After taking pictures for my Citroën 2CV long form from a few months ago, I got the idea of a similar post covering Renault’s answer to the “Deux Chevaux”, the Renault 4. Fittingly, a 4 from Welly featured way back in my first ever Lamley article, and this time it’s back with company. But first, a look at the full sized version…
Launched in July 1961, the 4 aimed to capitalise on the flaws of the ageing 2CV. The Citroën had motorised the masses, especially in rural communities. But in the 30 odd years since it was dreamt up, the needs of the French motorist were changing. Autoroutes were developing. The road network was improving in rural areas. Farming became increasingly mechanised. City dwellers needed a more refined car day to day. The 2CV was still a great car, but the world that created it was slowly disappearing. Step forward the 4.
Even though Renault were keen to steal 2CV sales, their engineers had pretty much the same ideas in mind with the 4 as Citroën did way back in the 30s: they wanted to create a versatile utlility car with good performance on poor road surfaces. But they wanted the car to be more refined, quicker, easier to maintain. And it worked. The 4 was a huge success. By 1966, 1 million had been sold and by the end of production in 1992 (1994 in Slovakia!) over 8 million had been produced.
Today I’ll be looking at diecast versions from Norev, Solido, Welly, and a vintage 4 van from Mira of Spain.
The Norev version has featured in my writing before, and despite a badly bent front axle (a detail the Ebay seller let slip….) it remains a model I covet highly. Norev cars are always decent enough quality and they provide some very retro and very Gallic colour schemes like the Berger Syrups (soft drinks) livery on this 4.
(Find the Norev R4 on Ebay)
In terms of construction, the Welly Renault 4 is a little more cheap and cheerful than the competition, and also a bit on the large side (think 1/50 scale). But nevertheless it remains a decent diecast with nice details. For example the curved sliding side window on the real car is replicated, something the others don’t have. Finding Welly cars can be tough, but they can be a cheap way into adding some rather leftfield diecast to your collection.
(Find the Welly Renault 4 on Ebay)
The star of the group though in my opinion has got to be this Solido/Z Models version. The nearest to true 1/64, and with great detail, even down to a small exhaust and back box. The wheels are spot on and there are sharp decals replicating the badging and “Clan” edition logos. I picked mine up via Ebay but you can find it on sale at the Renault Boutique online store too.
As a bonus I managed to dig out this Mira 4 Fourgonnette. I have covered Mira cars in the past on Lamley, and I’m always looking out for more of them. Its an impressively chunky model and features opening doors and a simply furnished interior. Also the patina is just gorgeous and reminds me of the real 4 vans I see on my travels in Greece and Southern Europe.
(Find Mira models on Ebay)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through the “Quatrelle” in miniature. I thoroughly enjoy putting these long forms together as they allow me to indulge in my hobby, and share with you some brands and vehicles that you may not be aware of.