The Renault Dauphine isn’t what you typically picture when you think of a car capable of setting a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats, yet a purpose-built example made history in western Utah last week.
A Dauphine driven by Nicolas Prost hit a top speed of 76.5 mph (about 123 km/h) on the Salt Flats, an all-time record in the Classic Gas Coupe (CGC) category. Renault explains that cars eligible to compete in the CGC class are the ones built between 1928 and 1981, and whose engine displacement ranges from 754 to 1,015 cubic centimeters. Those guidelines effectively rule out many of the Dauphine’s competitors; the Beetle’s engine is too big, for example, though a Fiat 600 with the 767cc mill could conceivably attempt to go faster.
The record-setting Dauphine is powered by a 956cc four-cylinder engine, but Renault hasn’t revealed what modifications — if any — have been made to it. We can tell from the handful of press photos distributed over the weekend that the cabin has been virtually stripped in order to shed weight. Notably, the dashboard, the seats, and even the sun visors have been sent back to the parts bin. The interior now features a bucket seat for the driver, a full roll cage, and a quick-release steering wheel.
Details about the record-setting run are few and far between. We’ve keep you posted if more information trickles out.