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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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    / #1990 / #Renault-25-Baccara / #Renault-25 / #Renault / #1990-Renault-25-Baccara

    / #Audi-100-CD / #1984-Audi-100-CD / #Audi-100-CD-C3 / #Audi-100-C3 / #Audi-100 / #Audi / #1984 / #Audi-100-Type-44

    After the two oil crises of the 70s, more efficient cars are being sought. In addition, there are concerns about the environment. Better aerodynamics is one of the ways to make cars consume less and emit less. The Audi 100 (C3-generation) and the Renault 25 are considered to be the most streamlined limousine in the world. At the same time they spoil the motorist with luxury. We contrast them.

    For the first time the streamline of cars in the 1930s was central, in the 1980s there was renewed interest among car manufacturers. Everyone is convinced after the two oil crises of 1973 and 1979 that cars really need to be more economical. In addition, one Bernhard Ulrich is warning about 1981 because entire needle forests in Central Europe, according to him, die off due to acid rain.

    To this end, the emissions of cars are held jointly responsible. In the press, a large-scale alarm is triggered, so that the car manufacturers are forced to take measures. (Incidentally, Ulrich withdraws his alarm again in 1995 due to lack of evidence, but that is not widely reported ...)

    Following the United States, the choice is made for the three-way catalyst in combination with fuel injection. This, however, entails costs, namely for the catalyst itself, in which the expensive platinum is processed, and for the conversion to unleaded petrol. A catalyst does not tolerate lead. Naturally, this switch does not go from one day to the next.
    A faster and cheaper solution is to better streamline cars to reduce consumption and thus reduce emissions. You can see that in new models of that time. Rain gutters disappear, door handles no longer protrude outside the bodywork, windows are fitted flat on the bodywork to make them completely slippery and spoilers are no longer reserved for sports cars, but they improve aerodynamics into the top segment.

    Two of those smooth guys are the Audi 100 of the third generation (internal designation Type #44 ) and the Renault 25. Both are the most streamlined series production limousine of that year, namely 1982 for the Audi and 1984 for the Renault. . Audi reaches a Cd / Cx value of 0.30, Renault even a value of 0.28. Both brands also do a throw to the top with these top models from their range. They want to compete with brands like Mercedes-Benz W124 and BMW E34/E28.

    We therefore contrast the thickest versions to see how they tried to achieve that. For the Audi this is the CD equipment, for the Renault de Baccara. Meanwhile, we know that the Audi finally succeeded in penetrating the premium segment and Renault did not. Can we see that coming here?
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    A HATCHBACK PIONEER THAT I ALMOST BOUGHT / #Renault-16TX / #Renault-16 / #Renault /

    I got very close to owning a Renault 16TX this month. My pal Fredrik dug one out in Sweden; it needed paint but was a solid runner. At £1500 it sounded cheap enough, but I must be getting wiser. I gave myself a rare reality check and acknowledged that said Renault had all the hallmarks of something that I would end up with a load of money in (“Some paintwork, then an exhaust, oh and I must have the correct Michelins on it…”). I know that I’d end up thinking “Why did I do that?” When a really nice one came up on eBay for £6000 it occurred to me that, at that price it would end up the cheaper car. It’s the age-old maxim: buy the best you can afford. But if I wasn’t prepared to pay proper money for a proper one, why waste my time on a project? Maybe that’s a good test to apply next time a tempting ‘running rebuild’ looms into view. Clearly I don’t want a Renault 16 that much. Yet.

    Our man is tempted by an R16 but only if it’s cheap as well as tidy.
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    / #1965 / #Renault-8-Gordini-R1134 / #Renault-8-Gordini / #Renault-8 / THE MARKET / Showroom Stars

    Price £33,995. KGF Classic Cars, Peterborough, UK

    Given that its predecessor, the Dauphine, has been described by Dan Neil as ‘the most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line’, we suspect that many at Renault in the 1960s would have been delighted for the R8 to be merely competent. It was, of course, far better than that, and in Gordini form it was among the most important cars of its era, winner of three Tours de Corse on the trot from 1964 to 1966 and popular enough that it spawned the first ever single-marque racing series, the Renault 8 #Gordini Cup .

    Amédée Gordini, nicknamed ‘The Sorcerer’, was able to extract impressive performance from the R8 Major’s 1108cc four-cylinder engine. With a crossflow head and twin-choke sidedraught carburettors it made 95bhp – 45bhp more than standard. His car was reliable, too: on the relentlessly attritional ’ #1964-Tour-de-Corse , 71 of the 79 starters were forced to retire. Four of the eight finishers were Gordinis. Just as importantly, the Gordini was a joy to drive – a bit tail-happy in the wet, but only enough to keep things interesting. So many of history’s great racing cars inspire in those with even a vague sense of self-preservation what is euphemistically called ‘respect’, but not the little #Renault .

