May be I can answer for France.
In France the Renault 16 may be the last car bought either by
businessmen and workers. Every social classes had a 16 once. The rich
had the TS and then the TX. The family and the worker had the L and
the TL. I'm working on local development and when I met businessmen,
they usually speak about my car. 50% of them had a 16. The other 50%
don't bother about cars or had a Peugeot. It's always this way when
the person I'm speaking to has 50 years old or more (I'm 37). If he
is part of my generation, he speaks about the car of his father ! The
long journey to the south in summer. The status of his family when
the 16 has been part of it and the regrets always coming along when
the father remembers those years ? "It was a very good car. But he
had to sell it because it was rotten..." Always needing to justify
themselves. My answer is always the same: "it was not a good car, it
Two of my uncles had one 16 in the early seventies. One was a
worker always on the road. His brother wanted to get a beautiful car
and was a worker too, but only use his car in our beautiful small
village. Both were not used car but new ones.
In France, the Renault 16 has a very positive image. It is
the image of a past when you can drive softly a nervous car, and
reach a good speed in new motorways. It's the first car with five
doors. The back's one (hatchback) was the revolution in 1965 (year of
my birth, gosh!) in such a big car. And it was a tall one: you don't
have to be a contortionist to sit in it. There is no door on it "cut
by the wheels" like cars of those days.
Well, hatchback, taller than the previous one, a roomy car,
between the station wagon and a classical car. The Renault 16 is not
the more innovative car (like the Citroën ID or DS was in the
fifties), it's just the first modern car, adapted to people's modern
way of life (mobility, tourism development implicate big luggage),
convenient in the new road network. For Renault trademark, this is
the first step before the legendary add "Renault, les voitures à
vivre" ("Renault, cars to live in"). The Renault 20, 30, 25 and
Safrane are only modern 16. The Espace and... Vel Satis are the
results of the 16 scheme applied on 80 and 90's cars (between
classical cars and station wagon).
It's a good example in France of a go-between. It has the
typic seventies' design (angles, agressive look, etc. ) the
architecture of the seventies, and the materials coming from the
early sixties (chrome lines and chrome bumpers for the figure,
"bakelite" - don't have the translation, sorry- , etc.) . Before the
16, a car is fat and smooth. After the 16, it's the reign of the
plastic... bye bye chrome.
Tomorrow morning, like every morning, when I'll drive my
children to school, I'll prepare them to have weird childhood
recollections in the future: "our dad was crazy. He was driving a 26
years old Renault 16, was often talking about the car and was making
theories on it for crazy people on the web. What futile habits had
these people in those days !"
Sorry for being so long. Passion talking.