The Dauphine pioneered the modern European economy car

Renault Dauphine

Gordini - 65

Renault Dauphine is a rear-engined economy car

manufactured by Renault in a single body style — a three-

box, four-door sedan — as the successor to the Renault

4CV, with over two million units sold worldwide during its

production run from 1956 until 1967.

Renault   marketed   variants   of   the   Dauphine,   including   a   sport   model,   the   Gordini,   a   luxury version,   the   Ondine,   the   1093   factory   racing   model,   and   the   Caravelle/Floride,   a   Dauphine- based two-door convertible.


As   Louis   Renault's   successor,   and   as   Renault's   chairman,   Pierre   Lefaucheux   continued   to   defy   the postwar   French   Ministry   of   Industrial   Production   —   which   had   wanted   to   convert   Renault   solely to   truck   manufacture.   Lefaucheux   instead   saw   Renault's   survival   in   automobiles   and   achieved considerable success with the 4CV, with over 500,000 produced by 1954. The   Dauphine   was   born   during   a   conversation   with   Lefaucheux   and   engineer   Fernand   Picard. The two   agreed   the   4CV   was   appropriate   in   its   postwar   context,   but   that   French   consumers   would soon need a car appropriate for their increasing standard of living.


Internally   known   as   "Project   109"   the   Dauphine's   engineering   began   in   1949   with   engineers Fernand Picard, Robert Barthaud and Jacques Ousset managing the project. A   1951   survey   conducted   by   Renault   indicated   design   parameters   of   a   car   with   a   top   speed   of 110   km/h   (68   mph),   seating   for   four   passengers   and   fuel   consumption   of   less   than   7   L/100   km (40   mpg-imp;   34   mpg-US).   The   survey   indicated   that   women   held   stronger   opinions   about   a   car's colors than about the car itself (See below, Marrot at Renault). Engineers   spent   the   next   five   years   developing   the   Dauphine.   Within   the   first   year,   designers   had created   a   ⅛th   scale   clay   model,   studied   the   model's   aerodynamics,   built   a   full   scale   clay   model, studied   wood   interior   mockups   of   the   seating,   instrument   panel,   and   steering   column   —   and built the first prototype in metal. Having   largely   finalized   the   exterior   design,   testing   of   the   prototype   began   at   Renault's   facilities at Lardy, France — by secrecy of night, on July 24, 1952. Using   new   laboratories   and   new   specially   designed   tracks,   engineers   measured   maximum   speed, acceleration,   braking   and   fuel   consumption   as   well   as   handling,   heating   and   ventilation,   ride, noise   levels   —   and   parts   durability.   Engineers   tested   parts   by   subjecting   them   to   twisting   and vibration stresses, and then redesigning the parts for manufacture. By August   1953,   head   engineer   Picard   had   an   almond   green   prototype   delivered   to   Madrid   for   dry condition   testing   —   ultimately   experiencing   only   five   flat   tires   and   a   generator   failure   after 2,200   km   (1,400   mi).   Subsequently,   Lefaucheux   ordered   engineers   to   test   a   Dauphine   prototype directly   against   a   Volkswagen   Beetle.   The   engineers   determined   that   noise   levels   were   too   high, interior   ventilation   and   door   sealing   were   inadequate   and   most   importantly,   the   engine   capacity was   insufficient   at   only   four   CV   (748   cc). The   four-cylinder   engine   was   redesigned   to   increase   its capacity   to   845   cc   by   increasing   the   bore   to   58   mm   —   giving   the   car   a   new   informal   designation, the   5CV.   By   1954,   a   second   series   of   prototypes   incorporated   updates,   using   the   older   prototypes for crash testing. Lefaucheux   followed   the   testing   carefully   —   often   meeting   with   his   engineers   for   night   testing   to ensure   secrecy   —   but   did   not   live   to   see   the   Dauphine   enter   production.   He   was   killed   in   an automobile   accident   on   February   11,   1955,   when   he   lost   control   of   his   Renault   Frégate   on   an   icy road   and   was   struck   on   the   head   —   by   his   unsecured   luggage   as   the   car   rolled   over.   The   Flins factory   was   renamed   in   his   honor,   and   he   was   succeeded   on   the   project   by   Pierre   Dreyfus.   A monument   in   Lefaucheux's   memory   is   erected   at   the   Saint-Dizier   highway   exit,   Haute-Marne 52100. By   the   end   of   testing,   drivers   had   road   tested   prototypes   in   real   world   conditions   including   dry weather   and   dusty   condition   testing   in   Madrid,   engine   testing   in   Bayonne,   cold   testing   at   the Arctic   Circle   in   Norway,   suspension   testing   in   Sicily,   weatherseal   testing   in   then-Yugoslavia   with more than two-million kilometers of road and track testing. In   December   1955,   Pierre   Bonin   (director   of   the   Flins   Renault   Factory)   and   Fernand   Picard presented   the   first   example   to   leave   the   factory   to   Pierre   Dreyfus,   who'd   taken   over   the   project after the death of Pierre Lefaucheux.


Renault   first   officially   revealed   the   model's   existence   to   the   press   through   L’Auto   Journal   and L’Action   Automobile   et   Touristique   in   November   1955   —   referring   to   it   simply   by   its   unofficial model designation "the 5CV". Advance   press   preview   testing   began   on   February   4,   1956,   under   the   direction   of   Renault   press secretary   Robert   Sicot,   with   six   Dauphines   shipped   to   Corsica.   Journalists   were   free   to   drive anywhere   on   the   island,   while   under   contract   not   to   release   publication   before   the   embargo date of March 1, 1956. The   Dauphine   debuted   on   March   6,   1956   at   Paris'   Palais   de   Chaillot   with   over   twenty   thousand people   attending,   two   days   before   its   official   introduction   at   the   1956   Salon   International   de l'Auto in Geneva.


In   addition   to   its   internal   project   number,   Project   109,   the   prototype   had   been   called   by   its unofficial   model   designation,   the   "5CV"   and   Lefaucheux,   Renault's   chairman,   often   simply   called it   L'   machine   de   Flins   (the   Flins   machine),   referring   to   the   Flins   factory   where   Renault   would ultimately initiate its production. Renault   considered   the   name   Corvette   for   its   new   model,   but   to   avoid   a   conflict   with   the recently   launched   Chevrolet   Corvette   instead   chose   a   name   that   reinforced   the   importance   of the project's predecessor, the 4CV, to France's postwar industrial rebirth. The   final   name   was   attributed   to   a   dinner   conversation   at   the   l'auberge   de   Port-Royal,   chaired by   Fernand   Picard,   where   either   Jean-Richard   Deshaies   or   Marcel   Wiriath   said   "the   4CV   is   the Queen   of   the   road,   the   new   arrival   can   only   be   the   Dauphine.   Dauphine   is   the   feminine   form   of the French feudal title of Dauphin, the heir apparent to the throne. Ironically,   both   Robert   Opron   and   Flaminio   Bertoni   of   Citroën   had   wanted   to   name   the   Citroën Ami6 the Dauphine, though by that time, Renault had registered the name.


Engine 845 cc 4 cylinders Power 40 HP Top Speed 125 km/h Lenght 3,94 m Widht 1,52 m Weight 630 kg The collections Dauphine is in original condition.
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.