"The Car of the Year"

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Just after Christmas, possibly because of the shortage of news, some of the motor journals devoted considerable space to a poll organised by Auto-Visie to decide which new car deserves the title of “The Car of the Year.” Points are awarded by a panel of motoring writers, which last year numbered 32 from ten different countries, on the basis of design and technical features, ignoring price. (According to a hand-out front the British Press Office of Renault Ltd. these writers included the Redacteur en Chef Motor Sport, Londres, although in fact I do not read AutoVisie and wasn’t asked to vote—perhaps I have been demoted ?—Ed.)

The result of this poll was that the Renault 16 came first, 17 points ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, while third place went to the Oldsmobile Toronado, 22 points behind the new Rolls-Royce. The runners-up were the Peugeot 204 and Triumph 1300, while Auto-Union Audi, Jensen C-V8 FE, Glas V8, B.M.C. Minimatic and Fiat 850 Coupe: occupied 6th to 10th places.

With the proviso that not all the voters could have driven these cars very far, Renault are to be congratulated on the result, inasmuch as it has given them some useful publicity for their new family saloon. Some of the comments about this Renault 16 read : “The car designed for today’s way of life”—which we hope doesn’t imply that it won’t exceed 70 m.p.h. “The first truly practical family car which offers at the same time comfort and good performance,” and “A new approach, until now little understood, of the way the automobile should serve its user.” All of which makes us look forward to gaining a proper assessment of this car in the course of a full road-test in the not-too-distant future, especially as no Renaults came to us for test last year. After all, it has been described as une voiture de famille qui amuse Ie sportif

Renault will receive the “Car of the Year” Award at the Amsterdam Hilton later this month, but one comparatively young monthly motoring journal, which did not vote, does not agree with the views of the select 32, its Editor having commented : “Motor billed this the most significant new car of 1965. It is nothing of the kind. It is simply a perfectly ordinary front-drive 1500, designed on principles little more advanced than Citroen used 30 years ago. . . . The R16’s much-toted convertible bodywork, with umpteen different positions for the back seat vis-a-vis the luggage platform, looks to me like a gimmick and feels like it in the back.”—W. B.

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