Cohort Sighting: Renault Estafette – Sold In The US As The “Hi Boy” Making It The Ultimate Hippie Van

Renault Estafette

The real joy of this job is that I’m endlessly learning something new. Like about this Renault Estafette van, shot by Roger Carr and posted at the Cohort. Roger lives in the UK, although this was obviously shot in France. Until I did a bit of nosing around, I had no idea these were sold in the US too, as the Renault Hi Boy. With a name like that, there must have been some hippies somewhere that found one and turned it into a name-worthy rolling party-mobile. Just needs a Further-worthy paint job.

Renault Hi-Boy br

Here’s the proof. Apart from that, the Estafette has an interesting story in its own right. The full-on version is here, but the short story is that in a repeat of so much of what Renault did in the fifties and early sixties, it essentially copied Citroen, which had developed the advanced FWD H-Van, with its very low and continuous load floor, unlike the rear-engined VW Transporter.

Renault used the 845 cc engine from the Dauphine, and created a new transmission to adapt it to front wheel drive. Later versions used the larger 1108 cc engine from the R8. The Estafette enjoyed success, and a long life, being produced in France from 1959 through 1980, when it was replaced by the Traffic. In Mexico, it was built through 1986.

Renault Hi-Boy

Thanks to Google, here’s an ad from Kentucky Motors. Wonder how many they actually sold in Kentucky? Oh wait; I just remembered that Kentucky was a pioneer in pot growing on a large scale even back in the sixties, so hence the connection?

Renault Estafette r