Young and oldtimers serve as everyday classics and as occasional vehicles for special occasions. As part of the Creme21 Rally, ntv.de had ample opportunity to drive the Renault 21 and the VW Golf R32. While the Frenchman has long had the status of an oldie, the man from Wolfsburg is only on the way there.
If you follow the news situation in these times, you can get scared and anxious. One crisis follows the next - inflation, climate crisis and war, what's next? Bad news for superfluous pleasure consumption, and classic cars with the sole purpose of being fun probably also fall into this category.
But is it really like that? Historic cars or those that are on the way to becoming respectable classics can also serve the purpose of everyday mobility. And they are sustainable, because they have already been built and no longer consume any energy for production. In addition, their maintenance does not eat a lot of bread - 191 euros in tax annually (H license plate) and affordable insurance premiums can also be served with smaller wallets.
Of course, they can also be used for a Creme21 rally, during which more than 200 merrily mixed classics indulge in five days of driving pleasure and unwind around 1000 kilometers, mainly on federal and country roads. The founders of the Rally used the name "Creme 21" to refer to the former Henkel cosmetics brand, under which cosmetics were sold from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. The bright orange of the brand logo used true to the original exudes a lot of seventies flair.
For an extensive test of how you can cope with a vehicle from days long past on longer journeys, ntv.de mixed with the participants of the annual trip since 2001 and played the game or the little games that are coming up dozens of times over the course of the day and be rated accordingly. For example, on the way you can be asked to look into a suitcase with 21 metal model letterings made of tin that have been detached from old cars. You can memorize the content for exactly 21 seconds, only to spit out the sum of the number components at some point later. It's always nice to be able to win something.
Why did you choose a Renault 21? Well, with its model name, it fits perfectly with this tour, which has just taken place for the 21st time. It was also available and represents a fresh alternative in the field among tens of Mercedes S-Classes or Porsche 911. The mid-range series came onto the market as early as 1986. The later example of phase II (as Renault calls the division of the series) shown here is 32 years old and, thanks to the three-way catalytic converter, has such clean exhaust gases that it is awarded a green sticker for driving into any city center in this country is easily possible. Vehicles with historic license plates are always allowed into the city center anyway, but the owner has simply not taken care of the plate with the "H" up until now.
A 1.7 liter four-cylinder petrol engine with 90 hp works under the hood of the clearly drawn Frenchman - sounds like very little power from today's point of view. However, the well cultivated running injector also has to drag just over 1000 kilograms. And so the angular middle class becomes a very lively affair with a smooth-running five-speed gearbox and power steering. This is available with the luxurious GTS equipment as well as an on-board computer, central locking and even an electric glass sunroof.
The fact that the owner of this R-21 example is a Creme21 fan through and through is proven by the partial foiling in the Creme21 "company colour", which he had specially applied for the trip. After all, he bought the Renault specifically for the event, he says. You don't need a lot of money to get your hands on an exciting oldie - excellently preserved 21s, for example, can easily be bought for around 5000 euros. This extinct Renault is not a particularly coveted object among the broad mass of old car lovers, but those who are interested benefit from it. On the other hand, the unloved car is an individualist - if that's not a win-win situation.
Incidentally, the engines of the twenty-one run without any problems, but you should stay away from versions with automatic transmission. There is a risk of corrosion on the front side members. You should also take a look at the sills in the area of the rear doors and the areas around the jacking points. The combination variant could be of particular interest to utility-oriented users.
After the short trip in the old Renault, it's back behind the wheel of the Golf R32 provided by Volkswagen, in which ntv.de mainly spends the country road trip from the Nürburgring to Speyer. Really, in the sharpest fourth-generation Golf? How time flies - in 2002 the fast-paced edition of the down-to-earth evergreen and bestseller from Wolfsburg made its debut.
Distinguishing features: Two exhaust tailpipes neatly integrated into the sporty modified rear bumper (the front apron is also presented in a racer style) show that the 3.2 liter six-cylinder engine is working under the bonnet, which also drives the contemporary Phaeton luxury sedan.
Such rough amounts of cubic capacity in a compact class would be unthinkable today. But instead of four-cylinder blare in 2022, there are elegant, sonorous sounds. Depending on the speed, the transversely installed six-end sometimes develops rumbling frequencies, but mostly it is a blessing. And the stages to be completed here, some of which have steep inclines, are snuffed out by the power golf casually with a low number of revs. The machine promptly handles the request for the smallest possible translation via kickdown, which incidentally causes sustained pressure in the lower back.
Although the R32 started out as an athlete at the time, it certainly exudes a touch of comfort, which the dual-clutch transmission also fits in with. Although the earliest version of this automatic variant does not switch gears quite as smoothly as modern versions, the all-wheel drive vehicle is an unexpectedly rewarding long-distance candidate. The people of Lower Saxony must have been incredibly proud of the gearbox, which was then developed by the technical genius Ferdinand Piëch, and it is not for nothing that they even dedicate a place to it in the model lettering.
Otherwise, the almost 20-year-old "Youngtimer" is a fairly modern car, whose navigation system with - admittedly quite pixelated - color map still navigates towards the destination today. Albeit with significantly slower computing power.
Anyone who now feels like exotic golf will first have to search a long time (untinkered specimens are rare). Secondly, good offers tend to cost 20,000 euros or more. Car fans with a penchant for particularly rare vehicles should keep an eye out for the four-door Golf IV R32 version - only 500 units are rumored to have been produced. Lucky who can get hold of one.