Not all countries can proudly say that they have a national car brand, but they can boast of a 100% national car in some instances. In the case of Argentina, the Renault IKA Torino is that standard, a model from the 70s still revered today.
HIstory of Renault IKA Torino
To talk about Turin, we must go further from its birth, specifically to the 1950s. The government of the South American country wanted to boost the national automotive industry, and for this, it decided to look for foreign partners. He set his sights on the United States, where he contacted the manufacturer Kaiser, with whom he reached an agreement that resulted in the creation, in 1856, of the Argentine subsidiary of the firm, Industrias Kaiser Argentina, or IKA.
In 1959, Renault acquired a minority stake just three years later, which resulted in the production of various models of the French manufacturer in Argentina, such as the Dauphine or the Renault 4 . These coexisted with the Kaiser’s legacy product line, American market models.
However, the brand wanted, instead of just manufacturing licensed models, to produce its Argentine car. With this goal in mind, IKA and AMC joined forces in 1966. From this union came the Renault IKA Torino.
It was based on the American Rambler, it was 4.72 meters long and 1.41 meters wide, and its design was created by Pininfarina (whose headquarters was in Turin, hence the name). In addition, both sedan and coupe bodywork was available. Its design has not aged poorly, it has a reasonably athletic silhouette, and the front, with the two-round diagonal headlights, is quite graceful.
The brand positioned them as a “premium” model and was successful since the acceptance by the public was very good. Its image, combined with a six-cylinder engine that delivered 155 hp in the basic version and 176 hp in the sportier, and with an outstanding driving smoothness, made it soon make a name for itself.
Its success was such that personalities like Fangio had a Renault IKA Torino. It is rumoured that others like Fidel Castro and Leonid Brezhnev also had one in their possession. However, the one that matters here is the first, since it enhanced the competition side of the model.
In 1969, with Yvon Lavaud, Director General of IKA-Renault, they sent a team with three cars and nine drivers to compete in “Le Marathon de la Route,” an 84-hour endurance test around a circuit of 28 kilometres on the Nürburgring. The race was held between August 19 and 22 amid the most diverse climatic circumstances (heat, rain, storms ), but when the checkered flag was lowered, the first to cross it was Torino 3 (the other two cars had to retire) with 334 laps behind him. Although after a series of accumulated penalties during the test, he fell to the fourth position.
The Renault Torino continued to be manufactured until 1982, with a total production of almost 100,000 units.
Special Thanks : RCC Auto Transport