Buying an R4, hypothetically...
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  1. #1
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    Default Buying an R4, hypothetically...

    Let's say I wanted an R4 - even a late one - what would be the best source?

    I'm not sure how much longer I can put up with the boring competence of the Mi16...

    Stuey

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    Don't Citroen make something like this with two cylinders missing?

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  3. #3
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    I wouldn't even consider one of those unless I was an egg farmer....although if I were, at least I might have the egg timer needed to measure its performance.

    Anyway, I'd be too scared I'd get punched out by a Chevy driver if I said Deux Chevaux.

    Stuey


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    This is a tough one really. Get a bad one and they would be horrid!

    The early Australian cars, like mine really are fun. But 90% of them have terminal rust in the chassis rails, to fix requires serious overcapitalisation.

    My pick would be to keep a lookout for a mid 1970's private import, there are a surprising number around (yeah OK, not on every street corner but...). These are the ones with the later square edged grille. The reason for this is that they utilise the later gearbox, what I call the "flat top" four speed, these also have the later type and more common driveshaft that is still available. The lack of driveshafts for the very cars is the biggest bugbear, as the recond replacements are frankly, rubbish. The original steel BED outer joints cannot be rebuilt, if the car has the later cast BED joints, that were the pieces d'origine Renault replacements in the 1970's, these are much more reliable, but are seemingly NLA.

    Anything pre 1989 (to enable import) R4 sourced from the UK would likely have a deal of rust bug included, unless it had been kept by some insane enthusiast. Any mid 1970's model already here from the UK would likely have missed out, or the rust would be pretty obvious. Also there are a number of ex South Africa cars out there too.

    Having been lucky enough to have been allowed to drive a 2CV (a plum & black Charleston) and then my R4 back to back, the 2CV seemed to have the edge in initial acceleration, it certainly has a heavy flywheel, however, even my 30 year older R4 would have had its measure in terms of acceleration in the upper end. Apart from that though, there seemed little to split them, the 2CV having shedloads of character and charm, the R4 being positively practical with little of the charm of the 2CV, but having its own odd attaction, I've got two and a wreck of the things, so I'm obviously biased. The R4 is a lot cheaper but also doesn't have the backup and thousands of worldwide friends that would make the 2CV so easy to own......
    Last edited by Simon; 8th December 2005 at 12:47 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default R4 plurals

    Quote 'Let's say I wanted an R4 - even a late one - what would be the best source'?

    Now what brought this on, I wonder? Surely not Simon's post of a few days ago. What a beast. God it had me salivating, although I have no desire to go to the nth degree. A modern update would suit me fine.

    Simon, did you mention "air conditioning". That would shift a modern update to "civilisation".

    Stuey, keep asking the questions. I'm enjoying the answers.

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    Cars of France in Alphington, Melbourne, have a magnificent red R4 on CH (Club rego) plates sitting in the workshop. I believe it's for sale.

    Ring Nick and ask him. I've not seen a nicer one for a long time, and none of the ones I owned ever had paintwork as good as this one!

    And calm down, Dave. You know you shouldn't get so excited at your age!

    Pottsy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M
    Simon, did you mention "air conditioning". That would shift a modern update to "civilisation".
    Yep, A/C seems to be a popular aftermarket addition to GTL's in Japan. I received a magazine with adverts a few years ago, most of the cars were advertised with A/C (pics to verify its existance too) so A/C is unlikely to have meant something else :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by pottsy
    Cars of France in Alphington, Melbourne, have a magnificent red R4 on CH (Club rego) plates sitting in the workshop. I believe it's for sale.
    If this is the car I'm thinking it may be (there are two very good red restored R4's I've seen in Melbourne) but if it is the one with black trim, it will be one of the best ones around. A lot of work went into that car.

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    David, as I mentioned in Simon's other thread, I'd always thought an R4 with a good 1289 would be a nice car.

    Simon, IMO, the R4 is almost as characterful as the 2CV. I know that's not the general opinion, but I much prefer unadorned functional simplicity, which is why I don't like sports cars in general. You can hardly stealth around in a 2CV - I'd hate it, to be honest!

    In respect of performance, I was really referring to the ease by which a 4 can be hopped up a bit. Honestly, to me the performance of an R12 is adequate - just.

    Thanks for the replies. I'm thinking...

    Stuey


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    David, as I mentioned in Simon's other thread, I'd always thought an R4 with a good 1289 would be a nice car.

    Simon, IMO, the R4 is almost as characterful as the 2CV. I know that's not the general opinion, but I much prefer unadorned functional simplicity, which is why I don't like sports cars in general. You can hardly stealth around in a 2CV - I'd hate it, to be honest!

    In respect of performance, I was really referring to the ease by which a 4 can be hopped up a bit. Honestly, to me the performance of an R12 is adequate - just.

    Thanks for the replies. I'm thinking...

    Stuey
    I think with me it is probably a case of familiarity breeding underappreciation, as I've already got a pair of R4's. To me I just like the cars for their engineering approach, both the good (space) and the bad (removing backplates to overhaul the front brake cylinders). Otherwise they really are a strangely odd and sad looking little beast, especially the early breadloaf grille models.

