Monday, March 21, 2011

1963 Renault Dauphine...

What could have been...

Back in the late 1950s the Dauphine was second best selling imported car in the US. It's target, the Volkswagen Beetle, was number 1. In 11 states it was outselling the Beetle. It looked like it had a real chance of overtaking VW nationwide.

In theory the Dauphine was a better car than the Beetle. It had 4 doors. The rear mounted engine was water cooled, which meant it had effective heat. It had a comfortable and roomy (by small car standards) interior. It rode better than any small car and as well as many large cars. It was quieter than the VW... It was a better car. In theory...

The reality was very different. Renault never sufficiently developed and tested the car for the US market (if they even developed and tested it at all). It was a reliability nightmare. To make matters worse, Renault's US dealerships often lacked the parts and the expertise to repair even the simplest problems, let alone the big ones. Sales plummeted. It was so bad that a few years later when Renault introduced the R10 to the US, their ad campaign was "The Renault for people who swore they would never buy another one."

There are very few 1963 vintage Dauphines in the US. This one is in very nice condition It has new tires, a rebuilt engine, new wiring and a modern charging system. The steering wheel isn't original and looks a bit out of place. If it were mine, I'd hunt around for one of the original funky white Dauphine steering wheels.

This would be a great car to take to shows and for (slow) weekend drives.

Located in Deltona, FL, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1 comment:

Max Power said...

I think that the steering wheel is early 80's GM found in the Corvette and the first generation S10 trucks. Very odd choice to say the least