When the 33rd Paris Motor Show opened its doors on October 3, 1946 after an eight-year pause, one of the models on show caused a sensation. Developed by Renault in total secrecy, the 4CV was to enjoy huge success. A dazzling career awaited this car that started life as an undercover operation.
On June 16, 1940, German forces took over the management of Renault plants. All ongoing automotive projects were frozen. A handful of brave Renault engineers with a passion for their work, decided to defy the ban and started secret research studies on a new vehicle. They set two key requirements: the car had to be inexpensive and it had to be frugal in order to adapt to fuel shortages. Thus started the 106 project, which paved the way for the 4CV.
When France was liberated, the project gathered pace. In March 1945, Pierre Lefaucheux replaced Louis Renault at the head of the state-owned Régie Nationale des Usines Renault. The new Chairman and CEO was highly enthusiastic about this small, economical and eminently affordable car. He decided to improve the model with a view to bringing it to market.