Market Finds: This Renault is Perfect for Francophiles or Masochists

This Renault is Perfect for Francophiles or Masochists

By Petrolicious Productions
March 12, 2014

The car: 1975 Renault R12

Price: $7,500

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.

If you know of a great, stylish car for sale and would like us to feature it, let us know!

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.  

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Rafael Lemos Sesta
Rafael Lemos Sesta(@rafael-sesta)
5 years ago

This car was produced between 1968 and 1992 in Brazil by Ford as a Corcel , but with other body desing (1968-1977 know as Corcel I and after 1978 the Corcel II).

The pick up version (called pampa) was produced until 1996.

This cars are know for been very relaiable except for the tendence for rust.

M.Ali Canerik
M.Ali Canerik
7 years ago

R12 was produced till 2000 in Turkey and widely accepted. Early 90s name badge was chenged to Renault Toros. We loved it too much 🙂

Rafael Lemos Sesta
Rafael Lemos Sesta(@rafael-sesta)
5 years ago
Reply to  M.Ali Canerik

These cars prove that the French can be (very) relaiable.

7 years ago

and the Citroen 2CV, a milestone in automotive history!

Ben Lamboeuf
Ben Lamboeuf(@ducbeak)
7 years ago
Reply to  Thomas

Although years apart, Citroen’s 2CV was a bit like Henry Ford’s model T. They sold millions of these poky little things!

7 years ago

don’t forget the Renault 4CV or 4-4, after the gordini. I see some of them in e-bay.
And, maybe French are not the favorite cars desginer but the citroen DS is a great exception!

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa(@genovevo)
7 years ago

Ugly as hell! Only the R15/17 had a bit of charisma. I Would never pay 7.5k for this!

This one below, found in popular portuguese used cars website, costs 1.049 euros (1.460 USD), an is in perfect condition, with only 11.100 miles in the odometer!

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
7 years ago

Talk about being different this car sure is something of a oddball. I guess if you can put up with a noisy engine and heavy steering this car could be prefect for you. Nobody ever said being different would be easy. 😉 but if you wanted something French and a bit quirky i wouldnt look much further then this