Home » Let’s Just Take A Moment To Consider The Logistics Of This: Cold Start

Let’s Just Take A Moment To Consider The Logistics Of This: Cold Start

Cs R5plane 1
ADVERTISEMENT

I really like the Renault 5, which we briefly got in America as the LeCar, and when I’m particularly bored or have to go into solitary I like to consider some of the reasons why this is. One is that in their advertising, Renault did not shy away from the concept of radically altering the scale of their car, up and down. This isn’t a tactic usually employed by a carmaker, so let’s take a moment and look at some examples of this.

I’m not exactly sure why this is so rarely done, except perhaps for the fact that it’s kind of weird and maybe even a little confusing to potential buyers who classify themselves as “stupid” or “gullible,” a substantial portion of any consumer market.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

First, let’s look again at the up-scaled approach:

Cs R5 Big2

So here Renault is comparing the R5 to a commercial airliner, though it’s not clear if the car is intended to be capable of flight like the other planes back there, or just a colossal version of itself, rumbling down every single lane of some highway like a two-box kaiju.

ADVERTISEMENT

I’m confused about the logistics here, though. Once the people take the stairs to get in, they still have a lot of climbing to do to get onto the seats. And once on the seats, what do they do, just cram all in together, huddled up on the red velour? do they stretch those massive seat belts over groups of like 50 people? Those driving controls are huge, too – who drives this thing? Do they have a team of like 8 people, with two on the steering wheel, two on the dash looking out the window, calling out what they see, and then two per pedal down below? I want to see how this all plays out.

Cs R5 SmallAt the other end, we see this tiny tiny R5 parked close to the curb, and someone in Converses trying to fill it up, somehow. It’s not going to work, of course, that nozzle is far too large for the tiny fuel filler, no matter what that illustrated droplet is trying to convince me of.

This guy needs to pick the car up lay down a towel or something and turn it on its side, and use a little funnel or something to get the fuel in there. Like this, he’s just going to make a mess.

A clever commenter named Carlos showed me that there were Renault commercials made based on this premise!

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s a fantastic little RC Renault 5 there. And I like the view of that sheepdog.

 

Cs R5 Lecar

Speaking of mess, I never really understood why the first Renault 5/Le Cars in America used the round headlights. Rectangular lamps were allowed since 1975, and the LeCar came to America in 1976. Maybe when they were federalizing it earlier they weren’t allowed yet and Renault just hedged their bets? That’s probably it.

Still, the R5 is one of those cars that genuinely looks better with rectangular lights, and it’s easy to see that in the later updates of the car (I think starting in 1980?) they moved to the rectangular headlights. I’m not sure how I feel about the extra chrome, though.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cs R5 Cutawayr&t

Also, one more R5 thing: did you ever realize just how front-mid-engine’d this thing was? Look at that! That engine is entirely behind the front axle! That’s because it’s a longitudinal-but-reversed setup like a Saab or a Citroën Traction avant, with a transaxle first, and the engine behind it. I like that layout, you really don’t see it very often.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
36 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1961ford
1961ford
22 days ago

Sweet!

Phuzz
Phuzz
22 days ago

So, why was it not called the Renault 5 in the US?
Were they worried that US audiences would wonder where the other 4 had gone?

Greensoul
Greensoul
22 days ago

And just like a commercial airliner, things fall off of the Renault when it’s in motion too!

Dan B
Dan B
22 days ago

My first car! A 1982 dark blue three door 1100cc 5 that rusted very quickly. The hood was front hinged but even then getting to the rear most spark plug was difficult.

Spare wheel was on top of the engine block IIRC.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
22 days ago

That commercial is awesome…it’s just so fun! Also, look at all those fun real colors

John Metcalf
John Metcalf
22 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

European cars in the ’70s~’80s were full of color. I was on a student ambassador trip to Europe in the 1985 and looking back at slides from the trip (yes, slides!) I’m amazed at the parking lots full of color—oranges, greens, yellows, etc.

RedR58
RedR58
22 days ago

I have 2 clear memories of this car.

The first and only time I have seen a car like this in person, living in the US all my life, was spying one near my grandparents’ home in Manayunk (Philadelphia) PA, sitting on the corner of Lyceum Avenue and Fleming Street. It was there just the one time as I recall.

But the reason I even took notice of that car at a young age (around 6 or 7) in the early 1980s was that I had received as a gift an Entex model kit of the Renault 5, this very one:

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/entex-industries-9166-renault-5-le-car–208588

I don’t know why I was given that model kit, as I was much too young to assemble it and it remained unbuilt before disappearing from my childhood. I hope to find another one and build it.

Alex_der_Bayer
Alex_der_Bayer
22 days ago

Many Europeans grew up with the story “Gulliver’s travels” by Jonathan Swift. The analogy on larger-than-life/smaller-than-life seems to be at play here.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
22 days ago

Look at all those oui people…

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
22 days ago

Prends ta foutue étoile

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
22 days ago

I want that crazy Middle East billionaire that builds all the huge vehicles to build one of these to scale of that ad.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
22 days ago

I don’t believe the 200mm sealed beam was approved in the US until MY 1978. Also, the R5 was sold in, ya know, France, where sealed beams were not required, and the car would have had replaceable-bulb headlights from Cibie or Marchal. 7″ round headlights were the correct choice here.