    Unsurprisingly, then, genuine Gordinis have for some time been a hot commodity. Collectors tend to prefer the later 1255cc version with quad headlights, but if ultimate speed is what you’re after you’ll want to take a hard look at this 1965 screamer, currently loitering with intent at KGF Classic Cars in Peterborough.

    Formerly owned by noted Gordini enthusiast Steven Swan, it boasts a super-tuned 1550cc 169bhp engine and all the attendant upgrades you’d imagine – but in appearance has been mucked about as little as possible (the original seat has been replaced with a modern #Sparco number, but remains with the car). It has been campaigned with success but remains immaculate. And best of all, it’s road-legal and right-hand drive, meaning The Sorcerer’s magic – and Steven Swan’s – can be enjoyed to the fullest on this side of the Channel.
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    2017 Renault Twingo GT. Rear-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, more power, and input from Renault Sport… The hottest Twingo ought to be a blast.

    There are certain things I could tell you about the Twingo GT that would probably make it sound quite intriguing. It is rear-engined and rear-wheel-drive for one thing, and for another it has been given a good seeingto by the hot-hatch wizards at Renault Sport. But I wouldn’t want to mislead you because, as it turns out, the Twingo GT is much more interesting in concept than it is in reality.

    The little Twingo shares its underpinnings with the Smart ForFour. That unusual mechanical layout is not some laudable attempt to channel the spirit of the Porsche 911 into a city car, unfortunately, but instead it’s a clever way of reducing the car’s turning circle (with no engine between the front wheels, they can reach much greater steering angles). Hardly the stuff of a petrolhead’s dreams.

    With only 109bhp, the Twingo GT is one of the least powerful cars to carry the Renault Sport badge in the division’s 40-year history, although with just 1001kg to lug around, that needn’t be a deal-breaker. Power from the 898cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine has been increased from 89bhp in the standard model thanks to revised enginemapping and a GT-specific air-vent over the left rear wheel, which feeds cooler air to the intake. With a five-speed manual gearbox, the Twingo GT springs itself to 62mph in 9.6 seconds and tops out at 113mph.

    Renault Sport has tweaked the Twingo’s chassis, too, with springs and dampers that are 40 per cent stiffer, a ride height that’s been lowered by 20mm and a thicker front anti-roll bar. The steering, meanwhile, has been revised to give more direct response and the stability control now cuts in a little later – although it can’t be turned off completely – in a bid to make the GT more fun to drive.

    The Renault Sport-fettled model also gets 17-inch wheels, twin exhaust pipes and unique graphics. it looks quite cool in a tough-but-cute kind of way and with decent build quality and a good level of standard kit – partleather upholstery, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control – the cabin is pretty good, too. With much stiffer chassis settings than the base model, the GT does have a firmer ride quality, but not to the point of ruin. What’s more of an issue is the variable-ratio steering, which is so vague and rubbery, despite Renault Sport’s tuning efforts, that you wonder if there’s a small component in there somewhere that’s made of half-chewed liquorice.

    You could live with the dull steering if the car were entertaining to drive. Although it’s small and light enough to have an inherent agility and the bespoke Yokohama tyres do offer good grip, the Twingo GT just doesn’t have the poise or balance of Renault Sport’s best small cars. The chassis has been tuned to be very safe at the limit to mitigate the pendulous effects of the rear-engined layout, too, and although the stability control system has been revised for the GT, it still intervenes very early. In fact, it’ll nibble away at the brakes and cut engine torque if you merely turn into a corner with any sort of enthusiasm, which means you could drive the car for mile after mile and never be aware that the power is being sent to the rear wheels.

    The Twingo GT can be quite amusing to drive in the same way that any small, low-powered city car can be fun on the open road – maintain momentum and never brake – but it’s a shame Renault Sport hasn’t injected some genuine sporting ability and dynamism into its chassis.

    Similarly, the engine labours through its rev-range rather than zipping to the red line, and with no rev counter the only way to be sure you’re using all of the revs – absolutely critical in a small car such as this, of course – is to let it butt into the limiter. At least it has enough straight-line performance to nip its way through urban traffic. Throttle response is much improved over the standard Twingo and the gearshift is quite slick and precise, too.

    Ultimately, though, the car’s billing as a GT model rather than a full Renault Sport product tells us everything we need to know. This is not a successor to the hugely entertaining and very capable Twingo 133 of 2008-2013, but instead it’s a slightly quicker, funky-looking alternative to the basic Twingo. Judged that way, the GT is quite an appealing little city runabout.

