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Cold Start: So Many Lights

Cs R4dash

Last night, David and I were talking on the phone, our usual nightly conversation where we confirm that the Masonic messages embedded into every story were effective and accurate, as well as adjusting our ranking of which commenters we’d most like to go boating with. The conversation soon degraded into the two of us going on and on and on about how much we like the Renault 4. There’s a lot to like about the Renault 4, and it deserves a full article, but right now I just want to point out a funny trait of the R4: later ones had a crapton of idiot lights.

Yes, a crapton, which in this case, is equal to 14. And that’s with the turn indicator dash light being just one that served both arrows. That’s so many idiot lights, all arranged there in a huge grid. Other inexpensive peoples’ cars had at most a handful of idiot lights; the VW Beetle, for example, had, normally, just four instrument cluster lights: oil, generator, turn arrows, and high beams. That’s it! Why does the R4 need ten more?

Cs R4

If you look at the lights, it’s clear Renault was being lavish with their warning light generosity. There’s a low beam, high beam, and foglamp light. There’s a choke light. A temperature light. Mysterious unmarked red and yellow lights. A temperature light. There’s so much.

But whatever; let the R4 have as many dash lights as it wants! These are fantastic and still largely under-appreciated cars, so I’m not going to begrudge it an instrument cluster that looks like a well-organized spread of Skittles.

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57 Responses

  1. My mom had an orange R4 when I was kid. At five years old I managed to drive into a bush on the side of our driveway. Don’t remember getting into much trouble, but then there was no damage besides a few minor scratches.

    It was replaced by a white 1975 Ford Taunus GL fastback with the 2.0L Cologne V6. My dad was driving a red Ford Granada fastback with the 2.3L Cologne V6 at the time. Both very cool cars, despite the black vinyl tops.

    1. I also grew up with a Quatrelle, my dad’s second, a dark blue base model he bought in 1980 and got traded off in 1990 for a burgundy Ford Fiesta. He had owned a white TL from 1970 to 1980, which I only knew from photos, but in 1985 he bough a used 1977 Renault 12 break (in the exact same shade of blue as the Renault 4) and my love for Renaults was forever set in stone. I actually felt betrayed when my father switched to Fords (the Fiesta got replaced in 1994 with an Escort).

  2. In my imaginary parallel universe, the 2022 Renault 4 has a retro dash just like this, except each light on the cluster represents a submenu of the touch screen that can only be accessed by reaching under the glovebox and inverting your left hand into the shape of a shadow puppet swan.

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