Renault 8 Gordini (1966)

An icon for an entire generation, the Renault 8 Gordini laid the foundations of a principle that is still hard coded into the DNA of Renault Sport: the affordable sports car.

Although "Gorde" – as it was affectionately known – was based on the Renault 8 Major when it was first introduced in 1964, the racing modifications made by Amédée Gordini left it largely unrecognisable. Nothing was done by halves: the original model’s sensible engine was transformed to produce almost twice the power, with changes like a new cylinder head and two Weber carburettors. Suspensions, steering, brakes and equipment were upgraded consistent with the top speed of 175kph that was stated in the specs, all at an unbeatable price!

Easily recognisable thanks to its round instrument dials and a smart blue finish with white stripes, this little stunner became one the most popular sports models ever made by Renault.

In 1966, a facelift saw the 1,108cc engine replaced by a 1,255cc unit and the introduction of the iconic dual headlamps. The Gordini Cup, introduced the same year, went a long way to developing the R8 Gordini myth. Thanks to the car’s popular handling qualities, it was able to amass an impressive list of racing honours. Many racing drivers cut their teeth at the wheel of an R8 Gordini, before moving to the upper echelons of the sport.

Four years later, the Renault 8 Gordini gave way to a Renault 12 bearing the same name. Nowadays, the legend remains intact, its legacy on racetracks and roads upheld with the Clio Cup!