Renault 16 Club Tilburg.

Renault 16 in pieces.


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Development and changes.




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Mail Geert




Steering column gear changes are very much out of favour these days, particularly on a 100 m.p.h. car but with the engine between the gearbox and the driver, the choice is rather according to Hobson. On first acquaintance, the lever feels a little vague with a lot of resistance to its movement but on the move it is quick and positive in action and as good or better than some direct floor shifts that we know. One or two drivers found the strong spring loading in the plane caused them to go from 1 to 4 first time out but to apply, slight restraint soon becomes habit while the 2/3 change is self-seeking with just light upward pressure on the lever. Clutch action is light and smooth and it takes almost a conscious effort for the most novice driver to muff a change. A minor improvement is elimination of the reverse baulk catch so the lever now has to be pushed only back against a spring and down instead of pulled axially first. This is much simpler and since reverse is beside top the change of catching it in error is remote.

The ratios are well suited to the car and do not subscribe to the common Continental practice of three close Alpine intermediates and a very high top. The gearing is unchanged but the slighter larger rolling radius of the bigger tyres (155-14 against 145-14) raises top gear m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. from 17.2 to 17.8 and the greater revability of the engine has the effect of closing up the ratios. Maximum speed corresponds to 5.750 r.p.m., a speed which can be held for quite long periods without undue or fuss or risk of damage, while full use of the range will see 80 m.p.h. in third ensuring, safe, rapid overtaking, even under fast main road conditions.

All ratios are indirect and like the final drive almost completely silent except at very low speeds when it is possible to provoke some snatch in the transmission. Synchromesh on all four gears is powerful and unobstructive. The car would just start on the 1 in 4 test hill, which sometimes defeats front wheel drive cars through wheel spin, but the 1 in 3 proved too much for the clutch.


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