Renault R8 Gordini and French Racing Blue

Renault R8 Gordini
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Of course we know fifty shades of gray (even if we hear it). And there are at least 69 shades of British Racing Green. That green was an emergency for the late British. Only green and brown were still free when it was their turn.

When, in the early twentieth century, races were organized, everything was different. There was, of course, an organization that ran things in the right direction, but the cars themselves drove idiosyncratic and not clearly recognizable. When the Gordon Bennett Cup was organized in 1900, it was decided that cars would be colored by country for clarity. Each country sent three cars for the race, so that the color, in addition to the individual numbering, made it clear who came from where.
A meeting was held to agree which country would use which colors. First and foremost, of course, the participating countries were decisive. At the time, these were Italy, Germany, France, Austria, England, Belgium and America. France got light blue. Italy drove not yet in Ferrari red but in black cars.

Today, racing colors are almost impossible to find in modern racing and cars are mainly recognized by the sponsor's logos.

Gordini so

The company was founded by Amédée Gordini who was nicknamed “Le Sorcier” (The Magician). Amédée's son, Aldo Gordini, worked as a mechanic for the company and was also a driver for the Gordini team. Gordini took part in Formula 1 from 1950 to 1956. From 1962 to 1969, Gordini worked with Renault and took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans under the name Renault-Gordini.

Gordini made competitive cars but - like Abarth - also supplied separate 'fast' components so that Renault owners could bring their own cars to Gordini level according to their dreams and financial possibilities. Through the free market, quite a few Renaults who started their existence in civilian costumes received a light blue jacket, Gordini stickers and as many beautiful things as possible in fast gear.

After this period, Gordini retired and sold his company to Renault. Renault used the name Gordini as designation for sporty versions of the Renault Dauphine, Renault 5, Renault 8 and the Renault 12. And light blue became a very serious color.

The Gordini looks and goodies

A Renault in Gordini trim is a desirable asset. Especially when serious work has been done. And that has happened with the R8 Major that we saw in Waalwijk at E&R Classics and that inspired us for this reflection. This 8 Renault 1965 has been converted with great attention to detail to Gordini rally specifications of yesteryear. Not only looks, but also technically the car was upgraded to the level of a real Gordini with, among other things, a 1397cc engine with 80 hp, double Weber carburettors, a spaghetti exhaust, brake discs and axles from a Gordini R8 type R1135. With this R8, the “bleu de France” paintwork with rally stickers immediately catches the eye. And that brings us back to the colors in the headline of this story.

Such a car is a wonderful toy for the Ardennes or Vosges. He looks seriously threatening, yet friendly. He is tough endearing. And uses considerably less fuel than a Shelby Mustang replica.

Renault R8 Gordini


Renault R8 Gordini

Renault R8 Gordini

The copy on the bottom photo we saw for sale this holiday in France. Without the characteristic bright lights. And for an 3000 euro higher asking price.

Automobilia 2022 (copy)


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  1. The copy on the bottom photo we saw for sale this holiday in France. Without the characteristic bright lights. And for an 3000 euro higher asking price.

    This is a strange and incorrect text.

  2. I have had a lot of Renaults in my younger years. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, Caravelle. Of the 8, I remember it was so rotten that I tied the rear doors together with a rope so that the car wouldn't sag. Indeed, that was well before the introduction of the APK

  3. Nice story again. Only the original R8 Gordini first had an 1108cc engine and after a few years it became an 1255cc. The 1397cc block is known from the R5. And the R18, fuego, R9, R11, Trafic I, R12, Super5, 5 Turbo and Volvo 343 and so on.

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