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Yes, if you think that it looks like something harking back to the 60s, you’re positively right, because it is something from the 60s. It’s a Renault 4, apparently the the world’s third-best selling model of all time (with 8,135,424 cars, vans and utes sold in more than 100 countries between 1961 and 1992, no less), but this is a La Quatrelle (or 4L) with a difference.


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This one is set to take on the challenge at Speed Week taking place at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah next month, with the aim to get said R4 to crack 280 kph. Decidedly insane? Well, not for the trio of childhood mates with a need for speed – the Les Triplettes de Bonneville, as they are called, have armed themselves with a recently completed Renault 4 F4 van variant (with the model name Fourgonnette), built with assistance from Renault Classic.


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Externally, it’s identical to the original vehicle, give or take a front mud-guard, exiting exhaust pipe and minuscule ground clearance. This one has a parachute (no ejector seat, yet), and a 290 hp Renault 5 Turbo race engine, suitably borrowed from a race-winning museum-piece.


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In addition to the race-tuned mill, the gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, wiring and fuel system have all been sourced specifically for this event by Renault Sport Technologies in order to comply with the Southern Californian Timing Association regulations.


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Weighing in at 720 kg, the front-engined, front-wheel drive salt flat charger – dubbed Saline4Fun – also boasts a roll cage, race harness and seat and a fire extinguisher. Hopefully, the last won’t be needed.