As the first major motoring development after the Second World War, the 4 CV was ideally matched to customer expectations of the time, achieving sales of over a million.
The first post-war car with a focus on comfort
The 4 CV was unveiled in 1946 at the first post-war Paris Motor Show. It was marvelously attuned to the spirit of the times, and the challenges of post-war reconstruction, after the years of suffering and denial. A rear-mounted engine gave the 4 CV a flat floor, enabling this lightweight, economical little car to carry four people comfortably. Though it was developed under cover during the most difficult of wartime conditions, the 4 CV went on to enjoy a bright and brilliant career, with production topping the million mark.
The original Alpine
Production techniques included extensive use of transfer machines, marking the dawn of the automation era. Many different versions were made, from the low-cost “Service” model to the high-appeal convertible, and the racy 1063 sports model. The 4 CV had considerable international scope, extending to sales in USA, and production in Japan.
In France, specialist coachbuilders appreciated its ready adaptability, and Jean Rédélé would use the 4 CV as the basis for his famous Alpine racers. Despite the arrival of Dauphine in 1955, the 4 CV continued through to 1961, when it finally gave way to another best-seller, Renault 4, after a magnificent career in bridging the post-war transition to freedom.