Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Renault R8 - Just What Have We Got Here?

This is a slick looking R8.

This is a REALLY frustratingly vague eBay ad. The seller leaves very little information. He lists this as a 1975 R8. Renault stopped production of the R8 in France in 1971. FASA-Renault, a company that built Renaults in Spain, built the R8 until 1976. Is this a rare Spanish R8?

This car has a Gordini nose and the late 1300cc engine. The front bumper is not like anything I've ever seen on an R8.

The orange paint and aftermarket wheels look great on this car. The body and interior look to be in very good condition.

No matter what it is, this is a very, very, cool looking R8. I just wish we knew more about it.

Located in Apple Valley, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.

A little trivia for you Renault-heads (of which I am one)... Have you ever seen an R7?

The R7 was essentially an R5 (Le Car) with a trunk. It was only built in Spain by FASA-Renault. They built it from 1974 through 1984. Around 140,000 were built and most were sold in Spain. I have never seen one in person. How cool would it be to import one of these?

You can find some more pictures of the R7 here.


R.I.P. said...

I think the orange color is original but those bumpers are not stock, probably after a market accessory.
Check these links:

Chris Keen said...

Wow, being a fan of oddball cars, there's not a lot I haven't at least seen on the internet, but that Renault 7 is a first. The 5 makes a pretty cool 70s mini-sedan.

Anonymous said...

About those Renault 7's from Spain: check out the chrome rear bumper of the beige-coloured R7 about the middle of the spread going down. Reminds me a little of the front bumper on the R8 you've profiled. Wonder if Spain was indeed the reasoning behind the means.

What strikes me about the original R5 and R7 is that they were never sold here in Oz. Looking at the ride height and taking into account the wonderfully supple, well-damped suspension these cars had at the time it's a wonder no-one at corporate HQ at Regie des Usines Renault ever twigged that these could be sold here - at a time when models such as the R12 and R16 were quite popular. Renault was quite a big seller here in those days, but after the inflationary/stagflation period of the seventies, along with the then Aussie government's crawling to Japan after the UK joined the EEC dumping their far-flung colony in the process, they pretty well slipped away altogether, along with Fiat, Peugeot, Triumph, Austin-Morris and even VW. The latter have managed a pretty impressive comeback since the nineties, but it's been a hard slog as against Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and increasingly Hyundai, to say nothing of Toyota.

For your information the Renault R8 was the first car ever to win Wheels Magazine of Australia's "Car of the Year" award back in 1961. It was a well-deserved win at a time when Aussie metal was sloppy-handling, had non-supportive seats, cheap and dangerous cross-ply tyres together with tinny drum brakes and no syncromesh on first, three speeds the absolute max - and dealer service basically didn't exist. The comfort, performance and handling of the R12 and 16's were quite frankly more than a cut above the crap Aussies were used to at the time, even if long-term reliability might be somewhat suspect. Still, many country buyers bought French cars (including Renault) in droves because they (the cars that is!) didn't mind rough driving conditions and could cruise at speed over all manner of broken, unsealed and corrugated dirt roads day in, day out. This was a big selling point to rural Aussies ever since the fifties - and oddly the English cars were some of the worst in terms of both reliability and ineffectiveness at coping with heat, dust, water ingress, mud and slop, and particularly rough roads. Many of them were also ghastly to drive at the best of times, and simply couldn't cope with tough Aussie driving conditions.

Nowadays the French just make well-cooked, chic, designer-looking crap that is largely unreliable with appalling electronics to power all these must-have doover-lackies that nobody really needs and doesn't work when you want it to, have lost their suspension finesse altogether (some bright spark in the accounts department probably figured they could save a whole lot of moolah on development costs), and yet have the hide to wonder why the public has forsaken them for Honda, et al. At least your Accord won't break down at the side of the road - repeatedly, despite normal servicing being carried out in accordance with the specifications. That's how bad most modern French cars have become. Just read some owner reviews here and overseas.

Still, did see a nice Citroen C6 the other evening in the city lights at sunset. Quite dramatic in an odd sort of a way. Their resale value is simply atrocious, which makes them interesting fodder those "must-have" types (like me?) who crave something a bit different, less boring and mundane than the usual German luxo-barge. Pity they don't offer a manual gearbox any more. Wish I could trust them to put it together properly as well.

Well, that's my rant for the day. I'll get off my soap box now.