To this day no one is surprised when two or more manufacturers to join forces and budgets for the joint development of engines, platforms or even complete vehicles. However, in the years 70 of the past century, these collaborations were something more strange and used to be done between brands of the same business group. What could be striking was that two groups, apparently rival work towards the launch of a vehicle like the Renault 14, developed in collaboration with Peugeot.
This is not to say that it has been the single collaboration between natural enemies. It escapes no one that the engine 1.598 cc, who sat on the Chrysler PT Cruiser was the same that was used by the Mini R50 although the american brand was under the orbit of DaimlerChrysler AG (today Daimler AG) and the English model was under the umbrella of BMW.
going Back to the 70’s of the TWENTIETH century, one can say that it was a decade in turmoil and many changes in the automotive sector. Although there are many who blame everything the first oil crisis, there are also be taken into account social factors as the blossoming of a new middle class well-to-do and the unstoppable increase of women behind the wheel.
Logically, the automotive industry also participated in these social changes. On the one hand, the improvement in construction processes enabled factories to increase production, reduce the unit price of cars and give each time more importance to the export. On the other hand all of the brands wanted to participate in the success of a new category of automobiles, the compact, created in 1972 with the launch of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud, and that has the Volkswagen Golf as its highest exponent.
Renault in the 70’s
By that time, the French manufacturer Renault has a range formed by vehicles of great commercial success but it is certainly outdated in all aspects. Only the Renault 5, launched in 1972, could be classified as a vehicle relatively modern, but let’s not forget that he used the frame of the Renault 4 and the scheme of suspension of the Renault 16. In fact, while in Spain it is quite rare to find, the first units of the Renault 5 were riding in the selector of the change in the dashboard and not on the ground.
The first half of the decade of the 70s of the last century were for Renault years of changes to a certain extent it could be seen as targeting errors at the time of designing a range adapted to your market.
Although in Spain and Mexico Renault 8 remained in effect until the year 1976, in the main european markets was replaced progressively from the year 1969 by the Renault 12, a saloon of 4’35m length considerably more powerful, spacious, modern and expensive than a Renault 8. Interestingly, the Renault 12 was even more over the top model Renault 16. This meant that the French manufacturer had two ranges excessively differentiated in its catalogue: on the one side were large and expensive Renault 12 and 16, and on the other hand, the small and cheap Renault 4, 5 and 6 that, still released in different years, were developed all over the frame of the Renault 4. In fact, the reason of the launch of the Renault 6 in 1968 was to move the design of the Renault 16 and the Renault 4.
With these premises and with a great economic investment has been mobilized for the impending launch of the Renault 5, in 1971, Renault began working on the draft 121 as a saloon of three bodies that serve to replace both the Renault 6 as the basic versions of the now defunct Renault 8 that had not been followed in the Renault 12.
The project 121
During the development phase were thousands of changes, they left the body of three bodies in favor of one of two volumes and was ruled out completely the master design of the Renault 16. The reason for these changes was that, while Renault wanted a competitor for the Alfa Romeo Alfasud and vw Golf, in the French market to this new model should fight with a successful Simca 1100 (Simca 1200 in Spain).
After years of development, the new product was, presented in January 1976 under the name of Renault 14 and went on sale in June of the same year with great repercussions in the press of the engine.
with Respect to all of the competition, this new product from Renault had a design is very clean at base of straight lines that connected one to another smoothly and without sharp edges marked. In the side view, highlighting the great importance that had been given to the glazed surface and despite having a robust C-pillar was not a car visually heavy: the double lateral plane generated by a line of tension that arose in the wheel arch front and that seemed to vanish when you get to the rear wheel arch, it produced a visual effect of double shine which made it really attractive, especially in metallic colours. It was an aesthetic solution similar to the Renault 12. In fact both cars were designed by Robert Broyer.
the rear of The Renault 14 was bulbous in spite of the great importance of the visual that I had in all elements of the horizontal line. This was because there were no edges marked and all elements seemed to be united under a same continuity.
The area of the car, more controversy arose it was without a doubt the front. Although in the first sketches, they had opted for a frontal complex, almost baroque, similar to the Renault 16, when the Renault 14 saw the light he did it with a front presided over by a big black grille that included two optical groups of significant size, and a horizontal grid on black plastic. Depending on the trim level, the grill could go framed with a strip of chrome.