    We’ll never see a full Renault Sport version, sadly, because the rear-engined layout means there’s no room for a bigger engine and there isn’t any more power to be squeezed from this three-cylinder unit. The third-generation Twingo, it seems, will never fulfil the promise of its unusual mechanical layout.

    Above and left: ideal for the cut and thrust of city driving, the GT is less well suited to the open road; it’s still fun to be around, though, with neat detailing and plenty of toys.

    ‘The steering is so vague you wonder if there’s a component made of half-chewed liquorice’

    Technical Data Specification #2017-Renault-Twingo-GT / #Renault-Twingo-GT / #Renault-Twingo / #Renault / #2017 /
    Engine In-line 3-cyl, 898cc, turbo
    CO2 115g/km
    Power 109bhp @ 5750rpm
    Torque 125lb ft @ 2000rpm
    0-62mph 9.6sec (claimed)
    Top speed 113mph (claimed)
    Weight 1001kg (111bhp/ton)
    Basic price UK £13,755

    + Funky styling, nippy performance
    - Much less fun than a rear-engined Renault Sport-fettled car should be

    Rating 3.0
    • The Twingo's a bit of an oddity and all the better for that, a rear engined RWD city car is certainly a refreshing change from it's FWD rivals. ReallyThe Twingo's a bit of an oddity and all the better for that, a rear engined RWD city car is certainly a refreshing change from it's FWD rivals. Really the Twingo and Smart For Four are in a league of their own and the Twingo GT makes the Smart For Four seem ridiculously overpriced. It's light pretty nippy lot's of room inside and has a lot going for it, Renault Sport reckon there isn't going to be a full fat sport version of the Twingo, but who knows? and until that happens the Twingo GT is a rather compelling solution to the hot city car.  More ...
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    / #2017 / No go for #Renault-Clio-RS16 / #Renault-Clio / #Renault /

    Renault has confirmed that its Mégane Trophy-engined, 271bhp Clio RS16 concept will remain just that, and will not be put into production, limited or otherwise.

    ‘Due to the complexity of the Clio RS16 we would have had to utilise the expertise of the Alpine plant in Dieppe, where it is possible to make very low volume, hand-built cars,’ said a Renault Sport spokesman. ‘In the past this has included the Clio V6, Spider and, currently, a number of competition cars such as the Clio Cup and Formula Renault single-seaters.

    ‘The plant is currently gearing up for production of the Alpine Vision sports coupe. Because of this, the decision was taken not to divert attention from this new project to build a limited run of Clio RS16s. There was an option of delaying the RS16 until after Alpine production had started, but this would have delayed [the Clio’s] introduction until the first half of 2018 and this would have been too long for customers to have waited for the car.’
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    STYLISH SEVEN-SEAT SCENIC SHOWN / #2017 / #Renault-Scenic / #Renault / #Renault-Grand-Scenic /

    We saw the five-seat edition of Renault’s new Scenic at the Geneva motor show in March, and now it’s time for the wraps to come off the longer seven-seat version. Larger in virtually every direction compared to its predecessor, it adopts edgier styling, including 20-inch wheels on all versions, to make it stand out in the multi-purpose vehicle market. A twotone livery is available, with a black or grey roof that is co-ordinated with the door mirrors and windscreen pillars.

    The new Scenic shares a platform with the latest Megane and Kadjar, which also underpins Nissan’s Qashqai. The wheelbase is 35 millimetres longer than before at 2,804 millimetres, while overall length has grown by 75 millimetres, to 4,634 millimetres. This makes it larger than the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, Ford Grand C-MAX and Peugeot 5008, but marginally shorter than the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer. Carrying capacity has grown compared to before, with 63 litres of extra boot space with five seats in place, measured up to the sliding cover. Figures for alternative capacities are yet to be revealed by Renault.

    In addition to a selection of 1.5- and 1.6-litre dCi engines in 109, 129 and 158bhp guises, the Grand Scenic is set to be offered with the #dCi 110 Hybrid Assist unit, which features a 48-volt battery and electric generator, harnessing energy when slowing down and utilising it to assist the engine at other times. In addition to improving the fuel economy, it allows the MPV to deliver more responsive performance. While most of the powerplants come with a six-speed manual transmission, the 109bhp 1.5-litre dCi unit is offered with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, while the flagship 158bhp 1.6-litre engine is paired exclusively to a six-speed twinclutch automatic gearbox.

    Like its five-seat companion, the new Grand Scenic will come fitted with 20-inch wheels as standard on all versions, with a narrow width of 195 millimetres and a sidewall height of 107 millimetres, it is comparable to that of a 17-inch wheel on the car’s predecessor. Renault is claiming that this innovative solution will equip the car with best-in-class ride quality. As well as having comfort benefits, the choice of wheels have been developed to reduce weight and have positive effects on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, featuring class-leading rolling resistance for lower energy consumption.

