It has always surprised me that there are so few Renault R8s to be seen on the roads in this country, and I was delighted to read Mr. Wintle’s championship of this fine motor car.
I had occasion to change cars in December, 1963. The actual decision was preceded by weeks of study of road tests and performance tables, in search of the family man’s inevitable compromise between performance, capacity and price. The ideal would have been the Fiat 1500 (another foreign product incidentally) but this was too expensive, as was the Lotus Cortina, and the Gilbern GT. I toyed with the idea of an Alexanderised Herald, but short of putting the kids on a shrinking diet, I saw no hope of accommodating them in the back. The Morris 1100, the Cortina in standard form, and the Victor were all looked at and dismissed, for reasons which at one time or another have been ventilated in your correspondence columns, and I had almost made up my mind to a Ford GT Cortina when the R8 struck me as a possibility . . . I have had no regrets.
The car has now done 3,500 miles; it is very intelligently planned, beautifully engineered, and (by British standards) very well finished indeed. The acceleration of the 956 c.c. engine happily disposes of the 1,500 c.c. products of Morris, Rootes and Ford, including the latter’s Super version of the “World’s most exciting light car,” together with the “Safety Fast” gentlemen from Abingdon; the complementary fore and aft disc brakes are not – English manufacturers please note – an extra. Neither are the two ventilating systems, “X” tyres, screen-washers, ignition lock, sealed cooling system, and those superlative front seats.
There are, of course, a few criticisms: for example, the hand brake in the off position needs a baboon-like arm to reach it, and the gearbox seems to produce a variety of noises. But on the whole this is real value for the family man. Usual disclaimers.
P. W. DIXON.
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