RENAULT DAUPHINE (pronounced ) is a rear-engined economy car
* 1 Conception
* 2 Prototyping
* 2.1 Debut * 2.2 Name
* 3 Design
* 3.1 Technical
* 3.2 Styling and interior
* 3.3 Marrot at
* 4 Variants * 5 Manufacture * 6 Succession
* 7 Reception
* 7.1 Sales
* 7.1.1 USA
* 7.2 Criticism
* 8 Motorsport * 9 References * 10 External links
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
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 everyday 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 – a total of more than two million kilometres of road and track testing.
In December 1955, Pierre Bonin (director of the Flins
Advance press preview testing began on February 4, 1956, under the
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". Lefaucheux, Renault's chairman, often simply called it La
machine de Flins (the Flins machine), referring to the Flins factory
The final name was attributed to a dinner conversation at 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.
At introduction, the Dauphine was positioned in the marketplace
between the concurrently manufactured 4CV , and the much larger
Frégate . The new model followed the 4CV's rear-engine, four-door
three-box sedan format, while providing greater room and power and
pioneering a new focus for
The Dauphine used a version of the 4CV's water-cooled Ventoux engine with capacity increased from 760 cc to 845 cc, and power increased from 19–32 hp (14–24 kW). According to Road "> Swing axle suspension characteristics: : camber change on bumps, jacking on rebound
There was also the option of a semi-automatic transmission - in effect a manual-selection transmission coupled to dry clutch that engaged and disengaged by touching the gearshift – beginning in 1957 with an electromagnetically operated Ferlec clutch and no separate clutch pedal – similar to Volkswagen's Autostick . Beginning in 1963, the Dauphine could be had with three-speed transmission with electro-mechanical control, developed by Jaeger, which functioned as a fully automatic transmission. Renault's "automatic transmission" was controlled by five dash-mounted buttons: R N D 2 1. A Renault advertisement at the time said "out went the stick, in went the pushbuttons – and in stayed the zip, the fun, the economy (35-40 miles a gallon isn't unusual). That's because the only difference between our shift and shiftless cars is this: an electronic control unit on our pushbutton model shifts the gears for you, automatically." Drive layout
* SUSPENSION: Front suspension was conventional coil-spring/wishbone
layout with an anti-roll bar and rack-and-pinion steering , on a
detachable front cross member. Rear suspension was a high-pivot swing
axle with concentric coil-spring/telescopic dampers sitting atop the
swing tubes which
The rear swing axle design, unless ameliorated by any of several
options, can allow rear tires to undergo large camber changes during
fast cornering, leading to oversteer – a dynamically unstable
condition in which a vehicle can lose control and spin.
* ENGINE CONFIGURATION: Speaking about the Dauphine's rear-engine,
rear-wheel-drive layout , Renault's Fernand Picard said in a paper he
delivered in 1957 that the car was part of a rear-engine trend led by
Volkswagen, Fiat and
ENGINE FUEL Displacement cc Power hp (kW) Torque N·m (lb·ft) TOP SPEED 0-60 mph seconds 0–97 km/h seconds Power-to-weight ratio W/kg (hp/tonne)
Type Ventoux 670-1 Gasoline 845 27.0 (20.1) at 4000 rpm 66 (49) 112 km/h (70 mph) 37 38.43 (41.54)
Gordini - Ventoux 670-5 Gasoline 845 36 (26.8) at 4000 rpm 65 (48) 130 km/h (81 mph) 30 40.68 (54.55)
STYLING AND INTERIOR
The Dauphine used a three-box design of the ponton genre , with cargo volume forward and engine volume rearward.
Overall, Dauphine styling was a scaled down version of the Renault
Frégate , itself a classic three-box design of the ponton genre .
The Dauphine had a front-hinged trunklid, which housed the headlights and opened to a seven-cubic-foot trunk. The spare tire was carried horizontally under the front of the car, behind an operable panel below the bumper.
The interior featured adjustable front bucket seats and a rear bench seat, a heater, painted dash matching the exterior, twin courtesy lamps, a white steering wheel, rear bypassing (vs. roll down) windows, twin horns (town and country) selectable by the driver and twin open bins on the dashboard in lieu of gloveboxes. Exterior finishes included a range of pastel colors.
Subsequent to its introduction, and as a promotion for both companies
(and an early instance of co-branding ),
MARROT AT RENAULT
Main article: Paule Marrot
In 1950, the president of General Motors (GM) had visited Renault, noting the cars' drab colors, inside and out. According to their own 1951 SURVEY, Renault's studies had shown that women held stronger opinions on the colors of a car than the actual choice of a particular model. Coincidentally, well-known Parisian textile artist Paule Marrot (1902–1987) had written to Renault's chairman, Lefaucheux, giving her opinion that the cars of postwar Paris were a uniformly somber parade, and wondering whether an artist could not help find fresh, vibrant colors.
Marrot had attended Paris' prestigious L’école des Arts Décoratifs , had won a gold medal in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes and had received a 1928 Prix Blumenthal .
