Renault 14 a

transverse pioneer

Renault 14

ONE Renault model of the 1970s and 80s that is now largely forgotten and nearing extinction in the UK is the 14.

This was an interesting alternative to the VW Golf Mk1 and was the first front-drive Renault with a transverse powertrain.

Renault had years of experience with front-drive cars and for the 14 the company fitted the Douvrin four-cylinder engine with the gearbox in the sump, as used in the Peugeot 104 and the later Citroen Visa.

It was launched with a 1,218cc engine from the Douvrin factory, a result of a collaboration between Volvo and Peugeot.

In the 14, the engine lay almost on its back and performance was good for the day. It could achieve 87mph with 0-62mph acceleration of 14.5 seconds with a surprisingly good average fuel consumption of 51.7mpg.

It was roomy and comfortable with good carrying capacity, especially with the seats down.

On the down side it looked bland and was considered something of a half-breed by some Renault fans.

It somewhat unfairly earned the nickname ‘The Rotten Pear', a tag it certainly lived up to in later life when it was ravaged by rust.

In character the 14 was like a pumped up Renault 5, but despite its comfort, practicality and ease of driving it just did not possess the former's character and image.

It is now a very rare sight in Britain with at least one version extinct and the odd one or two of others still on the road. The most numerous is the L version with 10 recorded survivors.

Rust played a major part in the car's demise, followed by complexities of home maintenance, parts scarcity and the dreaded Government scrappage policy.

Even though the model was on sale until the early 1980s it is surprising how few have survived.


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