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Drive Life : January 14th 2011
1HERSA1 F005 BMW 133 BMW bmw.com.au *Offer applies to new vehicles ordered and delivered between 26th December 2010 and 31st Januar y 2011. Of fer excludes Dealer Delivery which may vary between dealers. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Only a BMW drives like a BMW and the BMW Summer Sales Drive is your opportunity to secure substantial savings across the entire new vehicle range. With incentives also available on 2010 demonstrators, now is the time to get a better deal on an Ultimate Driving Machine. Visit your participating BMW Dealer today. WHAT MAKES BMW FREE ON-ROA BETTER THAN OTHER FREE ON-R THE CAR YOU PUT ON THE ROAD. THE BMW SUMMER SALES DRIVE. COMPLIMENTARY STAMP DUT Y REGISTRATION AND CTP* . ADS ROADS? DUTY BMW11737_SMH_Z4_B ENDS JANUARY 31. EXCLUDES DEALER DELIVERY. BMW Sydney 65 Craigend Street, Rushcutters Bay. Ph: (02) 9334 4555 bmwsydney.com.au DL 14639 North Shore BMW 676 Pacific Highway, Chatswood. Ph: (02) 9406 0888 northshorebmw.com.au DL 26386 Canterbury BMW 376-384 Canterbury Road, Canterbury. Ph: (02) 9784 8856 canterburybmw.com.au DL 8726 Col Crawford Motors 497 Pittwater Road, Brookvale. Ph: (02) 9941 1291 colcrawford.bmw.com.au DL 6342 Sylvania BMW 101-107 Prin c e s Highway, Sylvania. Ph: (02) 8543 5459 sylvaniabmw.com.au DL 14727 Trivett Classic 40-52 Church Street, Parramatta. Ph: (02) 9841 9003 trivettclassicbmw.com.au DL 579 The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, January 14, 2011 5 DriveLIFE What's the third-best-selling car? Three-feat . . . more than 8 million Renault R4s were sold from 1947-92. TONY DAVIS Frequently Unasked Questions The last 1000 R4s were badged as the 'Bye Bye'. Well, obviously there's the VW Beetle in first position. It sold more than 21 million units between 1938 and 2003. And obviously in second is the 15 million-plus Model T Ford, which the VW Beetle famously overtook to become champion. And equally obviously, it's not the Escort or Corolla, despite claims along the way by Ford and Toyota. They are merely nameplates that have been stuck on sequences of very different cars. So what occupies the third step on the podium? The Citroen 2CV? The Mini, perhaps? Could it be the Lada Riva or one of those other weird-arsed Fiat derivatives produced for decades under a string of different names behind the old Iron Curtain? Non, non, non. According to a press release issued by Renault in Britain, the bronze-medal winner is the R4, which sold 8,135,42 units. To many, the history of Renault is about as engaging as the history of corrugated-cardboard packaging materials but, hear me out -- it's surprisingly interesting. The process of using pleated paper between two sheets of more rigid material was patented as a cushioning material in England in 1856 and originally used for hat boxes. Oh, hang on, this is the car section. The Renault R4 was released in 1961 and stayed in production until 1992. So how did it completely slip under the radar (unless, of course, you are a Renaultphile, in which case it was probably a pulsating blip right in the centre of the screen)? It all started during World War II, during which, as we know, France scored a golden duck with the bat, fielded appallingly, then refused to bowl until Germany's tail-enders were obviously struggling. At stumps, the country was a basket case. Some time during the war, however, engineers at Renault took time out from collaborating to bang up a couple of prototype postwar models. One of them was the 4CV, a bulbous and unstable rear- engined Beetle copy. This was unveiled at the 1946 Paris Motor Show. As if to illustrate how austere the times were, the show car and early production models were finished in a sand-coloured paint salvaged from Rommel's Afrika Corps. The newly restructured Renault sold the 4CV from 1947 (the collaboration comment above wasn't a completely cheap shot; that was the reason given for its nationalisation by the French government). Like the 2CV and Fiat Bambina, it proved just the thing for a cash- strapped, petrol-rationed Europe and production lasted until the start of the 1960s. At that point, Renault engineers turned the design on its head. They replaced the curves with straight lines and popped the engine up front, driving the front wheels. They stuck a hatchback on the tail, too. Yes, it was the all-new R4 and, although VW aficionados will argue in favour of the 1970s Golf, the Renault might be the world's first modern front-drive hatch. The R4 was assembled in Australia for many years and (like the 4CV) was popular with the new wave of European migrants who didn't fall for the ''big car for a big country'' spin. ''What for you need all those cylinders?'' To enhance its Frenchness, Australian buyers were offered a ''Parisienne'' model with cane on the sides of the bodywork. In many parts of the world, the R4 lasted through the '70s and '80s, by which time its antiquated production methods made it comparatively expensive to build. In 1992, the last 1000 R4s were produced. They were badged as the ''Bye Bye'', a French expression meaning ''bye bye''. Even then, in a couple of countries they kept knocking together examples into the mid- '90s, meaning the R4 was one of the longest-lived models as well. So now you know. Just tell me you care.
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