Renault 5 Prototype: A gateway between past and present

After a first episode dedicated to reinterpreting the irresistible look of the original R5, we dive back behind the scenes of Renault's design department.

Wake up good memories and "Activate the smile", this is what i intended François Leboine, responsible for concept cars and show cars at Renault, with the Renault 5 prototype. And to achieve its objectives, it focused on a very special automotive sector that reinterprets the Original R5: headlights.


Renault 5Before starting any creative process, you need raw materials. The first stage, known as analytics, consisted of regrouping files to analyze, understand, decompose the source vehicle. Capture its essence.

The photos, the sketches, the sketches of the original designer Michel Boué, the magazines, the fascicles and brochures of the time, allowed to study the mythical R5 from all angles. Renault classic lent a vehicle that also helped to better understand some elements, such as these famous headlights.


"We have capitalized on the entire history of Renault and the R5 in particular, which had the sympathy of the people and with that perfectly recognizable mischievous look"explains Leboine.

Renault 5

Later, designers sketched the first drawings on paper, like cartoonists who focus on capturing what makes up the personality of a face. "The sketches have made it possible to capture the fundamental elements that had to be preserved to reproduce the mischievous look of the original R5"he added. Next, they went to the graphic palette to define the proportions, the contours, the separation between the headlights and thus capture the "smiling look" of the R5 of the 70s.


Renault 5 prototypeAfter analyzing the graphic characteristics and the work on the proportions, the designers carried out a transposition, a method that consists of taking an object and transferring it to another world. For the Renault 5 Prototype the designers were inspired in particular by the universes of aeronautics, architecture, product design and even electronics.

Thanks to this method of transposing the visual codes, the prototype's headlights have become truly technological and futuristic elements. As for the fog lights, which were added separately at that time, they have taken a leap into the future. They have been metamorphosed into daytime running lights fully integrated into the front bumper.

"It was very important that Renault 5 Prototype was not a mere slavish copy of the past, but a vehicle that really contained the elements of the future"Leboine insists.


Renault 5 prototypeFinally came the confrontation, the last stage for the designers. It is the one that allowed them to know if their work is correct. “We have compared what we have done with everyone around us to see if we were right; if we had managed to resuscitate the R5 or if we had failed ", says the person in charge of the project.

"The reaction of the people internally already indicated to us that the car was going to have some success, but in the end our expectations were exceeded", admits

Indeed, the Renault 5 Prototype received a warm and unanimous reception. Both in the headlights and in the vehicle as a whole, the treatment of the lines and the futuristic details, they liked a lot. With the Renault 5 Prototype, the flagship model of the Renault heritage now has a worthy heir. A modern car, adapted to the new times and full of charm.



Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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