The year was 1994, and the Paris auto show was going down. Most people were expecting a slew of econo-box mini -vans and new concepts for the savvy consumer of the 90’s. What they were not ready for however was the arrival of one crazy masterpiece conceived by Renault and built by MPV Espace designer, Matra. To celebrate their 10th year anniversary Renault and Matra took their flagship minivan and bred into existence the Espace F1. The Espace, like every other MPV at the time in the world, was ugly as shit. I think the most attractive mini-van of that era was most likely the Toyota previa, and you know for damn sure American minivans in this era were ugly as sin. So, for this corporate duo to whip out this Grocery getting monster, you can say the world, at that time was a bit surprised and probably thought everyone at Renault and Matra were high as hell.
Powered by an 800 horsepower, V-10, 3.5-liter Formula 1 motor, this ultimate grocery getter could get to 125 mph in just shy of 7 seconds. Yup, that is right, sub 7 seconds, 6.9 to be exact with a top speed of 186 miles per hour. For the stats hungry out there, it also dropped a 0-60 bomb from a standstill of just 2.8 seconds. And for those that want a cherry on top, this bad boy also came with a 6-speed sequential automatic transmission, dayum!
Apparently Renault had taken great lengths to keep this car as agile as possible by essentially taking the “Espace” Body (a carbon fiber version) and dropping it on a double wishbone rear and front suspension (a 1993 winning Formula 1 Grand Prix frame). This was one of the key factors that would help propel this minivan to break physics on the track, well, that, massive slicks and quite possible some of the most gnarly aero-dynamics ever. Check out the wing! It was said to have been able to pull between 1.5 and 2g on the track, amazing.
I think one of the best pieces of its design is how the interior was filled with 4 seats. Two buckets for mom and dad, and two for the kids, a perfect car for the perfect nuclear family.
The word amazing doesn’t even come close to describing the awesomeness that is the Renault Espace F1. It is truly a piece of art.
Check out this monster in action!
If I only had the money…