A Century of Cars: 20. Solido 1954 Renault 4CV
The Renault 4CV is an economy car
produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947 to July
1961. As the first French car to sell over a million units, the 4CV
was ultimately superseded by the Renault Dauphine. The 4CV was a
four-door sedan of monocoque construction, 3.6 metres in length with
front suicide doors and using Renault's Ventoux engine in a
rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
The 4CV was originally conceived and designed covertly by Renault engineers during the German occupation of France during World War II, when the manufacturer was under strict orders to design and produce only commercial and military vehicles. A design team led by Fernand Picard, Charles-Edmond Serre and Jean-Auguste Riolfo envisioned a small, economical car suitable for the economically difficult years which would inevitably follow the war.
In 1940 Louis Renault had directed his engineering team to "make him a car like the Germans'."`And until the arrangement was simplified in 1954, the 4CV featured a 'dummy' grill comprising six thin horizontal chrome strips, intended to distract attention from the similarity of the car's overall architecture to that of the German Volkswagen, while recalling the modern designs of the fashionable front engined passenger cars produced in Detroit during the earlier 1940s.