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The Misunderstood Renault LeCar

24

Comments

  • Yea, but at least you have those wonderful memories of the reciprocating saw.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,333
    Literally bust a head apart on a flathead Ford V-8

    He used a small sledgehammer.

    This was after he had tried everything. At least he saved the block!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    You know, when I was carving up that head with the rip saw it did occur to me that maybe I was going too far.

    But it was my father's car and he had just bought and installed a $200 set of seat covers (in a $200 car that I was reducing to scrap value) so I felt some pressure.
  • Has anyone heard of the rope trick? On 4 & 6 cyl engines get 2 cylinders at BDC, on 4s use 1 & 4, on inline 6s use 2 & 5. Get 50' of clothesline rope and feed as much of it through the plug hole into those 2 cylinders as you can then turn the engine. The rope is soft enough to prevent damage to the valves & pistons but is usually enough to break a stubborn head loose.

    Unfortunately this trick is useless if you can't get those %^@#&* angled head studs out.
  • Well I can't say a lot for the LeCar, but I really liked the Fuego.

    Today's Renault is a wonderful company. Their cars are reliable, solid, if not still slightly quirky, and unmistakeably French. I really hope they'll sell the Laguna or something similar over in the US someday.

    Renault back in the 80's had dire reliability, but I still see plenty of Peugeot 505's hanging around. In one of the richest streets in Austin, this family still has a early 90's 406.

    Peugeot's one of my favorite car companies of all, and I'd like to see them over here even more than Renault.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    The last one I've taken a look at was for sale by an acquaintance of mine. Actually was in suprisingly good shape although I was suprised by how bitty the interior was. Not a bad deal for $10,000, really.

    Funny thing, though. It had the engine in the back.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Boy, talk about lousy quality control!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Are we talking about a LeCar here? I hope those never sold for $10k, and never will. Did it have a solid gold spare tire?
  • It was $10,000 because they threw an extra engine in the back, just in case the one in front blew it's head!

    Either that, or the put the body on backwards. You know, those De Gaulle socialist years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Maybe he meant 50 Le Cars, you know, a batch-sale.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I don't think every LeCar in this country combined would cost $10k. I can't even remember the last time I saw one.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,278
    Maybe a Canadian model, and when they were brand new? Wouldn't $10,000 Canadian come out to around $6200 U.S.?
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    The car had some sort of (what looked like) carbon fiber stiffening arrangment in the front (which of course had nothing but a spare tire)...

    Plus the turbo seemed bigger than the engine itself...

    (Jeez, you guys are too easy)....
  • I'm sure it was an R-5, which does look like a LeCar, (or does a LeCar look like an R-5?)

    They were never imported to the states that I know of.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    Actually I think there's a fair number here.

    Sr. Shiftright, who's that importing company? Sun International or something?

    I have NO idea how they are titled in California, maybe it's not an issue.

    Very cool cars, though the maintenance issues scare me a bit. It's a shame that there is no Japanese equivalent (please don't bring up the Shogun). A mid engine, teensy, hatchback with say, the MR2 drivetrain. I guess a rebodied MR2 would do the trick.

    How about something that looks like a GTI built on a Fiero backbone. Hmmmm. I did get to see a mid-engine Rabbit once at the Eloy Grand Prix (in Eloy, Arizona...natch). Very cool.
  • What did they call the LeCar in France again?

    I don't think it was LeCar, that would have been stupid. "Renault the car".
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,278
    yeah, usually when they stick a "Le" in front of a name, it's probably a safe bet that some U.S. marketing company came up with it! Then again, didn't Renault make a car called a Deux Chevaux, or something like that, which I think roughly translates to "Two Horses"? A reference to the hp rating, perhaps?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    In France it's just an R5....or what they called, I believe, an R5 Turbo2

    Now there are TWO very different R5 turbos. One is the R5 Turbo, a mid-engine, rear wheel drive little beast putting out 160 HP from 1.4 liters (can you say "hand grenade"?).

