Just as it did with Jean Rédélé for the Alpine, Renault joined forces with a renowned driver and engineer to build this new sports model. Amédée Gordini turned the little R8 Major into a high-powered racer, virtually doubling engine power with a cylinder head of his own design and two excellent Weber carburetors. With its chassis system, steering, brakes, equipment and top speed of 175 kph, the Renault 8 more than deserved its round dials and blue bodywork with white side stripes. In 1966 this compact racer boosted engine power from the original 1,108 cc to 1,224 cc. At the same time, its allure was enhanced by two additional headlights.
The “Gorde” was a huge success, notching up wins in the Tour de Corse (Corsica), Alpine Cup and Monte-Carlo Rally, as well as in a host of amateur events. In 1966 it even had a “Gordini Cup” created in its honor in 1966. This brought the legend within popular reach and underlined the recognized qualities of this car with its impressive sporting record. Many drivers started out at the wheel of this car and still have fond memories of it. In 1970, the R8 Gordini made way for the R12 of the same name.
This popular car gradually became a truly democratic racing car. Young people from all walks of life were able to discover the pleasure of driving a sports model. A total 12,203 units were sold: 2,623 with the 1,100 engine and 9,580 with the 1,300 engine. The Gordini remains an unrivalled legend that made its mark on a generation.