2015 Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Auction

1961 Renault Dauphine Sedan




Engine In-line four-cylinder, 845cc
Gearbox 3-speed manual
Body Work Sedan
Colour Green
Interior Green / Brown
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

Debuting at the Paris Salon in 1956, Renault's Dauphine proved a huge success for the French giant, selling strongly around the globe and was eventually built as far afield as Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and the UK. Like the 4CV, Dauphines were also assembled in Australia, at Renault's Heidelberg, Victoria operation. Thanks to a slick advertising campaign, the Dauphine was, for a time, the second most popular imported car sold in the United States behind the Volkswagen Beetle. Although built on a larger platform than the 4CV, the Dauphine remained a usefully compact design, with a convential four door body housing a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine. Displacing 845cc and with 27 horsepower available, drive was taken to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission (four speeds or even a push-button automatic were optional) and the Renault could reach a top speed of 70 mph. The Dauphine's suspension set-up was via conventional wishbone and coil spring set-up at the front while the rear was suspended via a swing axle, with telescopic dampers all round. The Renault abounded in clever details, with an automatic choke, twin courtesy lamps and chic touches like the white steering wheel. Like the 4CV, the Dauphine responded well to tuning, with Gordini offering a hotter version boasting more power and even all-wheel disc brakes, and had an enviable record in international competition, winning the Tour de Corse on two occasions and the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally. Sadly the Dauphine proved all too susceptible to the dreaded rust and the vast majority of the more than two million made have long since disappeared from sight. Although survivors are few and far between, the Renault Dauphine owner is well catered for in Australia, with a strong club scene and numerous All French Car Days around the country.