Most of us are familiar with the R17 Gordini, which Renault started producing in 1975. I've owned a couple and have written about them a couple of times. (You can find the posts here and here.) It was, in my mind, the finest car Renault ever sold in the US.
This is an R17. No Gordini name attached to it. It has a smaller engine (1565 cc) than the Gordini (1647 cc). It also didn't come with the truly spectacular electric cloth sunroof. But, it did come with power windows, which were never available on the Gordini.
This car has a lot going for it, besides its rarity. First of all, it has the pre-1973 bumpers. They're pretty much worthless when it comes to protecting the car, but, when compared to the later big bumper cars, they look awesome. Secondly, it appears to be virtually rust free. Like most cars from the 1970s, rust was a huge problem for the R17.
This car is complete and intact, but needs restoration. The seller got it to fire up with some ether, meaning the engine is not seized, but it's not known how well it runs in general.
The big downside to this car is the aftermarket sunroof. They were all the rage in the 1970s and early 1980s, but they look awful and tend to leak. If you're really, really good with a MIG welder and filler, you could probably replace it with metal, but at this point it's probably best just to make it as waterproof as possible and learn to live with it.
This is a really cool and rare car, especially in North American trim. I hope the buyer brings it back to its former glory.
Sadly, by the time this article posts the auction will be over. Still, I thought this car was cool enough and rare enough to post anyway.
Located in Emeryville, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.
I was cleaning out an old desk last week and found this picture. It is of my 1975 R17 Gordini. It's really not a great car picture. I took it because of the temperature sign in the background. It's Christmas (I don't remember the year, maybe 1981) and it's 73 degrees. That doesn't happen often in the Northeast. The guy sticking out of the sunroof is my brother. To the best of my knowledge there are no old pictures of him on the web. There is now. Too bad it's not an embarrassing picture!
Also, I have a pair of perfect 1971 R17 front door panels. (They have no window winder hole). If someone is restoring an early R17 and needs them, make me a reasonable offer, figure out a way to get them, and they're yours.