Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Create A Mean 15... A Renault R17 & R15 Package In Pennsylvania

I like the seller's original plans for these cars...

A Renault R15 is rarely seen in the US. While both the 17 and 15 are based on the R12, the 15 could really be considered a 12 coupe. The 15TL had the R12's suspension and 1300cc engine. In the US it was almost a pointless model. People looking for the fuel economy the 1300cc offered usually went for the more practical, less costly, R12 sedan or wagon.

The R15 and R17 are sister cars. The bodies are identical until you get to the roofline. The rear side windows on the 15 extended from the B pillar to the C Pillar. The 17 had small roll down rear side windows and then fixed, louvered windows behind them. The 17 looked much sportier in a 1970s kind of way.

The R17 is the fun sister. It came with a 1600cc engine. It had one of the coolest sunroofs ever (a big electric canvass roof that came with a heavy fiberglass panel you could place over it in the winter). It had Recaro style seats that were better than the seats found in sports cars costing many times the R17's price (and are still better than the seats found in many modern sports coupes). If Renault had anything close to a decent reputation in the US and even the smallest clue as to how to market cars here, it would have been a big seller. It was - my Renault bias aside - as good or better than anything in its class.

The R15 being offered in this package is in decent condition. The body has some rust, but nothing too serious. The seller is including a pair of fiberglass replacement fenders. The interior is said to be very nice. It runs well.

The R17 is rougher, but is was once a racer and has a modified engine. The engine has a ported and polished head, split exhaust manifold, "rare" aluminum intake manifold and twin Weber 45DCOEs.

The seller's idea was to take the running gear from the 17 and drop it in the 15. I love that idea. It would be the meanest R15 in North America. (Admittedly, that would mean nothing to 99.999% of the US population.) If I were to take on this project, I'd take the later rear lights - and hatch / spoiler - from the 17 and put them on the 15, too. (A little cutting and welding would be required to do that, but what the hell; might as well make it a real Frankenrenault!)

This asking price for this package is $2100.00.

Located in Philadelphia, PA, click here to see the eBay classified ad.

A big thanks to Renault aficionado, Clayton, for sending me this link. (Clayton once owned the R15 being offered here. He also sold the R5 / LeCar sport to JaCG reader, Sandee. I've written about that car on the past. You can find the post here.)


rrshadow2 said...

Oh my God! I'm Sooo Drooling!! Why can't those all be here on the West Coast close to me????

Anonymous said...

You west coasters get too much as it is!!!

R1326 said...

R17s are becoming popular on the internet lately! Mine are great and original, but still are under that collector car radar. Usually acknowledged on the road by men and women who had one overseas and loved the cars in the 70s.

Really enjoyable to drive with the roof rolled back on the open road. Hope more are found and restored.

scot said...

I had a 78 R17 Gordini during my college years, (late 90's),Alas, that one went away to the great junkyard in the sky. Still in me and my dad's possesion is a one off 17 that was apparently used as a promotional tool to help reinvigorate sales for Renault. Love to see these pop once in a while on Ebay, and how rare is that getting. Right now, working on a R5/ Alpine project, so I have enough going on!

Anonymous said...

How easy would it be to walk into, say, Advance Auto Parts or NAPA and ask for a few parts for these Renaults?

R1326 said...

All tune up parts, alternators, (some) starters are easliy available. The fuel injection bits are shared with lots of 1970s VWs. Not as bad as you think.

Just A Car Geek said...

Hey Anon - Other than spark plugs and maybe an oil filter, the chances of finding anything for any French Renault - they may have a few odds and ends for US built Alliance / Encore cars - are next to nothing.

I had my '75 R17 in the late seventies and my '79 in the early / mid eighties and even then it was difficult to find parts at the automotive chain stores.


Just A Car Geek said...

R1326 and I must have been writing at the same time! He's right, some Bosch parts can be found.
A good independent foreign auto parts store is your best bet.

TGM said...

They are both very cool and interesting. These have a sort of "mad max" look, but are sophisticated at the same time. I think I prefer the R15 looks and would put the R17 engine in it. I'd be tempted to paint it blue with white strips in Gordini style. Lots of extra parts between the two cars. As with any rare car, the internet is the only way to go for parts. I went to Advanced Auto a few years ago looking for a set of plugs for my Lancia Scorpion and the guy at the counter had never heard of Lancia anything. At least they have heard of the Renault LeCar or Alliance if they grew up in the 1980's.