RENAULT IKA TORINO: THE ICON OF AN ENTIRE NATION

IKA TORINO

18 DECEMBER 2019

RENAULT IKA TORINO: THE ICON OF AN ENTIRE NATION

Some cars perform way beyond their primary function, which is to simply transport their passengers. Within a few years, they become legendary, capturing the imagination and stirring up the emotion of an entire country. Renault IKA Torino is one such car.

 

Developed in the 1950s, Torino is the result of the Argentinian government’s impetus to launch the country’s automotive industry. To bolster its development, Argentina turned first to the United States, and in particular to the carmaker Kaiser, which created its Argentinian subsidiary Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) in 1956.

 

In 1959, IKA partnered with Renault, which became the company’s minority shareholder. Renault 6 and Renault 12 were henceforth manufactured in Argentina, and an agreement was signed to produce a Dauphine on the Argentinian market.

18 DECEMBER 2019

RENAULT IKA TORINO: THE ICON OF AN ENTIRE NATION

In 1970, Renault took full control of IKA, which in 1975 became simply Renault Argentina. Rather than import an existing vehicle, the carmaker decided to press on with a project already under way to develop a 100% Argentinian car: that is how Torino was born – a car that quickly won over the entire country.

 

Based on an American Rambler, the new icon of Argentinian auto production boasted a completely original design created by the coachbuilder Pininfarina. Available in a saloon or coupé version, it became a mainstay in the Renault range, and its ease of driving (smoother and more powerful than other vehicles of the ’70s) quickly turned Torino into a social phenomenon. Positioned as a luxury car, it was equipped with a “large” 6-cylinder American engine called “Tornado”, generating 155 hp in its basic version and 176 hp in its sport version.

 

At the time, in 1966, Torino was the only national car in Argentina. It came to symbolise the pride and sense of belonging felt by Argentines the world over. It was the ultimate Argentinian car and soon won over famous clients, such as Fangio, Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro.

IKA TORINO brown
IKA TORINO close-up

18 DECEMBER 2019

RENAULT IKA TORINO: THE ICON OF AN ENTIRE NATION

Nowadays, the Torino is still revered in Argentina, where it is considered a legendary car that forms a part of their national heritage. Renault only imported three units into France, during the 1970s, and only for research purposes. It has been included in the Renault Classic Collection for several decades, and to the brand’s knowledge there is only one of them currently in France.

 

In 2017, after a long dormancy, Renault Classic decided to carry out a dynamic restoration of Torino. In collaboration with a leading Argentine collector, Juan Luis Rawzez, all the missing parts were found. Although airlines refused to carry the shock absorbers, which operate with high-pressure gas, the car has now recovered its original shape.

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