In the early 1960s, Renault developed several prototypes with one mission in mind: to optimise interior space and passenger comfort. Their design was atypical to say the least, with its forward cabin and rear-mounted engine. This albeit asymmetrical line emphasised the spacious and bright interior. Several projects would emerge: Renault Projet 600 (based on Renault Dauphine), followed by Renault Projet 900, which added new details to the same basic structure.
When designing Renault Projet 900, the backwards concept car, Sergio Coggiola (designer for 15 years at the Ghia workshops in Turin) and Michel Béligond (talented Renault designer) openly created a baffling shape to provide a more spacious interior. The engine is mounted behind the cabin (an MPV well ahead of its time) which is shifted forward; however, the engine remains in a central position in front of the rear wheels!
Unique vehicle, unique sound: discover the sounds of Renault Projet 900.
The designers of Renault Projet 900 (Coggiola and Béligond) had total creative freedom, which paved the way for this unparalleled line. With the cabin way up at the front, the vehicle appears to be backwards, and the boot is tricky to spot. Hidden behind the rear bench seat, the boot has no specific door, making loading a bit of a challenge! It’s a shame because its design, optimised for passenger comfort, would have been perfect for taxis.
The Renault Projet 900’s main claim to fame is its unique line and the creative freedom enjoyed by the designers, but it also introduced a clever solution for getting in the driver’s seat, placed directly above the front wheel arches (must feel great going over speed bumps!). To sit in the vehicle, the driver had to squeeze between the unusually shaped door and the steering wheel. Luckily, the designers had a solution: the steering column could disconnect and swivel to the side to leave more room for the driver to settle in.
- Performance and engine
Max. speed: over 140 km/h
1,690 cc, approx. 80 hp
- dimensionsLength 4.33 mWidth 1.78 mHeight 1.55 m
- Forward placement of the MPV cabin
- The mid-engine is mounted behind the cabin but in front of the rear wheels.
Renault Projet 900 would remain a prototype; however, the project proved that the interior space was a primary concern for the Renault designers as early as the 1960s. Renault Projet 900 can thus be considered a forebear (at least in spirit) to Renault Espace, which was unveiled in 1984, thus sparking the MPV trend to emphasise interior space and modularity.