    The tamer turbo is called the R5 GT Turbo, and is much more common and probably marketed in Canada at one time. That has only 120 HP. I remember driving one and it was actually a lot of fun. The turbo was this tiny, tiny Garrett, stuffed into a very very VERY tight engine compartment. It was so tight in there they actually used a Solex carburetor so that they could get it out of the way of the rest of the plumbing.

    The mid-engine R5s are rare...I think they sold something like 1,000 of them in France over the course of quite a few years.

    If you saw an R5 GT turbo for sale for $29 or something, I'd buy it if I were you. They are fun.
  • Not mid-engine, but I remember shopping for a mid-80's Omni GLH Turbo. Found one of all places as a trade-in on a Cadillac at the biggest blue-hair Cadillac dealership in the city. The salesman wouldn't drive it, said it scared him too much. I believe Shelby built an even faster version that ran close to 200 hp.

    It was a little too raw even for me, so I bought a Sundance Turbo instead. Have to say the engine was bulletproof (sold the car at over 100,000 miles), but the shift linkage was another story.

    I still like turbo's, treat them right and they last. Well, maybe not in an older Renault.
  • The "deux chevaux" was the Citroen 2CV.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    ...refers to the tax system on French vehicles. I believe French cars are taxed according to their engine displacement.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yep, actually the 2CV had a whopping 12 HP and I think they made an 18 hp high performance model.
  • My favorite was back in.. shoot.. musta been 10 years ago the guys at CAR Magazine turbocharged a 2CV.

    They had loads of fun running up and down the M1 at 80-90mph.

    Till the thing burned to a crisp!

    Bill
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Criminy! I wouldn't go that fast in one of those things even if I could. Ever see the body roll on those cars. I can't imagine a sweeping turn at 80 mph! That would put the fear of God into you!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    When I was a kid, sometime around 1958, I saw my first 2CV, and asked my Dad what on earth that thing was. He said, [not knowing, half joking] that "that was one of those things you went down and bought the kit, and brought it home and put it together yourself." Well, good guess, maybe. It was funny at the time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,333
    In my hometown has a couple of them. I'll see him on the road once in awhile. We also have an Amphicar in my neighborhood.

    Is it true that a 2CV will stand upright with a wheel removed? Seems like I heard that somewhere.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    but didn't the larger Citroens also have some kind of automatic jack that ran off the hydraulic system? Some kind of little strut that came down around the wheel-anyone know?
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Yes,it did. Typical of this fantastic car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,278
    I remember reading in an old Consumer Reports magazine that the big Citroens (the "french pastry" styled ones) would do that. And I know you're not supposed to believe everything you see on tv, but I remember an episode of "CHiPs", where Jon and Ponch pulled over a guy in a Citroen for 3-wheeling on the highway!

    Didn't those big Citroens also have easily removeable outer-body panels? For some reason, I thought the outer door skins and rear fenders were easily removed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    No, it wasn't a built in hydraulic jack. It was simpler than that....What you did was pump up the car's suspension by means of raising a lever in the car....then you placed a solid rod under the car near the wheel you wishes to change, and lowered the car onto the solid bar...voila...the wheel remained suspended.

    The rear fenders were the only easily removable part...you could take the fender off with I believe just one bolt. This was done because you needed to remove the fender to take the rear wheels off. The rest of the car's body was conventional more or less.

