In favour of the Renault R8


Mr. A. Smith (October 1963) appears to have grown so weary of Morris 1100 criticism, that he appears to have nodded off when quoting acceleration figures up to 70; I can only find figures which are around a second slower, despite looking through a whole heap of magazines. Perhaps he also has fairy feet, since his m.p.g. figures are better than quoted ones, out of all proportion.

He might also bear in mind Continental competition again in the form of the Renault R8. Although the French car gives away nearly 250 c.c., it is quicker up to any speed than the Morris (0 to 70 in 36.4 at worst v. 36.9 at best), is about 5% faster “all out,” around 5% quicker to stop and the relative fuel consumptions also favour “mamselle” marginally.

When one takes into account the five-bearing crankshaft, sealed cooling system (which B.M.C. have copied!), much lower tyre wear, the host of standard fittings (child-proof rear doors, fresh cold or warm air for demisting and heating systems, two-tone horns, thief-proof steering lock, etc., etc., to name but a few) as opposed to the so-called de luxe Morris 1100 – not to mention the far superior Renault seats, I really begin to wonder just how much of a World-beater we have got (good servicing apart) since the prices are not THAT much different and would give the advantage to the Renault, if there were no Import Duty.

However, let’s give credit, where credit is due. After countless miserable years of “tagging on” the British manufacturers now produce a range of small cars which can start to play in the same big league as their Continental rivals. Whether they have the long term dependability and can set up such good servicing facilities everywhere as those which have made their rivals famous is quite a different kettle of fish – particularly when one realises that there are millions more potential vehicle owners who need, or will need in the foreseeable future, indestructible, basic transport, than there are of our type, cossetted and pampered with virtually dustfree, well-metalled roads. A victory in our field, where wealth can allow a choice, is a mere skirmish in the World’s vehicle battlefields. Bearing this in mind, one should judge the vehicles on the far wider basis of their world performance rather than their home ground abilities where the dice are loaded heavily in their favour.

What price the patter of tiny wheels from the dacshund-B.M.C. on the rutted East African tracks? Ouff!

Surbiton. H. Wintle