•One of the fastest small sports saloons of its day
•Restored in 2017
•Engine and transmission rebuilt
As Carlo Abarth was to FIAT and John Cooper to BMC, so Amédee Gordini was to Renault. Since the 1950s, Amédee Gordini, known as 'Le Sorcier' for his almost magical ability to extract high power outputs from engines (particularly of small capacity), has been synonymous with performance versions of Renault saloons. Gordini's alliance with Renault commenced in 1957, and in the late 1950s/early 1960s his competition-tuned Dauphines did exceptionally well in many forms of motorsport. Their rallying victories were numerous, and indeed, a Dauphine was the first car ever to win outright the three most important rallies of the day: the Tulip Rally (1957), the Monte Carlo Rally (1958), and the Alpine Rally (1959) while also enjoying considerable great success on the racetrack.
Things stepped up a gear on the rallying front with the introduction in 1962 of the new Renault 8, which shared the Dauphine's rear-engined layout but used a new family of more tuneable engines. Extensively modified by Gordini, they produced 95bhp (1,108cc) and 105bhp (1,255cc), the latter being used from 1966.
The works rally team achieved several good results at international level, but this was the era of the Mini Cooper and outright victories proved hard to achieve, although an R8 Gordini won the Tour de Corse on its first outing. In road trim, though, the Renault 8 Gordini was actually more powerful and faster than the 1,275cc Cooper S. A little over 12,000 Renault 8 Gordinis were produced between 1964 and 1970, and today they are among the most sought-after of post-war French performance cars.
This Renault 8 Gordini benefits from a restoration undertaken in 2017 by Autovilla Classica of Twickenham, with additional input from various other specialists, and comes with their detailed invoice for £27,150. Works carried out included a body renovation (sills, inner sills, front inner wings, and right rear wing replaced); repaint inside and out; interior re-trim (using five black leather hides); and an engine rebuild by Modern & Classic Engineers. In addition, a 5th gear has been fitted inside the original gearbox, while the interior has been up-rated with two sports-type bucket seats upfront. Only recently rebuilt, both the engine and transmission will require running in. Described as in excellent condition, with concours standard bodywork and paint, this exciting French sports saloon is offered with old Norwegian registration papers, details of its owners in Norway and Sweden, and a V5C Registration Certificate.
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