The unfinished Renault Twingo project with a Ferrari engine by Axel Breun, a Renault designer, was the seed that inspired the 2001 Renault Clio V6.
If there are Renault brand cars that have gone down in history for their crazy configuration, one of those that should be in this group is the Renault Clio V6. This mid-engine sports utility was born in 2001 when the brand wanted to reinforce the image of the Clio. But before his arrival there was a project for a Renault Twingo with a Ferrari engine that ended up inspiring him.
To understand this story, you have to meet the figure of Axel Breun, a Renault designer who would end up being the father of the Clio V6, but before that he would embark on a crazy personal project that involved the little Renault Twingo and the engine. of a Ferrari.
The Ferrari-powered Renault Twingo project that inspired the Renault Clio V6
Far from the Renault Sport model, Breun was in love with the first Twingo and saw potential in the base of the legendary Renault to turn it into a much sportier and more performance car. His humble mechanics weren’t up to it, so the designer decided to give the vehicle a twist.
The first option went through the change of engine. The candidate was the engine of the Daihatsu Charade GTti, a mechanical three-cylinder in-line and 12 valves with a 1.0-liter displacement that developed 101 HP of power at 6,500 rpm thanks to the incorporation of a turbocharger.
However, Breun was forced to scrap this idea due to problems with the electronics, so he went back to the drawing board and rethought the project from a new perspective. What if they installed the Twingo body on a car with the same wheelbase, but much more powerful and sporty?
The designer of the Clio Williams heir began looking for a vehicle that had the same (or almost identical) wheelbase as the Twingo, which had a 2,345 mm wheelbase. And the chosen one was none other than the Ferrari 308 thanks to a platform that offered a wheelbase of 2,340 mm.
It had an independent chassis, so it was enough to separate it from the body and mount that of the small Renault. To verify that this was possible, Breun obtained two scale replicas of both models and matched the chassis and bodywork. They fit perfectly and, in addition, the difference in track width between the two models was practically non-existent.
An abandoned project that inspired a production car
A friend offered to make it if the designer got all the parts. Purchasing the Twingo’s body was easy, but the limited budget he had for this personal project prevented him from purchasing the chassis and engine of the Ferrari, so it ultimately did not materialize in a real vehicle.
Axel Breun left the sketches of the Ferrari-powered Renault Twingo on the wall behind his desk, in full view of many of the people who worked at Renault. For this reason, when the brand decided to create a version that would reinforce the image of the Clio, many proposed the idea of Ferrari’s mid-engined Twingo applied to the French compact.
And the result was a second-generation Clio equipped with a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6 mid-engine that developed 230 PS of power (255 PS in the second phase of the model). This energy was channeled to the rear end through a manual gearbox. Today, the Clio V6 is one of the most collectible Renaults ever made.
Source: Motor Journalism