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Renault’s Gordini brand back on the front-burner

Cover up: Renault is still to take the covers off its Twingo Gordini RS, but, as the helmet shows, the hot hatch is certain to be blue with twin stripes.

Renault to resurrect Gordini brand in 2010 with limited-run Renault Sport models

12 Nov 2009

RENAULT has confirmed it will reintroduce the Gordini moniker to its compact sports models, injecting some additional ‘joie de vivre’ – that is, flair rather than outright fire – into the French marque’s well-respected Renault Sport cars.

Full details will be released on November 25 when the Gordini RS version of the Twingo super-mini is unveiled on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris ahead of a European launch in the first quarter of 2010.

A Clio Gordini RS will be released “a few months later” and a Megane version is anticipated later in 2010. Gordini versions of Renault’s forthcoming compact electric cars are also expected to materialise within about 18 months.

Although the Twingo in not on the agenda for release in Australia, Renault Australia has told GoAuto that it is keen to secure the Clio version, not least because the name resonates throughout classic car and historic motor racing circles.

A 2005 Gordini-branded Clio restricted to 30 units also proved successful.

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“Very possibly the Gordini will be here toward the end of the year (2010),” a spokesperson said. “If we were to launch it, it will come a couple of months after France. I can’t tell you that it is confirmed, but it is on our plan.

“There is a lot of action on Clio next year – not just the Gordini – so if the Gordini is an option for us, we will definitely take it.”

The sub-brand is named after Italian-born motor racing mechanic and driver Amedee Gordini, who joined forces with Renault in the mid-1950s and developed a range of cars including the historic Renault 5, 8, 12 and 17.

Signature traits of the Gordini cars were blue exterior paint, white racing stripes and a front panel inset with four round headlights.

The modern iterations are still to be revealed, but expect a suite of customisation options to be made available along similar lines to the Mini Cooper (S) and Fiat 500 (Abarth).

Mechanical changes over RS models are not expected, with the Gordini treatment set to be restricted to cosmetic details – both inside and out – and unique wheel and tyre combinations.

“The famous Gordini name was a symbol of French success that thrilled several generations of motorists who were thirsty for sporty sensations at the wheel of a fun car,” Renault said in a statement this week.

“The fashionable and sporty Gordini label still possesses its exclusive, sport-oriented values.”

Renault now proclaims the R8 Gordini of the 1960s as “a symbol of success for a whole generation” and one that “embodied a state of mind – the spirit of a triumphant France that shared its successes with everyone”.

The 1964 R1134 version had a tuned 66kW 1108cc engine and close-ratio five-speed manual gearbox, while a facelift in 1967 (R1135) brought with it a 1255cc engine upgrade that increased power to 74kW.

The R8 Gordini is best known in Australia as the car in which Bob Watson and Jim McAuliffe won the 1970 Australian Rally Championship.

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