    There WERE cars built with hydraulic jacks....the very large and not often seen MGs from the 1930s, the SA and VA and WA series, had a system called a "Jack-All" (I think that was the name) and other British cars used this system as well. It "sucked a big one" as we say in New York and never worked. Most sane restorers pitch it over a fence first chance they get.
  • I can remember seeing a couple of Le Cars with fender flares and "Turbo II" in 8 or so inch lettering on the bottom of the doors. What is the story on them? Anything interesting, or just late 70's "gotta have a turbo" marketing?
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Those with the very radical flares and the huge lettering had the engine in the back seat and were quite rapid,all things considered. They were expensive when new and I'm sure still are in France. With all the hand finishing,they couldn't have made many of them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I think 1,000 of the fierce turbos were sold. The turbo GT is the milder and more common car.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I just saw a DS drive past my office and the odd thing was that it really didn't look that out of place in modern traffic. I guess that's poetic justice, because when they were new they looked like they brought greetings from a distant planet. The detailing is a little fussy by today's standards but the overall shape looks good.
  • Get back to work :-)
  • Hey, Hey....watch the 4 letter words.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Anyone have a link to a picture of one of these? I'm pretty sure I saw one today, though I'm not sure (it was either that or a Simca, which I've also never seen). It was TIE-KNEE, I don't know how anyone got in the back seat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    image
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    the link didn't work, there was only a red 'x' in its place. Of course, I haven't been on my computer for a few days, since AT&T lost their service for a while, so perhaps it 'expired'(??). I'm gonna check around, if I find a picture of a Dauphine, I'll post it here.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    the second time I logged in, the picture was there. My apologies. Here's another Dauphine link, kinda funny:


    http://www.feelgoodcars.com/media/press/web/SJEAA/SJEAA.html

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    They musta changed the URL on me!
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I'm a little stunned by this. As horrible as these cars were supposed to have been,i can't believe a new company is pinning their hopes on it. I'm also incredulous that there are many Dauphines extant. I should say that like so many French cars,I find the Dauphine utterly charming. I think it would make a very amusing weekend car.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yes, that's the Dauphine but I remember it looking more clapped out than that.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Since I had never seen one in person, I wasn't sure what it was, I thought it was a Dauphine or maybe a Simca (French car sold through Chrysler dealers in the late 50s-early 60s, if I'm not mistaken). I just checked autotrader.com/collectorcaronline.com, there were exactly 'zero' Dauphines or Simcas for sale on those sites, which are among the biggest for old cars. It does seem strange that anyone wanting to sell 'electified' cars would pick a Renault Dauphine as the 'donor' vehicle.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    It's one way to stand out.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    sold in US through 1971(great car).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    The reason you don't see any Dauphines is that they were so bad practically none have survived. They were all junked or shot by their owners I suspect.

    We had two in our family as relatives worked for the "new" company. At first, around 1958 or so, Renault did very well in the USA, actually OUTSELLING Volkswagon for 3-4 months in around 1960. People loved the Dauphine, since it was prettier, quieter, faster, roomier and more economical than the VW. What is wasn't, however, was BETTER than the VW. Not by a long shot. And at that time, VW service and parts was also far superior.

    So Renault kicked butt for a few month and had celebration parties, and VW just waited until the pate hit the fan. Which it did. Renault customer satisfaction went down the drain, and the company refused to install competent American management to deal with it. So things went from bad to worse.

    You cannot sell a car in the USA unless you have the service and parts network to back it up. Renault learned this, so did Peugeot, Lotus and Fiat. Other imports just escaped being deported by the skin of their teeth (Jaguar, Alfa for a time).

    Actually the Renault to own would be either the 4CV (looks something like a Morris Minor) or the R8 Renault Gordini, a boxy successor to the Dauphine that actually ran pretty well and was a lot of fun to drive. By the time of the R8 though, Renault was already in serious trouble.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    all of this is true,which is why I am amazed at this new project basing electric cars on them,espically in Canada's wintry clime. I just can't believe there are that many still up there.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,333
    Two tone horn! City and country!

    Some dork in our high school had one. He would drive around the school holding down the horn while he toggled the switch back and forth.

    DO DAH DO DAH DO DAH..like a British police car.

    Finally one of the school bullies got tired of this, had a "chat" with him and the music ended after that.

    And I saw a guy start one with a crank one time in a parking lot! Hilarous...
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    My mom and stepfather had the remarkable brains and luck to buy a new 1980 Fiat, a year before Fiat left the U.S. market completely. Nothing like making payments on a car that needs repairs frequently and having nobody and no parts with which to do the repairs. Mom bought a Camry in '84 and put 50k miles on it the first year.
This discussion has been closed.