02 – Renault Clio 1 (owned by Mr. F.to and Mr. F.ta)
July 14, 2014 / INTERESTS
This second episode is for the Renault Clio 1. Compared to the Defender treated in the previous episode, this looks quite sober. In Japan the name “Clio” was already registered by Honda, so the car was renamed Lutecia. This first generation was produced from 1990 to 1997 in three models (phase 1~3) that present small changes between each one. Here there are two examples: the phase 1 (left, owned by Mr. F.to), and the phase 3 (right, owned by myself). Despite its sober appearance, it is a great and popular car that has also been voted Europe Car of the Year at that time.
This particular phase 1 is the base model RT with a 1.4 L engine, launched by Renault as the successor of the famous Renault 5. The phase 3 is the Baccara version, a rare model in Japan: it was a special version with large use of leather in the interior and powered by a 1.8 L engine. I seems it wasn’t even present in the Japanese catalog. In Japan at that time, there wasn’t an official dealer like the present Renault Japan. The importer was JAX at first, and then, after a blank period that followed its bankrupt, France Motors, born thanks to the investment of Yanase Group. Inside the engine room of the two cars there are the emblems of the two different dealers.
In its homeland France, it is considered a simple, small economy car, comparable to the Nissan Micra in Japan, but I like the French scent given off from all its body (who is familiar with French cars made before 2000 will understand that particular look of latin cars). If we look close at them, there are many details that look unfamiliar to us. The body is quite small, and looks even lower than a current Japanese K-car. The color of the body of the two cars is a nice slightly metallic chestnut brown. I heard that the number of Clio 1 now circulating in Japan is very low. It doesn’t have the characteristics so recognizable of models like the Renault 4 or 5, its simplicity doesn’t meddle with anybody (lol). I just like its quiet and calm appearance (normality).