This Renault is Perfect for Francophiles or Masochists
The car: 1975 Renault R12
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Original Ad: Click here
It’s been said that in heaven the police are British, the Germans build the cars, and the chefs are French; in hell, the British are the chefs, the Germans are the police, and the French build the cars. Certainly, the French are the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the automotive world; they get no respect, while the Italians produce cars just as idiosyncratic yet somehow receive a free pass. On the other hand, the Italians also can claim Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, etc as their own.
America has never loved French cars, although Renaults were good sellers in their heyday when many European brands were trying to break into the American market after Volkswagen’s success. The Dauphine, a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive sedan, was their big seller (more than 100,000 were sold in America in the late 1950s, believe it or not) but its popularity soon withered away as America’s fascination with funky modes of transportation began to die. In the mid-1960s it was replaced by the Renault 10, a modern version of the Dauphine with boxy, more contemporary styling. It was succeeded in late-1969 by (yet was sold concurrently with) the Renault 12, a front-engine, front-wheel drive sedan and wagon. It was unique in that its 1289cc 4-cylinder was mounted longitudinally, ahead of the front wheels, although American imports received a 1647cc motor. The R12’s underpinnings were shared with the R15 and R17 coupes, which also were available in America. The R12 may not have been successful in the U.S, but its production in France, Turkey, Australia, Argentina, and Romania (as the Dacia) through 2000 ensured its place in history. In the developed world, the R12 was replaced in 1981 by the R18, which had a decent run in America as the 18i, including the Fuego coupe.
By the look of the headlights of this 1975 R12 on eBay, it isn’t one of the original American-spec cars. The seller claims he bought it a few years ago while in France, as it reminded him of the ones he used to see in his native Colombia. Approximately 5 years ago the previous owner repainted it in the signature R12 Gordini (Renault’s sports division) scheme with white stripes and wheels, although it isn’t a true Gordini. It runs and brakes well, everything opens and closes without issues, and the upholstery is in good condition, with little issues here and there like a little tear in the upholstery. For $7,500 though, it is an affordable way to be different, or maybe an expensive proposition for a masochist to test his/her threshold for abuse.
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Petrolicious makes no claim as to the accuracy of the information contained in the car’s original listing, nor will it be held responsible for any errors in said information. If you’re interested in this car, do your homework and research it extensively before you buy.