Although today, rear and mid-engine cars are relatively few and far between, post-war France saw a whole slew of them into production, particularly from Renault. Following hot on the heels of the 4CV, the 1956 Renault Dauphine took over the concept, and a lot besides that, and added a few refinements, such as as better brakes and improved steering. While it began its life as little else that an upgraded 4CV, the Dauphine was declined and multiplied in many versions, including the more powerful Dauphine Gordini (with 38 horsepower!), a convertible, coupe and more. What was certain was that the French, and the rest of Europe too, just loved it; over its production time, over 2,000,000 of them were sold. All were well known to rust and corrode at an alarming rate.
Even though it got bigger in subsequent model years, the original Renault4 Dauphine engine was a 845cc, four-cylinder engine producing 30 horsepower. If you think that’s not much, you’re right. It’s not. The Dauphine could reach a top speed of 74 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in 25 seconds, which is hardly impressive. Despite this and the handling issues brought about by the rear engine, the Dauphine was a nice little car that maintains a cult following even today.
Of course, because of the corrosion issues, a Dauphine in perfect shape is quite rare. The 1956 Renault Dauphine has earned its place in automotive history, mostly for the enthusiasm of its fans.