A thing I am reminded of

Up until the 1980s or thereabouts Renault described each of their cars by a number which was originally the taxation class in France so the 4 was 4CV or fiscal horsepower. Subsequently the number became pretty much arbitrary. Every digit from 3 (a rare low powered 4) up to 21 was used except for 13 because triskaidekaphobia.

But there was a peculiarity.

Meet the R17. Bonus Peugeot 305 in the background.


Now meet another blue Renault.

Same car and same colour? But look closely. It’s not a 17.


It’s a centosettantasette, a 177, because 17 is unlucky if you’re Italian. As set out in the image above 17 in Roman numerals is XVII which is supposedly an anagram of VIXI, I have lived (and therefore I am dead) in Latin. Out with the 17 for the Italians then and in with the 177.

Whether 17 or 177, it was still the first Renault to have the option of fuel injection.

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