Renault

Renault

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    Matthew Hayward

    Buying Guide Renault Twingo Mk1

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, October 29 2019

    Renault Twingo Mk1 - Simple yet stylish, it’s a modern city car with the charm of the past

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    Matthew Hayward
    Matthew Hayward created a new group Renault Twingo Mk1
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    CAR #Renault-Caravelle / #Renault
    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE May 2019
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................

    The Caravelle just fell into my lap back in May, when I bought it as a car for my fresh-air-loving wife, Mia, as an antidote to a succession of thirsty, loss-making Mercedes-Benz convertibles.

    Restored 30 years ago, which is when it acquired the ’80s red paint that almost everything ended up with in those days, the Renault is a 1965 model that was originally gold. The dashboard still is. It came with spare doors, bonnet, bootlid, seats and a hardtop that I doubt will ever get used and is, in any case, painted blue – a remnant of the car’s first colour change.

    Other than some microblistering, the red has held up pretty well so I can’t see myself putting it back to the original colour just yet.

    The only things that offend my sensibilities are the homemade interior door panels, but the originals are with the spares to use as patterns if I ever get the urge.

    Sold new in Swindon, the Renault was bought by its second owner, Tim Bennett, in the early ’80s. I bought it from Bennett having often spotted it parked next to the ramp in his former Renault workshop in Cirencester. It arrived with seized brakes and a pinhole in the fuel tank but was otherwise running fairly well.

    With the calipers freed and the hole fixed, Mia was itching to take to the road. I was not feeling quite so bullish about the car’s reliability and, sure enough, it conked out on a trip to Tetbury. I was amused to discover that my stepdaughter, Zoe, had never been in a car that has broken down before and the look of incredulity on her face when informed that Mum’s new Renault had actually stopped working was a picture of horror.

    Mia noted that, rather than getting abused by other drivers for blocking the road with a dead car, people were only too keen to help with pushing and advice.

    The problem was a mucky, gummed-up carburettor. Once that was rebuilt (by Gus Meyer), the Caravelle ran really well and cruised easily at 70mph. It has a delightful ride, light steering, excellent brakes (discs all round) and is generally a civilised and enjoyable car with a fun feel about it. The wonky numbers on the speedo look as if they were applied by a drunk person and even the air horns make a peculiarly camp French toot you couldn’t make up.

    With the (excellent) hood lowered you feel as if you are in a film driving this car, talking in subtitles as if playing a cameo role in Le Week-End. Actually, the best Caravelle-related film I have dug out is Road to St Tropez, an odd little short about a Parisian lady of a certain age who drives her white example for a week’s holiday and the romantic adventures that ensue.

    If you are a fan of the Edgar Wallace Mysteries on the TV, you will know what I mean when I say, as an unapologetic misogynist, that the Caravelle is the perfect sidekick/ foil to the Silver Cloud. It’s a decadent girl-about-town car for the kept woman of the ’60s stockbroker belt who, in Edgar Wallace’s world, is probably planning to murder her Cloud-driving hubby for the life insurance.

    It is a bit of a girl’s car, so much so that severe doubts about my manliness were cast by one and all when I turned up at my mate John Giacobi’s house in it on one recent sunny Sunday afternoon.

    But, by the time I had left, the Renault had picked up a whole slew of new friends; JG in particular got well in touch with his feminine Caravelle side. I’m trying to use the Renault a bit in the current good weather to prove the reliability so that Mia feels happier to venture off in it. As I write, all seems good.

    ......................................................................................................................................................................................................
    THANKS TO Gus Meyer

    The Caravelle has lived a life in technicolor – once blue, now red, it left the factory in gold Making the most of summer’s remnants. Nose script is straighter than the dials’… Minor issues resolved and the Caravelle was soon on the road – for a time, at least.
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    Martin Buckley
    Martin Buckley created a new group Renault Caravelle
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