Classic Cars

Renault Dauphine (1956-67)

March 5, 2013

Renault Dauphine 1963After the successful 4CV, the new Renault Dauphine was unveiled in 1956. Like its predecessor, the Renault Dauphine was a four-door sedan. It had a roomy interior with seats for four people. The dashboard layout was uncluttered, with a red and black steering wheel and matching seats. Renault Dauphine presented also some new features, such as the heating and adjustable seats.

The drivetrain arrangement was nearly identical to that of the 4CV. Renault Dauphine was rear-engined, fitted with water cooled, in-line four engine. From the capacity of 845cc, the engine delivered around 30 horsepower. Power was delivered to the rear wheels through a three-speed manual gearbox. Dauphine wans’t very fast car. Acceleration from zero to hundred took around 30 seconds. Renault Dauphine provided comfortable ride on the road thanks to the independent suspension, but the car handling was a bit of a challenge.

The engine was fitted in the back, which put most of the car’s weight on the rear wheels. Renault Dauphine featured a simple swing axle suspension at the rear, which didn’t provide very good handling characteristics. A few years later Renault unveiled a new Aerostable suspension, which improved Dauphine’s stability and roadholding.

Despite its little problems, the Renault Dauphine became a huge success on the market. Renault Dauphine was produced in France at the Flint plant in, where a new car left the assembly line every 20 to 30 seconds. The Billancourt site, which had the most highly automated workshops with transfer lines, produced engine every 28 seconds. In the late 1950’s, Dauphine’s production represented about two thirds of all the cars built by Renault. Dauphine was a big hit outside France too, with export sales accounting for 43% of production. Due to the huge demand, Renault Dauphine was also manufactured in Italy, Spain, Brazil and Africa.

During the years of production, Renault Dauphine featured many luxurious and sporty versions, like Gordini, Ondine and 1093, which was built as a basis for a race car. The production of the Dauphine ended at the end of December 1967, with the total of 2,150,738 units manufactured.