Convinced of her value to the project,
Pierre Lefaucheux made her a
member of the Dauphine team — "to rid
Working with four others and after setting up a new test laboratory
to measure fabric wear as well as paint wear and uniformity, Marrot
proposed new body and interior colors. The new paint colors contrasted
with those from the competition, the
Peugeot 203 and
Later in life, Marrot went on to win the French Légion d\'honneur (Legion of Honor) , and Marrot's textiles were later licensed by companies as diverse as Nike and Hayden-Harnett .
The Ondine was offered with a 4-speed transmission, from 1960 to 1962.
The 1093 was a factory racing model limited edition of 2,140 homologated , which were tuned to 55 hp (41 kW) and featured a twin-barrel carburettor , rear track rods, four-speed manual transmission and tachometer, had a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph), and were produced in 1962 and 1963. All were painted white with two thin blue stripes running front to back along the hood, roof and trunk.
The Dauphine was also manufactured worldwide:
Industrias Kaiser Argentina
BRAZIL: The Dauphine was also produced under license by
A total of 74,627 units was produced in Brazil.
ITALY: In Italy
NEW ZEALAND: Dauphines were assembled under contract to W R Smallbone
Ltd by Todd Motors'
Petone plant from 1961 to 1967, according to Mark
Webster's book Assembly. This lists 1964 output at 199 units, 384 in
1965, 354 in 1966 and 233 in 1967.
JAPAN: In Japan, the
SPAIN: In Spain, Renault's subsidiary F.A.S.A built Dauphine FASA between 1958-1967 (125,912 units).
UNITED STATES: The Dauphine was the base vehicle for the electric Henney Kilowatt . Among the aftermarket options for the Dauphine was a supercharger from United States company Judson Research this sold in 1958 for US$165, and was designed to be installed in about two hours without any chassis or body modifications.
By the early 1960s, Renault's sought to avoid the
single-model-culture that had nearly destroyed Volkswagen,
accelerating the development of the Dauphine's successor, the R8 ,
which supplemented the Dauphine in 1962.
In 1956, according to a retrospective in The Independent , when the Dauphine debuted "it proved an almost instant success across the globe: the new coachwork was deemed highly elegant, the price was low, and the Dauphine's overall size was still suitable for congested Parisian streets."
In 1957 the US motoring weekly The Motor called the Dauphine the "prettiest little four-seater in the world".
In June 1957 Popular Science gave a phonetic tip on how to pronounce the car's name as Renno DOUGH-feen, saying "the car feels and acts like a Detroit product, despite the caboose engine" and adding "Nimble, it reaches 50 mph in 19 seconds. It darts through traffic like a beagle after a cottontail."
By 1958 Popular Science had both good and bad to report, saying "It has a host of exquisite touches, you can lock the steering wheel with the ignition key, an ideal frustration for thieves. Choking is automatic. The engine, for its size, is one of Europe's best. Driver visibility is good. The ride is soft, the cornering excellent. Overall maneuverability may be tops among the more popular imports. The owner's manual is the most complete." On the negative side, the magazine said "Yet the Dauphine incorporates a bag of annoyances peculiar to itself. On the car tested, too much reach was required in moving the transmission-mounted shift lever. There was inadequate toe clearance above the pedals. In an anxiety to shrink the body, the maker intrudes the wheel wells into the front compartment. Passengers have to stoop and squat to get in. The doors lack hold-opens. The transmission whines. Too-liberal use of plastics cheapens an otherwise attractive interior and inclusion of two-toned horns for town and country is – for the U.S.A. – pure caprice. But the real fault of this car is low power and too-ambitious transmission and axle ratios. Above 40 mph the remarkably quiet little engine begins sighing over its chores. It has a marked reluctance for passing at highway speeds. Will Paris please synchronize that first gear?"
In 1962 Road it was found years later by envoys from corporate
headquarters in Billancourt. The damage had already been done;
thousands of unordered Dauphines sat at ports worldwide, decaying. The
By October 1960 a slump had hit imported cars in the US. Time
reported that "In August the U.S. imported 50% fewer French cars than
in July, and for the first six months of the year imports ran 33%
below the rate for the same period in 1959. Two ships loaded with
In the U.S.,
A 2008 retrospective article in The Independent said "as soon as the US market had come to grips with the Dauphine's swing-axle manners and useless acceleration, they were pole-axed by its abysmal corrosion record. It would take only one New York winter of driving on salt-strewn roads to give a Dauphine front wings that resembled net curtains."
In 1967, in debut U.S. magazine advertising for the Dauphine's
In a 2000 survey, Car Talk named the Dauphine the 9th Worst Car Of The Millennium, calling it "truly unencumbered by the engineering process" — albeit in a survey where Tom Magliozzi called the voters "a self-selecting bunch of wackos, most of whom are really aggravated by a bad experience with one of the cars".
The Dauphine achieved numerous motorsport victories, including taking
the first four places at the 1956
Mille Miglia with a factory team of
five cars with five-speed gearboxes; winning the 1956 Tour de Corse
* 1950s portal * 1960s portal
* ^ "Badge engineering". AutoWeek.nl. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
* ^ "Our history in the UK".
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