Following a video released earlier this year, Renault has now posted a photo gallery of the original Twingo city car, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The project started in 1989 when project director Yves Dubreil was asked to come up with a small car that was also practical, economical and comfortable, but not a direct rival to the Clio. Three years later, the Twingo was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, with the car entering production in 1993.
It proved to be a success, thanks to its monobox shape and cute “frog” (some say, Betty Boop) face, funky interior and innovations such as the sliding rear seat. Renault sold almost over 2 million Twingos since the first-generation model was discontinued in 2007.
Everything was simple about the Renault Twingo. The car was sold in a single version, with just one 55hp 1.2-liter engine and one interior trim level that featured power windows and apple green control stalks. Only two options could be specified: a folding canvas roof and climate control. Twingo was available with four body color choices at launch: Outremer Blue, Corail Red, Coriandre Green and Indien Yellow.
The car featured a surprisingly spacious interior for its size thanks to the monobox architecture, as well as modularity: all four seats could in fact be folded flat to create an impromptu double bed. There were also happy touches like the turquoise buttons on the dashboard or the hazard warning lights switch shaped like a clown’s nose.
Renault says the Twingo inspired people to buy cars for themselves and not to impress others – that is something not many cars can brag about today. Before we let you browse the photo gallery, here are some landmark dates from the original Twingo’s 14-year career.
By Dan Mihalascu
March 1993: Commercial launch of Twingo, following a preview several months earlier at the Paris Motor Show.
1994: A Frenchman covered 240,000km in a Twingo across the harsh Australian outback, demonstrating the reliability of the car outside the city environment it was designed for. At the end of the journey, the car was painted by an Aboriginal artist.
1994: Launch of Twingo Easy equipped with a manual gearbox but no clutch pedal.
1996: Launch of the limited-edition Twingo ‘Benetton’ and Twingo’Matic versions, fitted with an automatic three-speed gearbox. The engine also got a 5hp boost to 60hp.
1998: First major restyling of Twingo with upgrades to the chassis, seats, dashboard, lights and front bumper. Introduction of the limited-edition ‘Elite’ version.
1999: Launch of the top-of-the-range ‘Initiale Paris’ version.
2000: Launch of the 16V, 75hp powerplant and Quickshift sequential gearbox.
2005: Appearance of the ‘Kiss Cool’ limited-edition.
June 28, 2007: Production of the last Twingo 1 in Europe following some 2,075,300 sales over a career that lasted 14 years – an impressive lifespan by modern car industry standards.
2012: Twingo continued to be manufactured in Colombia until 2012. Between 1995 and 2012, Twingo achieved success in the Colombian market, notching up sales in excess of 100,000. Twingo Tatoo was Twingo 1’s final limited-edition version.