Old Gold Top Gear: Renault 19 and 21

It’s been two weeks since the last episode of PetrolBlog’s Old Gold Top Gear, so to make up for lost time, this week’s video features not one, but two Renaults. Not only that, but you’re also treated to an appearance from William Woollard and Chris Goffey. Call it an early Easter present from PetrolBlog.

The show is broadcast from California, forcing Woollard to leave his wooly jumper behind and present in a short-sleeved shirt. The fact that he’s talking about National Lead Free Week shows how far we’ve come since 1989. Although the state didn’t quite deliver on their plan to phase out the use of petrol and design engines ‘within the next 10 to 15 years’.

Renault 21 GTS on PetrolBlogBut never mind this, we’re here to take a look at two ‘new’ Renaults, with the launch of the hatchback version of the 21 and the saloon version of the 19, the Chamade. A reverse Shatchback and a genuine Shatchback then?!

First things first, this video suggests that, like @antonyingram, Mr Chris Goffey could be a Shatchback fan. Indeed, Goffey is quick to praise the Chamade’s styling over its hatchback cousin. He also goes on to mention the Jetta, Belmont and Orion, no doubt with a sense of excitement in his head.

Look out for the plastic cover that’s used to hide the car radio. Remember when manufacturers used to do that? Also check out the yellow fog lights. Proof in my mind that, despite being one of the coolest things you can add to a French car, they still can’t making a Shatchback appealing.

As for the Renault 21, is it me or is the saloon version far more attractive? The Turbo version in particular remains a good looking performance car, so it’s a shame that according to How Many Left?, there are just 70 left on the road.

I’ll leave you to indulge yourself in some retro French goodness courtesy of Messrs Woollard and Goffey.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

15 comments

  1. April 5, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    I certainly remember thinking those flip over covers were a great idea. Looked better than most of the stereo’s too!

    Reply
    • April 5, 2012
      MajorGav

      Ha! I guess these were the days when locks were awful, alarms were next to useful and stereos were often nicked. Before the days when stereos became part of the dashboard.

      Reply
  2. April 5, 2012
    Rafael

    “Great” memories. My father had a R-21, a diesel one, no less. Truly horrific car, with glacial performance, electric gremlins and that terrible fluff-catching stuff that the french used to upholster the seats; at least it was comfortable.
    And the driving school where I learnt to drive also had R-21 diesels …
    The best thing about that car was the air conditioning, a luxury in 1990. My father ran the poor car into the ground and then bought another dog: a Volvo 940. God forgive him.

    Reply
    • April 5, 2012
      MajorGav

      That’s the true PetrolBlog spirit. Beginning an account of an old car with the word ‘great’ and then swiftly moving on to use words such as ‘horrific’, ‘gremlins’, ‘terrible’ and ‘dog’. Love it! 😉

      Reply
  3. April 6, 2012
    Rob GT

    “Very few squeaks and rattles”

    And this on a brand new car? 🙂

    Reply
    • April 6, 2012
      Simon Hingston

      Aah the old days 😉

      Reply
  4. April 6, 2012
    aldoliddell

    I had forgot how bland the early 19s were! The facelifted 16v did look good though

    Reply
  5. April 7, 2012
    Ølholm

    How often does one need to change waveband?!?

    Reply
  6. April 8, 2012
    scott clausen

    Cant believe Top gear never done a road test of the 21 turbo or 21 quadra 4×4 as they were a close rival to the cossie at the time, for a lot less dosh.
    I own one of the 15 turbo quadras left on the road and love the way it drives and handles, its still very quick also considering its 20yrs old…………….

    Reply
    • April 8, 2012
      MajorGav

      Really must sort out a feature of your 21 on PetrolBlog…

      Reply
  7. April 9, 2012
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    Watching that Chamade being tested was definitely a nostalgic experience. My dad had a red Chamade followed by a silver-blue 19, and he still goes on about the damn things to this day. He did over 100,000 miles between the two of them and neither ever broke down (unlike the Megane he followed the 19 with which he bought brand new and sold on it’s third gearbox at around 25k miles…). Neither rattled either, nor rusted.

    I seem to remember that the 19 actually won some German award for reliability and quality at some point, which makes you wonder why Renault started going downhill in that regard afterwards.

    And I agree with Mr Goffey. Shatchback 19 for the win. Though make mine a Phase 2 16v…

    Reply
    • April 10, 2012
      Simon Hingston

      Did they fall into that wondrous mid to late nineties (in development if not release) attack of the accountants that most car makers suffered?

      Reply
      • April 13, 2012
        Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

        I think that must be the case. A pity too. My dad had a Megane after his second 19, and a Laguna following that. The gearbox-munching Megane was still a really nice car (and I’ve always liked the look of the first-gen Megane) and the Laguna was comfortable and peppy, but plagued with electrical gremlins.

        Unfortunately these days many Renaults are simply bland. Twizy and RenaultSport products aside.

        Reply
  8. April 10, 2012
    FailCar

    I don’t have much love for either of these old Renaults, especially compared to the BX and 405 as mentioned. They look a bit like ‘A Car’ you know, a bit like a Dacia. (Duster exempt)

    Reply
  9. December 3, 2016
    Peter

    Iv a soft spot for the 21 SAVANNA (ESTATE) DAD HAD F REG 1.7 gutless ts AND DROVE IT into the ground, then HIS FIRM MENTIONED HE WILL GET ANOTHER ONE, SO THERE I SPENt THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF THE YEAR LOOKING THOGH BROCHURES UNTIL IT FINALLY ARRIVED, FINALLY, A TOP SPEC RT 2.1dt WITH OPTIONAL POLISHED ALLOYS AND REAR ELECTRIC WINDOWS that i leanrt to drive in.

    Reply

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