to get back the massive amount of money spent, it led the way to new and more exclusive cars of a totally working-class brand.

André Renoir replaced the aged designer Hugo Cuvrilleux wiith the young Michel Dubois. The task was creating a corporate identity, and changing Renoir into a synonyme for “innovation” without neglecting the regular customers looking for modesty and reliability.

1974

Since 1971, not a single new update had been presented. New colors, interior patterns and minor detail changes like better seats or better noise cancelling on some models had to be enough to keep the buyers interested in Renoir vehicles. The balance sheets noted giant developement expenses and huge losses even if the thrifty D-engines helped being not totally hit in the fuel crisis.

In early March 1974 at the great auto salon, Renoir stole most other manufactors the show. One major facelift and three new models were basically a complete new model lineup.

The eye-catcher was Renoir’s new sports car. With the end of the first generation Vitesse in 1970, Renoir no longer offered a real sports car - the second generation became a conservative looking pony car without serious sporty ambitions. André Renoir considered this a mistake and gave Dubois the task to create a radically modern sports car AND quoting the original Vitesse as much as possible. So a rear engine was set. The final draft was quite small, having a length of only 3,7 meter and a weight of 880 kilogram.

The car named Grand Prix went for the ultra-modern wedge styling, trying to adapt the basic shape of the 1962 Vitesse. The car could not be sold due to it’s name, as the first Vitesse was no great success and the brand not known for highend-vehicles.
The chassis was using four double wishbone links just like all Wagner cars, but outstanding was the use of corrosion resistant material for both monocoque and panels - Renoirs new showpiece should still look great in a few years to pave the way as best as it could for new upmarket Renoir cars.

The engine was more or less a copy of Wagner’s 280, a full aluminium 60 degree V6 featuring a SOHC 24 valvetrain. The size was about the same with 2,7 liter, but it’s output was just 151 horsepower, while Wagner had 162 in 1968 and 164 since 1972. While Wagner relied on injection, Renoir used two four-barrel carburetors. Nevertheless, the new engine allowed superb performance. Only 6,18 seconds were needed to see 100 kph on the speedometer, and 207 kph top speed were enough to be among the fastest on a public highway. 10,6 liter regular unleaded were astonishingly low - one reason for it’s surprising and immense success, as the fuel Crisis increased interest for consumption even for sports cars.
Not to forget the $23.600 price, quite low for a car featuring very progressive design, modern technology and rust-resistant steel. All Renoir markets, Frunia, Hetvesia and Archana noted great sales. The new engine was a strong and weak point at the same time, as it was powerful and a giant step foward, but very unreliable as Renoir lacked experience in high performance engines.


The same engine was now offered in the Supérieur. The days of the underpowered 1,9 liter OHV inline engine were counted. Now 151 horsepower allowed for 190 kph top speed and 10 seconds acceleration, but the consumption altered to 15,6 liter. A great 8-track stereo, medium compound tires, front power windows, leather seats, central locks - the trim level was excellent for a Frunian car. Even aircondition was available as option. While the Supérieur 19i was accessible for $17.400, the 27 TX needed $ 23.200 to buy.

The 27TX model changed from a modest and pleasant car to a high-performer attacking the market leaders. Together with the more than adequate power came also hydropneumatic suspension, increasing the comfort even further. The car became faster and more serious, having not the approach to be the unconventional and reliable alternative to others but to attack. For that reason, the new front design became edgier, underlining that this car IS a serious attacker and to match the new design language from Dubois.


The sales established on a solid level in the premium and family premium segment on all three Renoir markets, but the car was soon known for reliability issues. The Supérieur 27 TX was therefore still only “the alternative”, although a relatively successful one like the 19i before it.

To keep former 19i buyers, the return of the 23D was out of question. Unlike before, Renoir made a visual difference between the cars. While the 27 TX had a glass cover over the headlights, the 23 had none and came with “sunken” headlights. For $ 16.900 the car now offered a little more safety and a new standard 8 track radio. The major change was under the hood, the Série D now ran on unleaded fuel - good for the environment and preparing the car for the future. Despite this, the output increased to 75 horsepower and the smoothness improved, even if on a very low level. The reliability issues from very early D engines were cured on warranty, and now the engines were among the rather sturdy ones due to the low stress.
The performance increase was only minor, now the car needed 16,7s to 100 kph, 150 were the maximum. 12,4l consumption were not longer the great advantage over the competitors that improved their economy dramatically after 1973.
Still a popular taxi or salesman vehicle, but also still “the alternative”, selling less than the 27 TX.


