Published on : February 20th 2017
The TWINGO makes history in Australia
February 20th 2017

- The TWINGO ‘Balarinji’ has been acquired by the National Museum of Australia.
- The car was the first two-wheel drive to reach the Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost tip of Australia, on a 25,000-kilometre road trip.
- The epic outback adventure was immortalised in an Aboriginal painting by two famous Australian artists.
- The TWINGO had the starring role in a uniquely Australian story.

The story began over 20 years ago when French journalist Jean DULON set off on a road trip around Australia in a TWINGO.

That was back in 1994. The TWINGO had just been released and was shaking up the car market. Jean was inspired by the car’s slogan: “The Renault ad at the time was all about inventing a life style to match the TWINGO’s character. I took the slogan word for word and asked Renault if I could invent an adventure for the TWINGO. I wanted to create an encounter between something infinitely small like the TWINGO and something infinitely big like Australia.”

Jean ended up travelling 25,000 kilometres, including 8,000 kilometres on unsealed roads and tracks, on his two-month journey around Australia. The TWINGO was the first two-wheel drive car to reach the Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost tip of Australia. Jean had no GPS or roadside assistance and service stations were hundreds of kilometres apart in some remote areas.

Before going back to France, Jean asked two famous Australian artists to immortalise his outback adventure. The Aboriginal artwork painted on his one-of-a-kind TWINGO was the brainchild of John MORIARTY, founder of the leading Australian designer clothing company Balarinji, and Frank LEE, a celebrated airbrush artist.

You may already be familiar with this TWINGO. Jean DULON made a film about his trip and stories about the TWINGO featured in the mainstream media and on TV. Renault also used a picture of the Aboriginal-inspired TWINGO in 1985 for a nationwide ad campaign with the tagline: ‘The TWINGO is like a boomerang. No matter how far you send it, it keeps on coming back’.

Back in France, Jean continued to relive his outback adventure in his TWINGO ‘Balarinji’, clocking up 250,000 kilometres over the years. The car has recently been acquired by the National Museum of Australia in Canberra and has practically become a national treasure.

Read more about the TWINGO’s travels at


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