ENGLISH – X29 Project: when Gandini wanted to seduce Robert Opron

Here is an interesting archive of the Renault project, the X29, which gave birth to the R25 in 1984. Gandini had his say, but without success. However, it is not for lack of having tried to seduce Opron, the former boss of the style… Citroën !

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Renault communicated at the time on the design of this car by revealing the two parallel projects carried out by its own design offices. One was located in Rueil, the other in Nanterre. These two offices were managed by Gaston Juchet in Rueil and Jacques Nocher in Nanterre. Each of these offices proposed its own vision of the X29 programme.

Superb drawing by Gaston Juchet for the X29 project.

In Rueil, Gaston Juchet and Michel Jardin are moving towards a car with a large rear bubble, the “Bicaéro” project. It is the late 1980s, and the Fuego is almost in the street…. In Nanterre, Nocher chose Jean-François Venet’s project, a programme called “Rafale” with a classic tailgate framed by two triangular rear side windows. The device seems more dynamic while the “Bicaero” is more statutory and will finally be retained.

From left to right, the definitive Renault 25 – or almost -, Gaston Juchet’s Bicaéro proposal in the centre and, at the end, Jean-François Venet’s Rafale.

But what is less well known is that Marcello Gandini was consulted on this project. Robert Opron opened the doors of the Renault design office to consultants and Gandini has had many successes at the Régie : Supercinq, AE truck or Trafic.

His project for the Renault 25 above was in line with the design he was working on at Bertone, even though at the time Gandini had become independent. But it is above all on board that the Italian seems to want to seduce Robert Opron who, let us remember, was responsible for the Citroën style from 1964 to 1974 before taking over the Renault style in 1975 !

Thus, Gandini’s proposal opts for a very Citroën single-spoke steering wheel and eases the wide instrumentation combination of two pseudo control satellites inspired by Michel Harmand’s “lunule” view aboard the CX. The instrumentation block is based on a horizontal architecture with four reading levels. A surprising project that was not selected, leaving Renault’s internal projects alone in the fight. This is the proposal of Gaston Juchet (below with Opron and Gandini, from left to right) which became the Renault 25 in 1984…

Photos (Renault Histoire and Jean-Marie Souquet archives) taken from the book “Concept cars and Renault study prototypes” to be published in April 2020 by Editions BJB.

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