The Renault Wind – a two seat Roadster with a short sales life but a big character.

The Renault Wind appears to have been established as a concept sketch around 2001, and authorised for development by Renault as a concept presentation to arrive in 2004.  This first public view of the concept was of a 2+1 Roadster. The initial concept model demonstrates a small vehicle albeit larger than the final production car, with limited boot space, no obvious roof, and swooping curves.

The concept has design queues seen in classic Italian speedboats such as the Riva and inspires thoughts of cruising round the lakes of the Italy, the turquoise blue waters offset by sweeping snowy hillsides.  Equally, it shows purpose and poise, equally at home on the Atlantic French coast.

The front of the car showed visual similarities with other Renault family models of the time, such as the 2005 Megane and Vel Satis.  The rear of the vehicle exhibits high mounted slitted light clusters which are only now being seen in vehicles nearly a decade later.

The windscreen was highly curved but quite upright. There was limited provision for a roll-over hoop, appearing to be installed in the back of the front seat.

The cabin concept shows traditionally styled bucket seating reminiscent of airplanes and speedsters of the 1930s and 40s,  furnished in high end brown leather.  The use of cow hides extends to the dashboard, door cards and steering wheel and brings about an air of luxury. Plush red carpeting offset both the leather and aluminium in the footwells, further providing a statement of elegance.

After the reveal of the concept vehicle in 2004,  as is normal in the concept evolution, little more was heard from Renault on the development of the Wind over the coming years.  It is clear however that the authorisation to proceed with ongoing design was made with around five years development between concept and production.

Pictures in the intervening period show a number of concept revisions, including showing a body shape close to that of the final production vehicle, but with styling cues related to the concept vehicle, particularly in regard to the front headlight styling.

Clay modelling photos show how the Wind evolved into the production vehicle we know today and the final vehicle was revealed at the Geneva Motor-show, 6 years after the initial concept, in 2010.

Engineered by the Renault Sport division of the Renault Group, and built at the Novo Mesto factory in Solvenia, its launch showed a much taller haunch, and that single back seat removed to make the car a true two seater. Its fast folding roof provided the much needed weather protection that the concept car lacked.

The Wind was eventually bought to showrooms featuring a 1.2l turbo or 1.6l standard induction petrol engines and three trim levels – the Dynamique, Dynamique S  and Gordini.

The Wind launched with an array of equipment as part of the standard trim

  • ABS and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Driver and passenger front airbags
  • Side thorax airbags
  • Body-coloured rear spoiler
  • Chrome tail pipe
  • Glossy black door mirror housings
  • Electric remote central locking
  • Variable power steering
  • 16″ Emotion alloy wheels
  • Inflation kit
  • One-touch driver and passenger power windows (opening)
  • De-icing rear window
  • Trip computer
  • Aluminium sports pedal assembly
  • Foglamps
  • Door sill protectors
  • Cruise control / speed limiter
  • Power, de-icing door mirrors
  • Combined plastic-coated textile/fabric upholstery
  • Height-adjustable sports seats with built-in head restraints
  • Electric pivoting roof
  • Doors lock when moving
  • Black translucent instrument cowl
  • Height-adjustable steering wheel
  • Leather steering wheel and gear knob
The Dynamique model started with

  • Manual climate control
  • 40W CD MP3 radiosat, with remote display, steering wheel controls and RCA connector
The EXCEPTION model adds to the Dynamique with

  • ESP
  • 17” “Sphinx” black diamond alloy wheels
  • Climate pack with automatic climate control, automatic headlamps and rain sensor
  • CD MP3 radiosat, Bluetooth® and Plug&Music (USB, jack connectors)
The top GORDINI model adds to the Exception with

  • Glossy black roof
  • Heated leather seats with Gordini name
  • Glacier White door mirror housings*
  • Glacier White grille trim*
  • Glacier White rear power hump*
  • White Gordini stripes: bonnet, tailgate*
  • Gordini badge on side
  • Blue leather door strips with white stripe
  • Protective mats with blue trim
  • Gordini door sill protectors
  • Gordini numbered plate
  • Leather steering wheel, blue at the top with white stripes
  • Gear lever with metal knob carrying
  • Gordini name + Malta Blue plastic-coated textile gaiter
  • Glossy black trim (radio, central air vent surround)

* With the body colour ‘Glacier White’, the trim is in cold metal grey

Through its short sales cycle,  the Wind sold less than 2,300 models in the UK and due to severe financial pressures at Renault, the Wind as well as the Espace, Kangoo, Modus, and Laguna were retired from showrooms in the UK in 2012 and in the rest of Continental Europe in 2013.