Early Twingos were powered by a modified variant of the time-tested (read: ancient) Cléon four-cylinder gasoline engine that made its debut in the Renault 8 in the early 1960s. Several more up-to-date mills were later shoehorned under the Twingo’s bulgy hood but against all odds a diesel was never offered.
As the 1990s drew to a close the Twingo was still as successful as ever, a surprising feat for a gasoline-powered city car that hadn’t really evolved since its launch. In all fairness it should be noted that Renault gave the car a barely noticeable facelift in 1998 to keep it looking fresh.
Renault half-heartedly tried to replace the pint-sized Twingo with the awkward Modus hatchback in 2004 but the automaker quickly realized that its plan had failed. The development of a proper replacement for the Twingo began soon after and the second-gen model was launched in 2007, marking the end of the first Twingo’s 15-year long career. 2.4 million examples were produced.
The first-gen Twingo’s success wasn’t limited to the marketplace and it consistently topped the list of the most stolen cars in France. As our photographs illustrate, the car still holds this illustrious title today, five years after the last one rolled off the production line.
Will the Twingo’s long production run, its affordability and its cute face enable it to be as successful in the collector car market as it was in dealer showrooms?