D-Dog
D-Dog
22 days ago

I just want to know how they got the doors opened.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
22 days ago

NB: in a Saab 99/900, the engine is on top of the transmission, not behind it. But it is facing backwards.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
22 days ago

Oh my god! I thought it was squirrels that had invaded the car.

Sklooner
Sklooner
22 days ago

I had an 87 in Canada- they were only imported into Quebec- it was so narrow that my shoulders rubbed the passengers and it didn’t fit into the snow ruts, it made my ur-mini seem large. It was quirky and fun though and I drove it 650km without an alternator once.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
22 days ago

Quad rectangular sealed beams were allowed starting in 1975 but singles didn’t appear until 1978. There may have been some exclusivity to domestic OEMs the first couple years – only GM had them in ’75s, and while the singles appeared on GM, Ford, Mopar and AMC all in ’78 they weren’t on any imports until 1980-81 or so.

I’m as interested in the real “logistics”. I’m sure the airport one was done with a lot of manual pasting and airbrushing, but it’s interesting that the gas pump one looks to have used a real hand-and-foot model and pump, but the droplet is all airbrushed in presumably since water would be too unrealistic and gasoline would damage the model car that was no doubt used as a placeholder for the pasted-in real one.

CSRoad
CSRoad
22 days ago

Yeah the Renault 4 was the same mid-engine layout as the 5 and the 16.
The Renault 12 was engine forward, however in the ~1.6 litre versions used the same transmission as the Renault 16 with the differential ring gear flipped. The Renault design was flexible and taken advantage of by Colin Chapman in the Lotus Europa.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
22 days ago

I think they posed the R5 at the airport because they were hoping it would take off with the public.

Chronometric
Chronometric
22 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

That was a flight of fancy.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
22 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

It was all going according to Le Plan.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
22 days ago

The lead picture (and the related commercial) is somewhat reminiscient of this rather bizarre but highly entertaining film, a 2023 Spanish animated feature, Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow (Inspector Sun y la maldición de la viuda negra)
https://youtu.be/mQNlO8fPGYA?feature=shared
Set in 1930s San Francisco (with commensurate and extensive Art Deco elements, delightfully) with anthromorphized bugs co-existing with humans (thankfully not at the same scale à la the freakishly large rodents Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, et al.) it’s a whodunit mystery thriller taking place aboard a seaplane airliner with a seven-legged spider detective who’s sort of a cross between Hercule Poirot and Inspector Clouseau. Yeah, like I said, bizarre but highly entertaining. Dunno, though, if it’d qualify as a good bakeout movie, it might depend on how one perceives bugs while under the influence, ha.

Griznant
Griznant
23 days ago

The earlier rear engine cars like my 4CVs had the transaxle ahead of the engine and the little four cylinder hanging out behind it like a VW bug. When they went front-drive with the Renault 4 they just took that whole circus and slid it forward to drive the front wheels. Stayed that way for the 5. Works, but it’s pretty lazy engineering.

For those who like Renault 5s, the YouTube channel, Cold War Motors, has a couple. They even swapped the engine on a dead one this winter and getting that backwards engine out is NOT an easy task. They’re painting that car right now and have rebuilt the sliding sunroof.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
22 days ago
Reply to  Griznant

In engineering when the lazy solution works we describe it as “efficient design”.

I’m not a fan, I get paid to design new stuff, not re-use old stuff.

Griznant
Griznant
22 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Also an engineer, so I hear you, but what makes it lazy in my mind is that the easy maintenance of the 4CV is thrown out the window by the back-asswards packaging when it’s moved to FWD in the 5. It’s not as user friendly to get to the engine AND it looks terrible when you pop the hood. The 4CV looks tidy and efficient by comparison.

Eugene White
Eugene White
22 days ago
Reply to  Griznant

The overlap between the Autopian and Cold War Motors continues to delight me.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
22 days ago
Reply to  Griznant

Scott and his friends have mad skills. Watching him splice together the Plymouth Fury or create an entire quarter panel for Jim’s Continental out of blank sheet metal is incredible.
See Also: Strong’s Garage

Last edited 22 days ago by Lew Schiller
Library of Context
Library of Context
23 days ago

At the time, were round sealed beams less expensive than square ones?

Or perhaps round sealed beams subtly communicated ‘economy car’ to buyers, which was the message they were going for.

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
23 days ago

Sacrebleu!

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
23 days ago

If I remember right, Renault just took the whole drivetrain from their rear-engine cars and moved it to the front, sort of the reverse of the Fiat X1/9 or Pontiac Fiero.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
23 days ago

Regardless of the logistics, it still seems safer than Le Boeing.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
22 days ago

As long as the doors stay shut. Maybe.

Carlos Ferreira (FR)
Carlos Ferreira (FR)
23 days ago

Here is the TV commercial version with both tiny ang giant versions of thr R5 (including the refueling of the tiny one).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r_V5aGCQBQ

another edit to show a different commercial (for a french audience) using the LeCar name in San Francisco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdv1H293HyE

Last edited 23 days ago by Carlos Ferreira (FR)
TOSSABL
TOSSABL
22 days ago

Thanks for those: this is the kind of active participation which helps make this place so great. The view of the dog was fun. I suspect the not-shown second landing did not go well considering the approach angle 😉

Tbird
Tbird
23 days ago

Remember finding the 3 lug wheels absolutely bizarre when I first saw one as a kid in the early ’80s.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

I’ve always thought the redundancy of 4 or 5 lugs was worth the minimal extra cost. I guess that’s why 3 lugs are so rare.

36
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x