Monday, October 28, 2013

Another JaCG Update... Sandee's 1983 Renault Le Car Sport

Remember Sandee and her Renault Le Car (R5)?

Back in December, 2010, I stumbled upon a Renault Le Car Sport. I'm a big fan of the Le Car (R5). A woman I was dating bought one brand new. We took it on quite a few long distance trips. It was fun to drive. She had it for 2 years. It never let her down. It was done in by a big Ford sedan that crossed over into her lane and hit her head on. She walked away without a scratch, but the Le Car was totaled (as was the Ford that hit her). Renault was no longer selling the R5 in the US and my girlfriend, being a fan of new cars and the warranties that go with them, moved on to something else. I forget what it was.

I too, once owned a LeCar, but I never really got to drive it. It was a Black Beauty edition. It needed a little work and my plan was to fix it and use it as my "winter beater." (My "summer car" at the time was a 1979 Renault R17 Gordini. One of many Renaults I have owned.) When a local Renault fan came by with a sob story about his mom needing a car and a check for triple what I paid for it, I sold it. (This was the mid-1980s. Tripling the amount I paid for a Le Car meant that I got $300.00 for it.)

(The Le Car Sport from the original post. It was in good, but not great shape.)

But I digress. Back to the Le Car Sport and Sandee...

I was not familiar with the Le Car Sport. It looked like a Black Beauty and had all the BB features, but it also had a neat little roof mounted spoiler, something I had never seen before.

Roughly 2 weeks after I posted the car, this showed up in the comments section: "LOL! I just bought this car last week! It still needs some TLC, but pretty great! :)". It was from Sandee.

It turns out that Sandee is a car geek of the highest degree. Her collection of cars (past and present) is very impressive. She had owned a Le Car Sport in the 1980s and knew all about them. We started a bit of an email friendship, and she kept me updated on the Le Car's progress.

In May, 2011, I wrote a little update about Sandee's Le Car. (She had found yet another Le Car Sport and was creating one incredible car out of two good cars.) Sandee had written in an email "When you’re into cars like this, it helps to have a supportive husband and an equally as crazy friend who also happens to be a body shop guy!" Sandee had both, and the car was progressing nicely.

(Sandee's Le Car Sport undergoing restoration.)

During my time away from this blog, Sandee reached out to me a few times via Just a Car Geek's Facebook page. She kept me updated on the Le Car and a few of her other purchases. When I started updating this blog again I wanted to write another update about Sandee's Le Car. I sent her an email saying "Hey, let's do an update on your Le Car. Send me some info." In typical Sandee fashion, I immediately got an update and pictures.

"It's my pride and joy!", Sandee wrote. "Getting the Le Car on the road was one thing, but the attention I attract at local car shows is simply amazing! I can be parked next to a $200,000+ fancy pants Ferrari, and folks run over to my car with a big smile … usually with a story or two about someone they knew in college with a Le Car! I’m truly proud to see it on display alongside the super exotics… and it’s a joy to drive, smiles and thumbs up everywhere I go!”.

The picture above is a panorama from “Cars & Croissants” – which Sandee calls "a gathering of total car geeks from the NY / NJ area." (Sandee says the French Renault / croissants connection is just a coincidence. She said she'll tell me all about the gathering at another time. I will pass the info along.) The Le Car looks right at home behind the new Lotus, old 308 and 911.

Inside and out, you can tell the 29,432 miles on this Le Car Sport are real. eBay has been a great source for OEM parts. Sandee even found set of NOS floormats.

Something that couldn’t be found, anywhere, was a car cover… So Sandee had one custom made – complete with Le Car printed on the side.

Sandee says she never gets tired of bringing her Le Car to car shows and the reaction it gets. The photo at the top of this post was taken this past weekend at a local car show. The plastic Jack-O-Lantern attached to the mirror was full of candy for the kids (and adults, I suppose) who checked out her car. It didn't take long for it to be emptied.

And finally, Sandee says not much has changed in 30 years… Her dad still checks her oil and air pressure, just as he did on her original 1982 Le Car Sport.

Sandee... Another Just a Car Geek hero.


Sandee said...

"Sandee is a car geek of the highest degree" ... we need t-shirts now! Thanks so much for publishing the update on my Le Car! :)

Anonymous said...

Loved this post

TDC said...

Love it!!!!!!

Quantum Joe said...

Great to have you back. Great story!

Anonymous said...

I've met Sandee a number of times now at Cars and Croissants (that's my Lotus you mention/show in the blog post) and her love for the Le Car is infectious. She is definitely a true car geek, and proof that you don't need some powerful exotic to qualify as an enthusiast; a simple passion for your car is all that's required.

Matt Cotton said...

It's definitely fun to get a couple of French cars together, the attention ticks off the Ferrari's, lol

pickles said...

Sandee- you have my dream car. It's so super when someone really respects such a truely rare car. I've hunted for a LeCar/R5 in decent condition for probably 5 years now. Keep it and love it hard (or let me know if you want to sell.)

Larry said...

Great story about a neat car and a true enthusiast owner. I'll make every effort not to let our miserable experience with my wife's Renault Alliance cloud my appreciation for this very nice LeCar.

Camaro Cathy said...


Restoration of Renault LeCar - Many Thousands of dollars.

Picture of adult owners father still checking his daughters tire pressure - Priceless.

Love the picture of your dad. I wish mine was still around to do the same!

rrshadow2 said...

I've owned several LeCars and R-16s in the past and would Love to have another one, but they rarely ever come up for sale and when they do the sellers seems to price them up with "real" collectors cars, so I doubt Me owning another one is likely to happen in the near future

Sandee said...

<< Restoration of Renault LeCar - Many Thousands of dollars.

Picture of adult owners father still checking his daughters tire pressure - Priceless. >>

@ Camaro Cathy: Thanks for the kind words - I agree 1000% ... if only my dad let me buy that 1974 Dino back in 1982, instead of the LeCar! OMG! < kidding - he said "no used Italian cars" >

Clayton said...

As a fellow Le Car owner and the previous owner of Sandee's Le Car, I am so pleased to see it showcased! Sandee has done a remarkable job restoring it and showing it for all to see. Thanks for sharing her story, and thanks for reviving your daily remains my favorite daily read! Keep up the wonderful work!

Max Power said...

3 lug nuts....crazy, and I love the car and the post

Graham Clayton said...

Matt Cotton said:

"It's definitely fun to get a couple of French cars together, the attention ticks off the Ferrari's, lol"

It is great to see unusual, weird and oddball cars at car shows - there are only so many Ford Mustangs and 55-57 Chevies that you can look at :-)