Volume VII, Number6

Renault Toy Car Story Continues - The 1980's to Date
by Arian Smits with images by Doug Breithaupt

In the previous issue, we pictured the Renaults from before 1980. After 1980 Renault slowly changed their numbered cars in to more appealing, named cars. Being French, they were not so sure about names and used names and numbers along side each other. 1980 also saw the disappearance of a lot of Renault models. The 15 and 17 were just gone the 6, the 12 and the 16 were all deleted from the range. The coupes, 15 and 17 were replaced by the Fuego and it took up to 1982 before the 12 was replaced by the 9. The 6 and the 16 where not replaced but the earlier 14 and 20 took over their places. What more happened to Renault after 1980? Well they became famous in Formula 1 and remained France's favorite automaker. By the turn of the century they took a large share in Nissan and are one of the world's largest car manufactures today. Hopefully this will result in more reliable Renaults and better looking Nissans.

In 1980 the Renault 18 based coupe, the Fuego was introduced. Norev made the model. It's lines are good but the car lacks any opening features. Later in production a towing hook was fitted. Not the best car to tow a trailer, it is powerful enough but a coupe would be a poor choice to pull a pony trailer.

In 1982, the 9 was introduced. Again we have to relay on Norev to provide us with a model. This is one of the last Norev mini-jets and surely the last Renault for years to come. It is good model but lacks again any opening features. Later ones have better sized wheels. The lack of features may have contributed to the end of Norev's Mini-Jet range in the mid 80s. As a child I preferred Majorette and Matchbox above the Norevs because they had suspension, towing hooks and in those days, opening parts. Today, these features do not matter as much and I appreciate the Norevs as much as the others.

Back to the 9. Guisval tried to make one to but it is not one of their best. You have to look under the car to read it is a Renault 9. It cannot be seen in the shape of the car. That's a pity because their other Renaults are not bad.

Renault Fuego - Norev

Renault 9 - Norev

Renault 9 - Guisval

The big 25 came in 1984. Majorette produced a good model with all the usual features. Maisto modeled the 25 Turbo. For Maisto's price it is a good model. Edocar also offered the Maisto casting but in silver and with the Edocar name on the base.

Renault 25 - Majorette

Renault 25 - Maisto

Renault 25 - Edocar

1984 was the introduction year for the Espace van. The Espace came at the same time as the Chrysler Voyager, the first MPV. It was a Matra design, offered to Peugeot in 1979 but Peugeot did not like the idea. Renault did and made a good gamble, seeing well into the future. The first Espace is made by Guisval. It looks good. The second version of the early nineties is made by Majorette. This one also looks good but it was adopted from a Novacar casting that was quite basic in detail and not one of Majorette's best. It is still in production today. Norev has now offered the current Espace model with excellent detail. All three have been done as ambulance models.

Renault Espace - Guisval

Renault Espace - Majorette

Renault Espace - Norev

The 9 which was available as a sedan only, got company from the 11 in a 3 or 5 door hatchback versions. The 11 was modeled by Matchbox, Majorette, Mira and Guisval. The Matchbox is a good model of a five door version. The Majorette is a nice three door version with its sliding roof panel. The Guisval is a bit cheap in construction.

Renault 11 - Matchbox

Renault 11 - Guisval

Renault 11 - Majorette

In 1986 the non appealing 21 was introduced. A sedan, a hatchback and a big station wagon were produced. The station wagon was called Nevada and is modeled by Guisval. A very good model and unique because it is the only 21 ever made.

The 1988 the Renault 19 was the last numbered model. As the big days of toy cars where over and the collecting not widely known this popular car was only done by Majorette, years after its introduction. Majorette made a very good convertible with its characteristic trunk at the rear. With the 19, Renault finally managed to kill the rust devil.

The 1989 Safrane is done nicely by Majorette. The wheels are a bit big but the car looks good in the dark blue. In some 'tucked away' toy shops this car can still be found.

Renault 21 Nevada - Guisval

Renault 19 - Majorette

Renault Safrane - Majorette

By now most toys were produced in order of the car manufacturer. Renault ordered most models by Majorette in the 80s and 90s. After the turn of the century, Norev has made almost all.

The Majorette Clio of 1991 was again such a model. It is a nice toy that is still in production today. The second Clio is one from the new Norev range. It is modeled very well and hard to find at toy shows. You have to order them at the Renault dealership. The Super Sport Clio is made by Maisto.

Renault Clio - Majorette

Renault Clio - Norev

Renault Clio Super Sport - Maisto

The first Laguna was not produced in small scale but the new model of 2001 is in the Norev range. The station wagon "Grandtour" and the hatchback are made. As with the Clio, both are very good.

Renault Laguna - Norev

Renault Laguna Grandtour - Norev

The same is true for the Megane range. No models of the earlier cars were made but the second version of 2002 is produced by Norev. This second version is not much loved because of its crude lines. The model is good. The convertible called CC (coupe, cabriolet) with its folding hardtop is also done by Norev. Majorette has announced a model of the hatchback for 2004.

Megane - Norev

Megane CC - Norev

Using the base of the Megane, Renault introduced the Scenic, a small MPV. Our luck is with Siku this time because they made one. It is a typical Siku of the 90's with good lines, opening hatch and several painted details. Siku made a small mistake when the Scenic was introduced. They put on Mercedes hubs. So if you find one it is a factory fault and rare. The face-lifted version is done by Majorette. The Renault Twingo has been done by both Majorette and Guisval. The Majorette version is correct in about 1:58 scale while the Guisval version of this mini-car is much larger.

Renault Scenic - Siku

Renault Twingo - Majorette

Renault Twingo - Guisval

The Kangoo is the successor of the old R5 based Express. Majorette was quick to produce a model. It was available in two versions the rapid van and a windowed MPV. The early MPVs had a lateral sliding door that was deleted with the coming of the closed version. The new Norev range started with the Kangoo so for Norev collectors this is an important model. Norev delivered two types just like Majorette. The Paris Fire car is pictured. It looks great and is already hard to find. But as more Norevs are flocking onto the market it may be possible that they become available as ordinary toys in any toy shop. The newest Scenic of 2003 will be done by Majorette this year. The Velsatis and Avantime are not made in around 1:60. I think that's good because these cars are very strange looking. We prefer the good looking cars although we want all the Renaults.

These are all the Renaults I know to exist but there are definitely more around. There are new ones coming as Norev is making a lot of the new releases. Majorette is catching up and Guisval seems to offer Renault models quite often. Let's hope other brands will not forget Renault because we like some variation in our collections.

Please note, the Renault racing cars and the Alpines are not mentioned. Does someone know enough about them to make an article? Mail Doug and become a supporting writer!