To fill the gap between the Supérieur 23D and the old Compagnon and to replace the very aged Avenue that only played a role as rental, fleet or governmental car, Renoir presented a compact car called Constable.
As usual on cars of that time, it was a hatchback, offered as three-door in base and TL trim and as TL five-door wagon. The ambitious idea was to offer a car “for everyone”, serving all purposes. The handling was nothing to really complain about, but the suspension was still very soft and the ride high - the car should be able to go nearlly anywhere, being comfortable and taking some load. Sporty Drivers should continue to buy the Compagnon. To please almost everyone, the car was styled as conservative as the 1971-onwards Compagnon, but showed the “ligne radicale” new corporate design language at the same time.

The Constable 1400 kept the SĂ©rie C engines mostly known from the Compagnon, but they were adapted for unleaded fuel. This let the horsepower drop to 63, but helped the environment and made the car ready for the future if leaded fuel would not be offered one day.
The chassis was designed to be simple and efficient, a transverse FWD layout with front McPherson struts and rear torsion beam. With a length of 3,87 meter the car fit perfectly in the Frunian family segment.

Small plastic bumpers, no right mirror, no rear wiper - the car looked terribly basic on the first look - but it was not. It had quite good seats with thick upholstery, many compartments, engine temperature gauge and other things that revealed a standard interior, added by a basic radio.
With a four-speed manual, the car made strong 13,7 seconds to 100 kph and was able to run 142 kph. 11,2 liter consumption were not too much, so the SĂ©rie C was still an adequate engine for the mid-70s. Relying on proven technique also kept the price low - $ 11.500 were only 200 more than the Compagnon Sport, but the Compagnon was often sold with Discounts after the introduction of the Constable.


The TL model shared body and engine and still featured the same four-speed manual, as automatic was uncommon in Frunia below the premium segment.
For a compact car, the TL had a lot to offer: Power steering, standard radio, RPM counter, interval wipers, velours cloth, economy gauge, power windows.
The heavier weight and comfort features slowed the acceleration down to 14,6 seconds, and 12 liter consumption were close to some midsize cars with similar trim and performance. But $ 12.900 were a good price for the comfort offered.


Renoir still had plenty of possibilities to improve the TL towards “the perfect car for everyone” idea. And they did.

  • wagon Body for maximum roominess and versatility
  • D engine with better economy and more power
  • automatic transmission, as the better torque allows for it.

The result was the TLD. It had one weak point: $ 15.400, hefty $ 3900 more than the 1400 base model. A lot of money for a family car, a bargain for a premium family car. And this was exactly the gap where Renoir was aiming at: Linking the simpler Constables and the Supérieur.
Indeed, the TLD was a big deal: Large trunk, high trim level, excellent comfort, capable of taking bad roads, quite reliable and acceptable at both performance and economy considering what it offers.
The 75 horsepower D engine accelerated the car in 14,2 seconds to 100 kph and up to 144, needing 12,1 liter unleaded gas.

On the markets, the 1400 and the 1400 TL sold only mediocre. Willing to please everyone, the car lacked profile and real Innovation.
Surprisingly, the 2300 TLD became a giant success and sold as much as 1400 and 1400 TL combined, as it was the most consequent car considering it’s concept - to offer a car fulfilling every wish in a reasonnable way at a realistic price. Plus, the rear design of the wagon was a lot more daring and unique than the three-door.


Renoir was still best known for the Fourgon that was one of the symbols of the resurrection after the war. After many doubts and against some opposition, André Renoir gave green light for a new one exactly re-interpreting the original one.
Ladder frame with front longitudinal engine, rear wheel drive and tiny dimensions, added by solid axles in fronat and rear - the only difference was using coils in the front, where the 1946 Fourgon had also leaf springs.
The car had a length of only 3,8 meter, and the engine bay was very small, so the relatively large D engine seperated driver and passenger by filling some part of the interior, so the occupants sat cramped in the narrow car. In Addition, the car featured exactly no comfort features, just like the original Fourgon. Well, there is definitely some progress to the Fourgon I, but in relation to the common standard of it’s time the Fourgon II was very basic.

