Motoring history’s tendency to repeat itself has brought us another corker: Renault’s decision to resurrect the Safrane name tag.
Before nostalgic minicabbers get too excited, I should add that at least one lesson has been learned, and that Renault has no plans to actually bring the thing to the UK. Or, indeed, to Europe.
The new Safrane is intended to compete in the (mostly sandy) parts of the world where the natives still remember vintage big French saloons fondly. The hope is that the Safrane will be seen as a worthy successor to rugged barges like the Peugeot 504 and Renault 30.
Granted, the new car is nothing more than a rebadged Samsung SM5, which in turn is a slightly reworked Nissan Teana, but good luck to it.
But the new Safrane’s convoluted bloodline has sparked memories of another bizarre cross-branded saloon with Renault ancestry: the Ford Corcel.
Unfortunately for the French company, before this gleaming new example of Franco-Brazilian-American co-operation could be brought to the market, Willys pulled out and Ford of Brazil bought out the whole operation.
And so, with a freshly developed new car as part of the its new Brazilian portfolio, Ford applied the ‘Corcel’ name and launched the new car in 1968. Embarassingly for Renault, that was a year before the car went on sale in Europe, meaning the company was effectively scooped on one of its own products.
At least with the new Safrane Renault has the good sense to be the recipient rather than the donor.