    The 4 really is a totally honest little car though, mine have moved house, duelled with semi's on the Hume, beaten a Porsche in competition, miffed MG's and I'm sure the van scared a Citroen DS23 once.....

    I agree on the performance point though, with 850cc's and three speeds, you really have to be on the ball to keep things moving along, but they do seem to have a lot of torque for an 850. The 1289 would totally transform the car, and the later model with stiffer suspension would cope rather nicely. Also it would be quieter with the motor not having to work as hard.

  10. #10
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    Default you could go electric?

    Apparently a guy in Sweden has done it (http://home.swipnet.se/renault4ever/ELlen.html)

    According to Cuno on http://www.renault4.co.uk/forum/about213.html

    The tecnical facts says (in swenglish):
    Based on an R4 -76
    8 batteries, serialled and parallelled to make it a total of 7.2 kWh.
    6 kW DC engine, mounted directly on the gear box (so i guess he's only using one gear).
    1.4kWh per 10 km.
    Cruising speed: 55-60 km/h.

    He also notes that the R4 is perfect for the job, because of its low weight and absence of brake/steering servos, etc.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham66
    Apparently a guy in Sweden has done it
    Already been done in Australia too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Buying an R4, hypothetically...-r4electric.jpeg  

  12. #12
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    excellent!

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts alan moore's Avatar
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    Having driven, and been driven one R4 in particular that I modified a head for, I can say that even though I am generally peerformance minded, I could not help smiling whilst in the R4. The performance is good enough to keep up with traffic, and I did see an indicated 80MPH down a big hill. It would do 100Kph OK but maybe 90 is more comfortable. They hang on OK, but certainly do lean. Brakes on the earlier ones are only just adequate.

    One of the late ones with a 1289 and a 4 speed (Front discs?) would be great. New body parts are available, mostly from Spain, and were cheap a few years ago when helping another friend with a resto.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan moore
    I can say that even though I am generally peerformance minded, I could not help smiling whilst in the R4. The performance is good enough to keep up with traffic, and I did see an indicated 80MPH down a big hill. It would do 100Kph OK but maybe 90 is more comfortable. .
    One of my few pieces of objective criteria to buy a car is that it must be able to cruise at least at 100km/h. The R4 manages to comply, albeit noisily for passengers!

    On the flat, say on the Hay Plains it holds its own. Going down hill it becomes a mobile chicane, valve bounce sets in at just over an indicated 85mph, and the trucks overtake, but going uphill it then overtakes the trucks. As for brakes, bigger is obviously better, but with decent linings and fluid, Iíve never had any hints of fade or problems with light to medium loads with some fairly hefty use at times. The motor in mine is basically stock, just balanced with minor headwork (tidying up ports etc.). The van, with a thrown together bitsa motor for a blow up your engine tour to Melbourne is the same but just a bit rougher.

    The upgrade aspect is the reason for my suggestion of a mid 1970ís version. They have the bulged chassis for the four speed, the bigger brakes (or provision for adapting R5/6/GTL discs) and the stiffer suspension. The late suspension/brakes do bolt onto an earlier chassis, but to fit the motor and four speed going later is better. It would make a very nice relaxed all purpose vehicle with the 1300.

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    hi Stuey
    i have a recently acquired R4 ... so far the odd fang up and down the drive will have to suffice, just need to have some rust seen to (i have a new floopan to fit), but trying to find a panel beater that does rust work (they seem to be shying away from anything that isn't bolt off-bolt on) is proving a pain in the proverbial! anybody recommend someone south of the river? Perth, that is!
    cheers f.

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts renault8&10's Avatar
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    Hi Trackyellow,

    Did you buy the blue one off John E in Melbourne recently?

    Post some pics!! We wanna see.
    KB

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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default R4 "Noddy".

    Fond memories of the R4 van we used as the servo runabout in Kalgoorlie.
    Before opening time the first job was to pick up hire cars from the airport.
    With 3 up, driver, passenger and spotty bowser boy loose in the back, we would take a short cut involving spoon drains, washaways the lot.
    Noddy would take it in its stride, no backing off, sometimes an angle approach to some of the road dips would create an interesting moment!
    The "To the moon and back" suspension coped with it all.
    Oh, mustn't forget the bowser boy, he spent most of the trip in a "zero gravity" position floating free in the back!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon

    The upgrade aspect is the reason for my suggestion of a mid 1970ís version. They have the bulged chassis for the four speed, the bigger brakes (or provision for adapting R5/6/GTL discs) and the stiffer suspension. The late suspension/brakes do bolt onto an earlier chassis, but to fit the motor and four speed going later is better. It would make a very nice relaxed all purpose vehicle with the 1300.
    A few years back we followed a late model R4 on a motorway at a steady 140 kph for about 40 minutes. A tad faster than the one we had in 1971 in Adelaide......

    I presume it had all the goodies of the latest of them. Most impressive.

    Cheers
    JohnW

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