What really improved was the performance: The 75 horsepower from the 2.3D engine propelled the car to 100 kph in only 11,5 seconds, and 139 kph were the top speed. Especially for cars being in use all day, 10,4 Liter consumption were a strong Argument for the new Fourgon. The main scenario they were built for was city delivery, often accelerating from standstill and operating in narrow alleys and crowded areas. For $ 10.900 it was an interessing and quite successful addition to Renoir’s delivery vehicle portfolio.



Bf94387 Design showcase [Alfrezza Mattio GT]
#12

1975

After the facelift of the Supérieur it was no surprise that a renovated Vitesse with the new Série E engine would follow. But the facelift was larger than expected: Front and rear were completely new. The original design by Hugo Cuvrilleux was nowhere fitting the “ligne radicale” by Michel Dubois, and a sporty coupé with now a very strong engine must look modern and “ready to attack”, although rather normal compared to the Grand Prix.
A surprise was the engine of the base model. Renoir experimented a lot with the D engine to make them as strong as their conventional counterparts and to further increase their advantage in economy. Together with Wagner, Wagner was one of the first manufactors that used turbo technology. While Wagner cars were hightech sports cars, Renoir offered the innovation to “everybody” in a mid-priced coupé and some delivery vehicles. Although the 1974 models had a lot of positive attention, the very conservative models of the 1960s still gave Renoir the image of uninspired reasonnability.

Normally, the TD engine was never planned to be offered in a passenger car, but after the fuel crisis Renoir saw the market for a fun car with outstanding low consumption. As the 2.3D was not powerful enough, Renoir dared to mount the brand new 2.3 TD in the VItesse. The turbo even emphasized the quirks of the D engine, having a lot of torque very early and being unable to rev high, so many potential buyers were irritated during their test drives.

It mobilized 88 horsepower at 3900 rpm and 207 nm at 2000 rpm - it delivered more punch than the 1970 model with the ancient inline six. With 11,2 seconds to 100 kph, some stirring in the four-speed gearbox gave the car respectable performance, although 160 kph top speed were below the standard for a sports coupe - the D engine lacked top-end power. 10,4 liter consumption were definitively low, but not as sensational as planned - the developers had the task to archieve less than the magical 10 liter border, especially as the car had a totally standard trim. For $15.700 there were alternatives with much better sounding six-cylnder engines that were able to rev high, archieved a higher top speed and needed two to three liters more - and coupé buyers cared more about smoothness and sound than consumption. The Vitesse TD became no success, although it was rewarded as innovative in the public opinion and especially silver agers that had the kids out the house and travelled the one or other long holiday trip after their working life and looked on low running cost due to their pension the TD was a stylish and great last car.


The TS with the 151 horsepower engine was the car the Vitesse was originally planned to be. It could be identified by the glass cover on the headlights, just as the fancier six-cylinder Supérieur had it to differ from the weaker D-engined model.
A quite good 8 track stereo, premium interior with leather seats, fake wood trim and sportier steering wheel, alloy wheels, rear disc brakes - the car was at least one segment above the predecessor and the new TD.
The same could be said for the performance, as the engine propelled it in only 7,6 seconds to 100 kph. The five-speed transmission was geared to reach exactly the prestigious 200 kph top speed. The best argument to do the upgrade from the TD was the consumption: Only 12,4 liter, two more than the less equipped and much slower TD although the cheaper one was also the more reliable despite the turbo.
For $20.600 the car became a huge success on the Hetvesian market, where comfortable coupés with strong engines were popular. The Frunian home market was against a disappointment, as the TS sold not more than the TD there. For Archaneans, the car was too expensive to sell well, even already as TD.


