n June 1962, Renault introduced their Eight, a four-door rear-engined sedan that bore a strong resemblance to the Dauphine,although with a squarer shape.

The development of the Renault Eight was handled by Philippe Charbonneaux, a well-known industrial designer of the time, highly regarded in the car industry for the originality of his automobile and truck design.

Charbonneaux made considerable use of many of the components used in the Renault Dauphine, including the car’s 2270mm wheelbase.

The Renault Eight standard version was initially powered by an all-new design 956cc engine, although many clients preferred to upgrade to the 1108cc version, which provided considerably more in the way of power.

Renault’s new sedan came fitted with several refinements not previously available on any other models from the French car manufacturing giant.

These included all-wheel independent suspension, a sealed cooling system, all-wheel disc brakes (a first for a car of this size) as well as the option to fit automatic transmission.

Renault, normally amongst the more conservative of car manufacturers, seemed to catch the atmosphere of the late Sixties with the 8, the nearest thing to a sports saloon they had produced.

They went even further when they called upon the services of Italian born, French-based designer and engineer Annedee Gordini, known throughout the Western Europe car industry as “the Sorcerer."

Already employed in the development department in Renault for close to a decade, Gordini had used his vision and design abilities to add that vital touch of interest to the Caravelle, Dauphine and the Floride.

Gordini’s magic was his ability to squeeze the last drop of performance out of any engine and do so at minimal cost and upheaval.

Gordini took the Renault Eight’s standard 1,108-cc, 67-cubic-inch, fluid cooled engine and almost doubling its maximum power from 49 bhp to an electrifying 89 bhp, through manipulating the cylinder head, adding twin Weber carburettors, redesigning the car’s exhaust manifolds and altering its exhaust ducts.

Other significant modifications included lowering car’s suspension, and adding an extra gear, from four to five.

To ensure that the Eight Gordini would stand out from the standard version Renault, only offered the car in a single colour, a striking blue, set off by two white stripes that ran the length of the vehicle.

Although relatively few Gordini’s sold during its production years, the concept set the trend, not only on how to extract the maximum from a car’s engine but also to send a clear message that it was that bit more special.

Both the Renault Eight Standard and the Gordini offshoot enjoyed a long production run- more than eleven years, with sales of the standard version topping one million.