Published on January 30th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Renault 8, The Classic Sedan With The Best Face
Introduced in 1962 to the world, the Renault 8 arrived in Malaya (yes it was called Malaya at the time) a year later in 1963 and it was the car to own for the affluent. It was Renault’s most high tech product at the time as it had a rear-engined layout, all-wheel disc brakes, an automatic gearbox (as an option), which at the time was unusual for a car of this class.
Early models came with a smooth 43bhp 956cc engine, and the introduction of a larger 1.1-litre option in 1964 increased power output by 6bhp. The facelifted 8S added a further 10bhp to this total, as well as a more appealing updated interior. While these were all great little cars, most people gravitate towards the more sporting Gordini models.
The first of the Gordinis was introduced in 1964 with a heavily modified twin-carb 1.1-litre engine, developing a pokey 89bhp. Twin rear shocks, uprated close-ratio gearbox and numerous performance enhancements also improved things massively. This was a Renault aimed squarely at the sports car market.
In 1967 the entire model range received a substantial facelift, seeing the Gordini’s power output swell to an enlarged 99bhp, thanks to a 1.3-litre power plant. The rear-engined, rear wheel drive chassis could prove tricky at the limit and this was especially the case with the Gordini’s.
Thanks to the interchangeability of parts, a large number of surviving cars may have been modified, with a common modification to install more powerful engines, or build full-on Gordini-style replicas. Check over all documentation and service histories to ensure that the car has been well maintained over the years, and that it isn’t a standard model posing as one of the more desirable variants.
The Renault 8S was a sportier version of the standard car with a bit more power and the same larger twin headlights of the Gordini. Later models received uprated gearboxes and the automatic versions are best left alone due to parts scarcity.
There are very few surviving cars today in Malaysia and this is because owners never realized it potential as a classic.
Renault 8 Gordini 1300 Specifications
Engine 1255cc, 8valve OHV in-line four-cylinder
Power 99bhp @ 6750rpm
Torque 86lb-ft @ 5000rpm
Top speed 108mph
0-60mph 10.9 seconds