Renoir Professionel showed an update of the T1000. Design wise, only marginal changes were made as this car was not there to impress people but to serve reliably. Instead of three, only two models were offered from now on: The slightly shorter of the two panel vans powered by the SĂ©rie C engine was dropped and the passenger van recieved now also the SĂ©rie D engine. The TD turbo was not used in the T1000 - the 75 horsepower from the non-turbo engine were considered as enough and the turbo as also too expensive as cheaper is always better on the fleet market and the price already rose by $500.
The performance remained identical, and so did the consumption, but the car was safer due to some reinforcements in the structure and it was capable on running on unleaded before it became mandatory - the purchase of the new model guaranteered easy refuelling even in five years. Another welcomened update (not by the boss, but the drivers of the customer) was a lot more comfort in the cabin and power steering. But really good sales were only further archieved on the Frunian home market.


The passenger van dramatically increased it’s price to $ 13.200 - D engines were still a costly thing. But Renoir considered more power and better economy as “worth it”, as these cars were carrying seven people in frequent use. The rather underwhelming performance improved, and now 16,3 seconds to 100 kph allowed for better overtaking. 134 kph were five more for the top speed, but the most important change was the consumption decrease from 15,1 to 13,1 liter. The rather low sales did not improve, and it faded out in late 1979, way before the panel van.


A totally new idea was the Grand Fourgon. This vehicle was the car the TD engine had been developed for. Many customers complained that the “normal” vans were too small for some load, but they wasted money on using half-loaded semi trucks. Renoir saw this as opportunity to develop a giant oversized van.
With 6,7 meter length and 2,4 meter width this car was truly gigantic and offered hilarious 25.900 liter load capacity. If loading heavy stuff, not the whole size could be used - the maximum load was not allowed to exaggerate 2800 kilogram - the engine could not pull more uphill.

If not fully loaded, the performance was surprisingly good thanks to the turbo: 19,4 seconds to 100 kph, 144 top speed and that for only 16 liter consumption. Compared to a semi truck, this car was nimble and very thrifty. As the engne bay was large enough to fit the Série D traverse, FWD was used. The interior had no longer the engine cramping the passengers like in the “small” Fourgon, but the trim was very low to save weight: Without load, the Grand Fourgon was very light for it’s size with 1818 kilogram.

The market gap must have been large enough, as the Grand Fourgon sold excellent. On the other hand, $ 13.800 were very cheap considering what this truck could do, thanks to the on-point-engineering with maximum efficiency.



#13

1976

Renoir still wasn’t present in Gasmea, and only grey imports of Renoir cars populated the road. The IMC consortium saw the Grand Fourgon and saw great potential to sell it under the Weller brand in Gasmea. For that reason, IMC developed an engine in the style of the Renoir D-engines. The 4.0 D was a cast-iron inline six designed for maximum reliability. With 142 horsepower, the 3998 ccm engine offered noticeably better performance, without load only 13,3 seconds were needed to get up to 100 kph, and 172 top speed were very fast considering the terrible aerodynamics, but under real conditions, more than 140 was very hard to get. 18 liter consumption were only two more than the 2.3 TD, and $15.900 only 2.100 more than the small brother, so the car was a great offer. Not only the larger engine was included in the higher price. As the distances were longer in Gasmea, the interior had better seats, better noise cancelling and a radio. In Gasmea the car had Weller badges, in Frunia and Hetvesia it was sold as Renoir, but very rare. Between 1976 and 1982 respectable 66.000 Weller Super Duty were sold, but only 14.200 Renoir Grand Fourgon 4.0D.


1977

The Compagnon now faced its 12th year, and designer Dubois had the difficult task to let a totally outdated car look ready for the 80s. This resulted in the rather unusual styling, while the technical part remained … conservative, to describe it carefully.
The switch to unleaded fuel resulted in a power drop, now the 1100 only offered 46 horsepower in the Phase III model. But as a budget car, the sales were still competetive in Frunia and Hetvesia, and in Archana it still sold frequent as family car.
Despite the power drop, the car was still quite agile and had 100 kph on the odometer after 15,2 seconds, and 136 top speed were enough to drive on a highway. Only the consumption showed the age, as 9,4 liter unleaded were too much for a car of this class. On the other hand: It was reliable and cheap. For $ 10.700 a car to buy, run and to throw away a few years later.


