Renault 82, it says on the cover.
The image you see here is taken from a 1982 brochure prepared by Publicis Conseil (Renault’s long-standing communications and advertising agency) for Ireland’s then distributor, Smiths Distributors LTD, who also assembled Renault 4s in Co Wexford for the Irish market. More a pamphlet than a brochure, it nevertheless provided a well-produced and reasonably comprehensive overview of what the nationalised French carmaker had to offer the Irish motorist some thirty eight years ago.
Aside from its composition and moodily gloaming-like setting, there are a number of striking aspects to the headline photo. The first being the choice of Renault 5 as focal point of the image; a curious choice given that it was neither the most prestigious model in the range, nor indeed the most up to date. (That honour fell to the Fuego, which here appears to be lost in a veritable sea of R20s). Perhaps the art director decided that the Cinq’s frontal aspect was sufficiently different from its stablemates to throw out the neat composition of the photo?
A more curious anomaly however is the absence of the Renault 9 from the brochure. Introduced in the French market in 1981, the 9 didn’t arrive in right hand drive form until the Spring of ’82, yet this sales leaflet (clearly marked 1982) still lists the R14 in its final 1360 cc LS specification. Perhaps they were simply clearing stocks.
What we see then, is a document of a carmaker in transition. The once ground breaking R16 had only been finally laid to rest in 1980, following a 15-year run. In 1983, both the R20 (which had been intended to replace it) and its haut de gamme R30 sibling would be no more, replaced by the more comely and better received R25.
’83 would also mark the debut of the R11 hatchback – 1984, an all-new SuperCinq. 1986 on the other hand would bear witness to the death of the seemingly eternal Quatrelle – the shortlived Fuego having been axed the previous year. By then, of the models photographed here, only the 18 would still be in production.