It can only be time for a forgotten Renault.

Meet the R21, made from 1986 to 1994 in France and until 1996 in Turkey and Argentina. The 21 had a couple of minor claims to fame, one being that unusually for a Renault it was designed by Giugiaro and the other was that the engine could be oriented in two ways: the smaller petrol ones went transversely as in most other fwd cars while the larger petrol and all the diesels had a longitudinal arrangement. Why? Because they could due to the large engine bay and because it was cheaper to do that than design a transverse gearbox that was woman enough (the French box, she is a girl) for the job.


The 21 first appeared in three box and estate forms, but as the market really wanted hatchbacks one of those duly arrived in 1989. Looked odd stylistically but sold better than the four door in France.

Top trivia: the estate version, a longer car with seven seats, was called the Nevada except in the UK and Ireland where it was discovered that the US state of that name had registered itself so it had to become a Savanna instead.

Next trivia: Renault owned AMC at the time so the American market got the 21. Like the 5,9 and 11 it got a makeover and became, although not for very long, the Renault Medallion. Renault sold AMC to Chrysler in 1987 and so the 21 spent another two years as the Eagle Medallion.


I haven’t seen a 21 of any description in a long time but the French still have a few. Want one? Try this. Yes, it’s gone further than the distance to the moon and has only 88 bhp but then again it has four power windows. Whether they all work isn’t specified.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter