The Renault Racoon was an aquatic-capable concept car unveiled in 1992. It received a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, a manual transmission, and an all-wheel-drive system. To get into the Racoon, the driver had to open the car's front, as it had no traditional doors.
The Racoon could be raised upwards for increased ground clearance, achieved with a levered effect. The car also featured radical features such as rain diffusing glass, remote-controlled entry, computer control, satellite navigation, and cameras instead of rearview mirrors. While many of these technologies have become normal on vehicles today, most of this technology was still in its infancy at the time of the Raccoon's unveiling.
Racoon made its first public appearance in 1992 in a film intended to demonstrate Renault's technological expertise in the field of computer-generated imagery. The concept car itself is an all-terrain, go-anywhere vehicle, which bristles with ideas and technologies.
This concept car is also amphibious with a top speed of 5 knots in water. Its philosophy is one of taking its occupants right to the very heart of their environment. The extra-high and extendable ground clearance, oversized green wheels, long arms, and bulging head give the vehicle a decidedly unusual appearance.
With forms that are round and flowing, Racoon has three distinct sides to its character. First, a hybrid, helicopter-like look with a high glass cockpit underlines its observation and discovery functions. Second, Racoon seats its occupants almost horizontally like a sports car. And third, it flexes its mechanical muscles unashamedly like a powerful construction vehicle.
Cabin accessed by remote-controlled pivoting glass canopies
Three seats laid out in triangular configuration with seat-mounted safety harnesses
Rear and lateral camera for rearview vision (with infrared assistance for night use)
Keyboardless PC, hands-free telephone, and satellite communication system
Chemically treated glass, featuring ultrasound system which disintegrates water molecules on contact
Racoon splits into two, easily separating into its high-tensile steel chassis on the one hand and its all-steel bodywork on the other
3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine coupled with 6-speed gearbox and three torque-transfer differentials offer peerless traction on muddy terrain and an off-road top speed of over 155kph
Two hydro jets driven by the engine provide propulsion in water
Computer-generated image film won first prize at Imagina festival in 1992
Images: Renault; Thierry des Ouches; shorey.net