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Renault 4 Saloons and Estates; Differences?

I've been reading old "Motor" reports from the 1960s and one particular remark, from the 2nd. January 1965 edition has had me thinking. It says (quote) "....the price tag of the estate version is below £550 (under £500 for the saloon, with a heater)....." Forgive my ignorance, but I thought all Renault 4 cars were estates, unless there were differences in trim. I do know there was a more basic model of the Renault 4, although it was only available as a "special order". Indeed, the Consumers' Association magazine, "Which" tested a Renault 4L in 1967, but were unable to buy the base model, having been told there would be a wait of several months before one could be delivered.

If anyone is able to explain the differences between a saloon and an estate car, and between a basic 4 and a 4L I should be intrigued to hear them.....


& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Bedford UK
The estate was an F4 van with long windows in the side and a rear seat. Claude van-Rouge is an estate. Access to the rear seats was via the folding front seat (possibly passenger side only).
Thanks for that. I gather from this the estate was 2 doored, like the vans, and the saloon was 4 doored and more "car-like". Odd that Renault sold the saloon for less than the estate though; I'd have thought 4 doors, proper rear seating and a bigger car would make it more expensive than the estate. I'm grateful for the information.
I think the UK nomenclature must have changed over the years. The UK handbook for 1973 is quite clear - 'Saloon versions R1123 R1126; Estate versions R2391 R2392; Van versions R2106 R2109'.
Things don't seem as clear for earlier versions, though. J Dewar McLintock says the following about early UK cars: 'In the UK there were two models - a saloon, and an estate car which differed little'.
This link is interesting, although it's just the first page of the road test:
This page gives more info on the 4/4L difference:

In 1972, there were two UK models of the car - 'The Renault 4 standard model has the same mechanical specification as the deluxe version. It differs in the seating - tubular frame type - and does not have some of the de luxe appointments'. No mention of 'Estate' or 'Saloon', though!

There's a Motor road test of the de luxe version - #42/67. Interestingly, the body type of this version is given as 'Estate' on the UK registration document.

The early Haynes manuals mention the Saloon/Estate difference in passing, but give no details!
This is proving more interesting the more I learn! I suspect the "estate" is the more "car like" version, with 4 doors, raising tail-gate etc., and the saloon is the more "van-like" one, with only 2 doors and a side-opening rear door. I must confess I've never seen a saloon version with right-hand drive "in the flesh", having assumed those to have been subsequently converted, by having rear windows & seats retro-fitted. The picture in the "Motor" article is the same model as is in the "Motor" article in 1965, again described as an "estate" car.

As to the differences between the "standard" and "de-luxe" versions, the de-luxe were pretty basic, even by the standards of the day!
I think the original 'Saloon/Estate' labels (both referring to 4-door versions) might have had something to do with the 'Berline/Limousine' distinction in France. 'Berlines' were the 4-door version without the side windows between the rear doors and the tailgate. PICT0031 (44).JPG

'Limousines' had 4 doors, the small side windows at the back, and were more 'luxurious' (!). According to the Revue Technique's 'L'expertise des berlines et limousines Renault 4', both types were produced until September 65, and only 'Limousines' thereafter (although you'd occasionally see 'La Poste' 4s with just 4 side windows well into the 90s). There are several pages detailing the differences between 61 and 66.
Perhaps the UK 'Estate' label came in when the first rear seats that folded twice appeared?
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AKA Paul Cunningham
lancing west sussex england
Sticking with R1123 oval plates
I have seen v5 description of saloon
Estate and deluxe in the relevant space