If you wanted the better “TL” trim, automatic transmission was mandatory. The thinner model lineup showed that the Compagnon wasn’t something Renoir still put a lot effort in.
With the 1.4 liter engine from the Constable, 63 horsepower mated to a three-speed automatic allowed for good performance, running 145 kph and accellerating in 14,2 to 100. Again, the consumption was a low point, 9,9 liter were too much, but better than the 1.0 engine that needed 9,4 while offering less power, lower trim and no automatic. For $ 11.600 the car still sold good in all three Renoir markets.


Renoir considered dropping the sport versions, but after the protest of the buyers Renoir took a TL and changed the transmission to a four-speed manual and installed a sportier suspension setup.
The 1400 TR for rather cheap $ 11.400 accellerated in brisk 12,5 seconds to 100 kph, and with a top speed of 150 it was fast enough to be once again a popular fun car. The consumption was identical to the 1100, so the larger SĂ©rie C engines were still the more economical ones.


What if the Compagnon was still to large for your needs? What if you wanted a two-seater with maximum agility at minimum price? What if you preferred something unusual-looking over a decade-old design?

Then the Alouette was your car.
It had the 46 horsepower engine from the base Compagnon, but added the three-speed automatic from the TL, as Renoir considered that shifting manually is something city car buyers should avoid. With a length of only 2,9 meter and a weight of 545 kg, it handled like a Go-Cart despite the very simple chassis with front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam - an advantage over the Compagnon that had a solid rear axle.
The interior was as cheap as in the base compagnon, but had a more progressive and daring design. The car did not even have front disc brakes as they were not needed for such a light car.
15,1 seconds to 100 kph, 128 top speed and 9 liter consumption - again the smallest SĂ©rie C variant had not been a great deal in economy.
Although it was the cheapest new car with automatic transmission, the sales were at best mediocre for $ 10.000, and the main reason might have been the high consumption for a city car. A prototype with D engine was tested, but the Ds were still too expensive for small budget cars, so Renoir started developement for the “Série F” engines to replace the “Série C”.


1978

The following year was a very important one for Renoir. The Constable was facelifted, but the base model remained unchanged.

The TL was now offered with a wagon body, having a standard interior and a basic 8-track stereo. The engine remained unchanged like in the Compagnon TS. 0-100 were made in 15,5 seconds, having a top speed of 138 kph. 11,6 liter regular unleaded consumption were ok for a family car, but the Série C started to show it’s age also in the larger Constable. Nevertheless it was a good offer for $12.300, selling very good as family car in Frunia, Hetvesia and also Archana, although it was quite pricey for Archanean standards.


The TLD returned with an updated engine, the 2.3D now had 77 horsepower, a growth of two. The exterior now differed from the lower trim, as the TLD had covered headlights like the Supérieur V6. Central locks, velour fabric and front power windows were some features of the premium interior, and the standard 8-track added even more comfort. The automatic now had four speeds, and the acceleration minimally improved to 14 seconds, while the top speed altered a little to 146 kph. The consumption dropped by 0,2 liter to 11,9, showing that the D engines really were thriftier than others. The price grew to $16.300, placing it in the family utility premium segment.


In 1978, Renoir also introduced one of their most popular model, the Chamonix. Unlike it’s predecessor, the Supérieur, the new flagship had a hatchback, a risky move in the large car segment considering Hetvesia, while Frunians were already used to the shape. While the Supérieur was only aiming at the premium segment, the trim range of the Chamonix was a lot wider.
A main goal was improving the efficiency, as the Chamonix was lighter, slightly smaller with a length of 4,50 meter and more aerodynamic. The large interior was now added by a larger and more versatile trunk, making it an almost perfect family car. The suspension was largely taken over, but the car switched to front-wheel drive, like usual in Frunia. Another improvement was the better overall reliability, as the Supérieur Phase II failed especially as V6 in this discipline.

