Published on : February 7th 2017
Design by Renault, from the Belle Époque to the present day
February 7th 2017

At the 2017 Rétromobile Show, Renault, with its long and rich history, is presenting vehicles that symbolize the French-style elegance that has always been a defining characteristic of the brand. Fully in line with this tradition, TREZOR, the concept car revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, will be on display at the event.

01 / The TREZOR star: a subtle homage to an illustrious past

The bold and sensual concept car TREZOR turned many a head at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, where it played
a starring role.

But did it reveal all of its secrets, or, should we say, treasures?

At the rear of the car, a five-pointed star is niched behind the Renault logo like a jewel in its setting. The silver star with its slight patina effect would almost go unnoticed to an uninformed eye, with only the most observant noting its presence.

It is difficult to understand the presence of this object on such a futuristic concept car, especially for those not fully acquainted with Renault’s history.

And yet this extremely discreet, unostentatious star is full of history and prestige. It had already lived a very full life before gracing the TREZOR concept car and is now part of the heritage treasures of Renault Classic*.

The star was the emblem used on a pre-war Renault car, the Reinastella. It was the signature appearing on the famous high-end Stella models that helped to forge the brand’s reputation.

TREZOR was enhanced with this “jewel” on an initiative of Stéphane Janin, Director of Concept Car Design.

“Giving it new life with TREZOR is an homage to enthusiasts who, through their know-how and their passion for progress and beautiful cars, created models such as the 40 CV and the Reinastella.”
Stéphane Janin - Director of Concept Car Design


More than a simple nod to history, this authentic object – one that has lived – is a true testament to Renault’s past on a vehicle that symbolizes the future.

In the same vein as the Stella models, TREZOR is an exceptional vehicle, an electric GT previewing the styling direction of future Renault cars.


“This emblem establishes a link between TREZOR and some of the exceptional vehicles produced by the brand in the 1920s and 1930s. It is the bridge between ultra-modernity and this prestigious automotive past.”
Stéphane Janin - Director of Concept Car Design


As historic Renault vehicles were worked on by the greatest coachbuilders of their day, so the TREZOR dashboard in dark red wood was created in partnership with the French company KEIM-cycles, renowned for its know-how in the design of bespoke wooden bike frames providing high-level performance.

TREZOR represents the very best in the French motoring spirit, focused on driving pleasure and travelling comfort and featuring premium materials such as wood and leather. Combining craftsmanship and technology, it previews the ever more refined, connected and pure interiors of future Renault models.


02 / Exceptional vehicles symbolizing French-style elegance

Considered more as a full-line carmaker today, Renault has never forgotten its high-status models.

Over time, the brand has consistently cultivated “French design”, reflecting a certain Gallic elegance underpinned by the alliance of outstanding craftsmanship and the quest for technical performance.

A key guiding line over the decades, this French approach to design is embodied by the selection of cars that Renault Classic decided to show at Rétromobile.

All of the cars on display plunge visitors into a luxurious world home to the finest craftsmanship, the legacy of those who made Renault what it is today


Renault TYPE CH - 1911

Dating from the Belle Époque, the Renault TYPE CH shares certain design similarities with the horse-drawn vehicles of the 1900s. Featuring a sporty single-phaeton body, the CH has a resolutely athletic air with its short and narrow chassis and boasts the elegance and refinement of a high-end model.


40 CV - 1922

A flagship of the brand and a symbol of Renault luxury and know-how in the 1920s, the 40 CV was a turning point in the company’s history. The design, redolent of power and robustness, is combined with all-new technical components such as servo brakes** on all four wheels. This prestigious and high-performance model appealed to crowned heads and motorsport enthusiasts alike, becoming the darling of the Roaring Twenties.



An exceptional model in all respects, the REINASTELLA is undoubtedly one of the most renowned pre-war cars. Successor to the 40 CV and its strong reputation, the REINASTELLA was powered by the first eight-cylinder engine developed at Billancourt and equipped with a number of other technical advantages that made it simply extraordinary. Those qualities made it a huge success with the top coachbuilders of the day, including Binder, Kellner and Letourneur et Marchand, which magnified and further boosted its reputation as a true high-end vehicle.

The first car to feature the Renault shooting star rather than the diamond, the REINASTELLA kicked off the “STELLA” signature used for the brand’s top-of-the-range models.

It is this star that is to be found today on TREZOR, a modern-day heir to luxury Renaults.


VIVA GRAND SPORT Cabriolet - 1935

The VIVA GRAND SPORT strikes a balance between the VIVASTELLA family car and the VIVASPORT sports car, achieving a luxurious alchemy of the two. Boasting luxury upholstery, chrome bumpers and a more dynamic design, the swift and svelte cabriolet encapsulates the automotive trends of the time. In much the same vein as the NERVA and VIVA ranges, which with their more rounded design broke with the square and angular styling of previous models, the VIVA GRAND SPORT features an aerodynamic body commensurate with its resolutely sporty style.



Renault does not simply have a rich heritage in terms of high-end and grand-tourer vehicles; the brand’s knowhow also extends to light commercial vehicles.

While not requiring the refinement of a REINASTELLA or the performance of a RENAULT 5 TURBO, light commercial vehicles still have fully elaborate designs. The model on show at Rétromobile is a fabulous example, adopting the style of the haute-couture company Nina Ricci as published in the advertising brochures of the time.


FLORIDE - 1961

In the 1960s, a collaborative effort with the coachbuilders Ghia and Frau resulted in the FLORIDE. Elegant and in tune with its times, the FLORIDE was quick to appeal to the stars of the day, notably Brigitte Bardot, who became the “face” of the model. Designed to please women in particular, it featured bright colors, matching interiors and a refinement that made it a decidedly special car.



A true sports car, the RENAULT 5 TURBO amazed by more than performance alone. The legendary 1980s model also marked its era through its elegant styling, sculpted for performance but also for the pleasure of all motorists. The interior design was a further standout feature with an originally-styled dashboard and steering wheel together with upholstery in extremely daring color combinations!


Concept car LAGUNA - 1990

Bubbling over with creativity and dedicated to driving pleasure and at-the-wheel thrills, the Roadster LAGUNA is an uncompromising concept car. The windscreen-free design harks back to cars from the past in which our great grandparents donned fur coats to protect against the cold and wind.

The concept car’s athletic design made quite a mark, winning the Car Design Award in 1991.


Concept car INITIALE - 1995

Breaking with the “biodesign” cues in favor at the time, the INITIALE Concept Car marked Renault’s return to structured styling based on controlled surfaces that is elegant and high-end at the same time. The concept car’s bold shape, inspired by pre-war car design, is an homage to the past and the coachbuilder trade. INITIALE is a wholly new take on the high-end automobile in which omnipresent, thoroughly domesticated technology still remains discreet. Luxury is expressed through refinement, technicity through simplicity, and inventiveness through respect for tradition.


VIVA GRAND SPORT coupé - 1939

The latest treasure in the collection

Featuring a magnificent shooting star and paint that has peeled and developed a patina with time, the latest acquisition of Renault Classic is none other than a rare VIVA GRAND SPORT Coupé from 1939.

This amazing find is entirely original and has not been restored. The car is in perfect running order and has only 20,000 km in the clock, having not been driven for 50 years.

The last version of the VIVA GRAND SPORT, this exceptional model, worth 58,000 francs in 1939, is worth the equivalent of €2.9 million today. The luxurious model with its sharp lines and powerful engine is a little gem, and was raved about in the press of the day.




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