Hugues Portron is 52 years old. He joined Renault in 1991 as a lawyer and became Executive Secretary of Renault Sport Technologies in 2001. In 2008 he managed to join work and his lifelong passion for classic cars by taking responsibility for Renault Classic, which manages the marque’s historic collection.
The Renault Collection is made up of about 750 vehicles. This collection is a great testimony to the extremely rich history of the brand, as it represents nearly 120 years of vehicles produced by Renault. The oldest is the Type A, the first car designed by Louis Renault in 1898, and the latest is the recently introduced Talisman.
There are standard production cars, from the more modest to the most prestigious, as well as prototypes, studies, and even concept cars. Racing cars represent a significant part of the collection, as sport has been an integral part of Renault’s DNA since its beginnings (first victory of a Renault in the Paris-Trouville race in 1898, first victory of a Renault engine in the Paris-Vienne race in 1902, victory of a Renault Type AK in the first Grand Prix in 1906). The diversity of the collection’s racing cars fully illustrates the extent to which Renault has successfully taken part in all disciplines: rallies, speed records, sport promotion, rally raids, endurance, racing saloons, Formula One, etc. But we shouldn’t forget Renault’s LCVs, the first of which Renault designed back in 1901. We even have an FT17 tank, which made a name for itself in World War One.
My job has three goals. The first one is to preserve, expand and optimise the collection that my predecessors managed to put together over time. This includes making sure that the vehicles in the collection are maintained in good condition, and, as often as possible, in working condition. It also involves completing the collection by adding recent models that will make up tomorrow’s range. Finally, and this is probably most difficult task, it entails optimising the collection by adding models that could be missing, or by restoring one model or another, or even to part with a model if it presents little interest. To achieve this first goal, I can rely on a team of eight technicians who know how to do almost anything!
The second goal is to organise events focusing on this collection. We do not have an exhibition hall open to the public but prefer a dynamic approach to presenting the collection: thanks to three communication officers in our team, we regularly bring the collection to the public’s attention, displaying its vehicles in a dynamic way whenever possible. Cars are meant to be driven, and that’s what we love! This is why we always really enjoy participating in the Goodwood Festival of Speed and its famous hill climb. We are looking forward to the 2016 edition at the end of June.
Last but not least, the third goal is to support enthusiasts in their activities. This is carried out on a national scale: in each country, Renault maintains privileged relationships with clubs and enthusiasts. This is naturally the case for Renault UK, which supports enthusiasts passionately and successfully. Renault Classic took charge of relationships with the French clubs, seventy of which have been grouped together into a federation (FCRA). This organisation makes it easier for enthusiasts to communicate, both with each other and with Renault. Thanks to this federation, experiences can be shared and group activities can operate on a larger scale.
In other words, there is never a dull moment!