Can you believe the Renault Twingo is officially 30 years old? France’s funky slice of rolling post-Cold War optimism celebrated its pearl anniversary yesterday, and Renault did something big to celebrate. The French marque called on Dutch designer and artist Sabine Marcelis to create a fresh new Twingo art car, and the result is as wild as you’d expect.
The big party piece of this special Twingo is something we’ve rarely seen before — transparent panels recalling the clear tech of the new millennium. Yes, windows in the side panels and hood of this Twingo expose the ghostly white-cloaked structure underneath. In fact, almost everything on the outside of this Twingo from the bumpers to the tires is white, giving the whole car a striking monochromatic appearance.
See-through panels aren’t the only party trick on the outside of this Twingo. Diffused lighting in the traditional smiley Twingo arrangement shines from underneath translucent skin, offering a seamless appearance. While this particular arrangement is a pure flight of visual fancy, Ford seems to be working on a street-legal setup that’s similar to this, so perhaps invisible-when-off lighting is a sign of things to come.
In stark contrast to the arctic tundra exterior, this Twingo’s interior can hardly get any more red. Almost everything from the seats to the headliner to the tinted sun visor comes in some shade of rouge, often leaning more towards claret than cardinal. Amusingly, the steering wheel doesn’t have any spokes, instead being one solid frisbee of translucent plastic. It’s about as practical as transparent bedsheets, but this is an art car so practicality genuinely couldn’t matter less.
Intriguingly, this Twingo has been converted to electric power, which is part of what makes the lower light bar possible. On normal Twingos, that’s a grille for getting air to the radiator, but such flow is unnecessary here. It’s not like the gasoline powertrain will be particularly missed as the stock zero-to-60 time is more a “yes” than a number, and electrification suits the cuddly, friendly silhouette of Renault’s iconic ‘90s city car. Curiously, while Renault has partnered with French firm R-Fit for EV conversion kits that fit the Renault 5 and Renault 4, nothing is on offer for the Twingo. It’s likely this system is bespoke, but wouldn’t it be cool if the aftermarket stepped up to the plate with a bolt-in solution?
Renault is experiencing a sort of art car fascination as of late. You might recall the Renault 5 Diamant, a pink one-off with jewel-like headlamps and a marble steering wheel. It’s a captivating showpiece, unchained from the constraints of reality in all the best ways. While this one-off Twingo isn’t quite as extroverted, it’s still an intriguing use of light and unorthodox materials that reinvents an icon.
(Photo credits: Renault)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.