A new aesthetic language
The criticism did not take long to appear among the public at large, who branded the front of the Renault 14, not to say the whole car, bland and have little relationship to aesthetic with the rest of the products of the brand. Even some publications claimed that the car was “little French”.
however, there was a design flaw as tremendous as uncomfortable: the handles of the doors. To enter the vehicle had to grab a few handles of large size and metallic finish, and they were very nice and aligeraban the overall design of the car, but to open the doors had to press a button that was just above the handle, which forced to make a move certainly unnatural in the hand and even to turn the wrist.
the interior of The Renault 14 was spacious for four or five people and was chaired by a dashboard dial horizontal development that incorporated the chapel of instruments integrated for the first time in a vehicle of the brand. Had No center console but with the glove box closed and all controls, including those of the internal heating, were to the left and right of the instrumentation, giving it a robust appearance but practical at the same time. For its part, the trunk had a capacity of 335 liters, expandable up to 950 if abatía the back seat. But on the inside there was another design error is that the models equipped with the watch, it stood just in front of the gear lever in a position very low both from the anatomical point of view as for security reasons.
in Addition, the manufacturer made another “error” when launching this vehicle: in its advertising campaign compared the car with a pear and was not an idea very well received by the market.
At a technical level, the Renault 14 was an engine in the front and cross-sectional front wheel drive, something that is supposed to basic for this vehicle in which should prevail the maximum use of the interior both for the interior as for the boot inside of dimensions contained. In fact it is the first Renault with an engine in cross-sectional.
For the development of this new vehicle, Renault turned to the agreement of collaboration that I had with Peugeot since the year 1966. In fact, the Renault 14, 1976 is tentatively related to the Peugeot 304 of 1969, with which it shares the MacPherson strut front suspension, the braking system is mixed or the steering mechanism, among other things. However, there is a technical difference that is very important:
The Renault 14 was mounted on the chassis of the Peugeot 204 conveniently evolved and, according to level of motorisation, with torsion bar in the rear axle.
The decision of to use so many elements from Peugeot was not very well received by the critics and not by the fact that Renault had a againstto collaboration with Peugeot, which in the end was also French and to a certain extent apaciguaba the souls of the most patriotic, but by the fact that the same had happened with the launch of the Renault 5, was adorned with modernity a product that used technical solutions are already viewed with much earlier: it was not logical that the “modern” Renault 5 of 1972 equipase a rack, released in 1961, nor that the “modern” Renault 14, 1976 equipase technical solutions of a Peugeot launched seven years before.
These criticisms were short or almost anecdotal when they began the marketing of the Renault 14 and is made with a block XZ also source Peugeot with a 1,218 cc, and 57cv able to launch this vehicle up to 143km/h through a change of four speeds, in this case, it was Renault. The block was tilted backward at an angle of 28º with respect to the perpendicular, which allowed the design on the front.
Initially manufactured in Douai (Hauts-de-France) and in Haeren (Bruxelles-Capitale), the Renault 14 was released in two versions: the basic L and the more equipped TL, quite austere in both cases. It was not until 1978 when it was model GTL with more equipment and a better finish. Interestingly, in spite of equipping the same motor and the same change, homologaba a maximum speed in excess of a kilometre an hour, and a consumption that turned out to be a tenth of a litre lower.
In the year 1979 appeared the version TS. I rode the same engine but improved the figures of power and torque to the 69cv and 96Nm. Rode also a change manual four-speed and its maximum speed was 155km/h.
In 1980, it produces a update the range. On an aesthetic level changes are reduced basically to the front, where the turn signals are no longer in the bumper to be placed at the side of the headlights-main to bring his image to that of the Renault 18. It also appears a new catalog of exterior colors and interiors and the bumpers and side moldings leave the gray color and become black in all finishes.
This update also brought new developments in what refers to the structuring of the range. The basic model L ceased to be marketed, and the more “sporty” TS adopted a new block, also source Peugeot, 1.360 cc. offered 70cv, 106Nm of torque, and improved both the response as the consumption. Interestingly, the Renault 14 TS happened to be the most powerful of the range and at the same time the most economical to the approved 8’1 l/100km, the same as the GTL.
In 1982, when the car lived its last phase commercial, the Renault 14 GTL adopted the engine 1.360 cc but with the power limited to 60cv and consumption approved of only 7’4 l/100km.
The Renault 14 in Spain
The Renault 14 he began his career trading in Spain in the year 1980 when it began to be manufactured in the factory that Fasa Renault has in Palencia. In our country it is marketed only versions GTL and GTS. This last with a more powerful engine and details like electric windows front and central locking.
The press of our country stressed that both models were very large and comfy, and that they had a good team of brakes, but also that the direction was hard and something “strange” and a high regime, engines were noisy and lacking in power.
The end of the Renault 14
The manufacturer ceased production of the Renault 14 in the year 1983 when it launched the Renault 11 as the version of five doors, the Renault 9, launched in 1981. The Renault 9 and 11 were vehicles, much more modern than the Renault 14, but of course, “modern” in the eyes of the Renault of the 80s: the first units equipped with an evolution engine Cléon-Fonte, presented at the Geneva motor show of 1962 for models Renault 8 and Renault Florida S. that Is to say, 20 years before.
When speaking of the Renault 14 we can not talk about a failure in the strict sense of the word, because arrived to manufacture around a million units, but it was a car that just enjoyed some success in the markets the French and the Spanish, who were the ones who really completed the bulk of the units.