The base trim was equipped with the 77 horsepower 2.3 D engine, offered for $15.500. The standard interior featured good seats, two interior lights (also one for the rear passengers), foldable rear seats, interval wipers, a complex ventilation system, lights in glovebox, trunk and the doors (if opened). The radio was just a basic AM one, and power steering was not standard. The light construction allowed for good performance, with clever use of the four-speed manual, the car had 100 on the odometer after just 13,5 seconds, and 162 kph top speed suited long highway trips, especially considering the rather low consumption of 10 liter.
As it was superior to the Constable in handling, refinement of suspension, noise cancelling and economy, it sold stable, aiming at those that wanted a good-handling car with great economy for frequent long-distance travel. Great load capacity and bearable service cost made it a good package for salesmen.

The 2.3D was also available with a better TL trim for $16.100, still less than the Constable TLD.
Visually the TL differed from the base model by a chrome frame around the rear plate indent and the window frame. The interior added a RPM counter and rear headrests as well as an 8-track-stereo. The most important upgrade was power steering.
The car was as fast as the base model, needing 13,6 seconds to 100 and going 162 kph, only the consumption was a little higher with 10,6 liter.


The TL was also available with a 2,0 liter V6, derived from the SĂ©rie E. With two four-barrel carburetors, the engine delivered 163nm at 2900 rpm and 111 horsepower at 5700 rpm - definitely enough to propell the light car in a very sporty manner. The 175R14 wheels were upgraded to 185R15 to make use of the good suspension.

The sprint to 100 kph was made in 10,3 seconds, and 184 kph were impressive, mainly due to the good aerodynamics. A good score was the economy, as 11,4 liter regular were quite low for a six-cylinder family car without a fifth gear. So why buying the 2.3 TL then?
Well, the V6 was not only a lot more expensive with $18.900, the reliability was also noticeably lower as those of the simpler D engines. Nevertheless, the 2.0 TL sold good as family sport car.


For more comfort, Renoir offered the 2.0 TX for $20.700, featuring a four-speed automatic transmission, chrome grille with covered headlights, chrome mirrors, more chrome around the window frames, premium interior with velour fabric, front and rear armrests, power windows and mirrors and many other goodies. The radio was a standard 8-track, not too fancy, but adequate for a premium family car.
The much better trim affected performance, now needing 11,6 seconds to 100 kph, getting up to 180 top speed. 12,3 liter comsumption were not sensational but a good result for a car that comfortable. In Frunia this car sold among the top family premium cars, in Hetvesia with almost the same success, and in Archana this car worked very well as family premium and premium car, selling a lot better than the Supérieur before.


The top model for $24.200 was the 27 TXL, coming with a revised version of the 2,7 liter V6, now delivering 154 horsepower and using a single-point injection system. The car had larger headlights with extra foglamps, hydropneumatic suspension and a premium stereo as upgrades from the TX.
It made the sprint to 100 in only 8,8 seconds and crossed the magical 200 kph border with running 202 kph top speed. The hydropneumatic made it thirsty, needing 15 liter for 100 kilometer. Nevertheless, the car sold great in Frunia, especially as company car for leading employees and self-employed people. Hetvesians were not that enthusiastic, but bought the TXL in also quite large amounts.


After eight years, the Vainqueur was no longer competetive and the compromise between sportiness and comfort was no longer needed, as it was now also offered with the 2,7 liter V6.
V6 or V12 was not a question of power, as both engines were equal in horsepower. With a manual transmission, the Vainqueur 27/6 was as fast as the Chamonix TXL, needing 8,8 seconds to 100 kph, but it was capable to reach 212 kph top speed for 14,9 liter regular.
For $ 28.600 it sold great as GT car in all three Renoir markets, still making profit from the extravagant shape and technology.


The V12 with 157 kph for $36.500 still featured the FSA three-liter engine, now adapted to unleaded fuel. It added a four-speed automatic and a luxury stereo system with ten speakers, digital equalizer and different sound programs.
The car was by no means sporty, as it was tuned for maximum comfort and drivability, needing long 10 seconds to 100 kph and having a top speed of 207 kph for 17 liter regular unleaded - the high price made it rare, but especially elder rich people in Frunia loved this car as few matched it in style, comfort and prestige despite the mediocre performance considering it had a V12.
The Vainqueur was sold until the end of 1983 - a very long model run for Renoir’s most unique luxury vehicle.