In a move that will excite Renault-philes (and confuse most Americans), Renault announced today that it would revive the long-dormant Gordini brand by the end of the year.
The Gordini name, last used on the 1975 17TS Gordini, stems from Amédée Gordini, a race driver and mechanic who specialized in tuning Renaults. In the 1960s, he partnered with the French automaker to launch a series of sport-tuned models, including the R8 Gordini shown above. This car was a dominant force in rallying (it took first, third, fourth, and fifth places in the 1964 Tour of Corsica), and spawned a one-make race series in 1966.
While later Gordini models (particularly the R5 Gordini) emphasized aesthetics, not performance, Renault promises the new Gordini range “will inject additional joie de vivre.” Details on the lineup are still sketchy, but a Twingo Gordini will be unveiled by the end of the year. Judging by the preview sketch released by Renault, it will wear Gordini’s traditional blue-and-white color scheme.
What’s confusing is how the Gordini models will fit into Renault’s portfolio. The automaker already has a range of cars tuned by its Renaultsport wing, which is descended from former Renault tuner (and Gordini rival) Alpine. It’s currently unknown if Gordini models will be more potent than Renaultsport offerings, of it they’ll serve as a stepping-stone between stock and Renaultsport cars.