    The design of the seats are similar to the flagship Espace, which we don’t get in the UK, with a one-touch folding mechanism that allows the rear chairs to fold automatically to create a flat loading space, all at the touch of a button on the R-Link infotainment screen, or located in the boot. Each of the seats in the middle row have the ability to slide and fold down in a 60/40 fashion. A sliding centre console between the two front seats has evolved in the latest incarnation, to provide 13 litres of storage capacity, as well as a range of different USB sockets and power supplies to satisfy the demands of a modern family. Also dotted around the cabin are storage areas adding up to 38.5 litres, including four underfloor compartments that have been popular in previous incarnations of the Scenic and Grand Scenic On plusher versions, a large 8.7- inch touchscreen sits prominently on the centre console, mounted in a portrait arrangement. The R-Link 2 system features pinch and zoom, much like a smartphone, and incorporates voice recognition for the navigation system, phone and radio. Apps can be downloaded and each Grand Scenic comes with a free 12-month subscription to TomTom Traffic. A multi-sense button on the touchscreen allows drivers to alter the responsiveness of the engine, gearbox and steering on automatic editions, as well as offering a selection of different coloured mood lighting. A full-colour head-up display is offered for the first time, and there’s the option of 13 Bose premium speakers dotted around the cabin. Other cutting edge equipment includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a lane keeping assistant, driver drowsiness detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and an automated parking system.

    The Grand Scenic will arrive in UK showrooms towards the end of the year, alongside the five-seat Scenic previously announced. If the model line-up follows a similar path to other models in the Renault range, we can expect to see the trim levels named as Dynamique and Dynamique S, with flagship Signature editions. It’s too early to predict prices, which will be announced shortly before the new car arrives in #Renault showrooms.
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    Ross gets the blues for Les Bleus. Ross’s Renault let him down before the London Classic Car Show, so he borrowed this one from 4 Star Classics.

    YEAR #1981
    CAR #Renault-5-Turbo-1 / #Renault-5-Turbo / #Renault-5 / #Renault /
    Owned by Ross Alkureishi and Richard Head
    Time owned Four months
    Costs £2000
    Miles this month 127
    Previously Windscreen repaired, but it’s clear that more work is needed to get it back to its best

    Gearing up for the Six Nations Event at the 2016 London Classic Car Show, John Law at Wapping-based JL Engineering went into overdrive to get the R5T ready in time. He flushed and bled the cooling system, fitted a new thermostat, and repaired and reinstalled the odometer. The speedometer wasn’t ready in time for the show and nor were the De Carbon dampers, so he fitted a spare set of Konis.

    A special French package arrived soon after via the underground Alpine network – Daniel in Le Bourget-du-Lac, to Ricard in Reims, to Pascal in Calais. And contained within was some Renault 5 gold dust: a Turbo 1 steering wheel and gearknob, Turbo bodywork decals – missing on ours following its respray – and an original Gotti space-saver spare wheel. The price? Let’s move on swiftly in case one of our respective partners reads this report.

    It was all coming together beautifully. The plan was for co-owner Richard to collect me from Stansted Airport in the Turbo and then we’d drive from there to the Excel Centre venue. But there was no sign of him or the car when I landed. A subsequent text revealed that the car had overheated so I caught a train to Berkshire, where we worked on the car well into the small hours.

    Alas, we barely made it a mile the following morning. Pulling into a petrol station, we re-bled the system and set off again. No good – we got another 100 metres before the temperature gauge needle assumed its by now familiar position deep in the rouge. Clearly, this was terminal.

    Ensconced in the cabin of a breakdown truck an hour later, we settled into a shared melancholy – it looked like Team France would be a member down.

    Then I had an epiphany. I whipped out my mobile phone and rudely interrupted the breakfast of James Mann at 4 Star Classics. ‘Still got that blue Turbo 1 for sale?’ I asked. Then, ‘Can I borrow it?’ My next call was to LCCS event director Bas Bungish. ‘Can you collect a car for me?’ And finally Marcus Atkinson at Hagerty Insurance. ‘Any chance of adding a car to our policy?’ Broken down at 6am, recovered at 7am, replacement car sourced at 7.30am, insured by 8am – not bad, even if I do say so myself.

    The R5T arrived in time for rehearsals and performed beautifully along the show’s Grand Avenue. Mine was a fleeting one-day visit so Richard assumed driving duties for the rest of the weekend and smiled for both the French TV cameras and Classic Cars snapper Jonathan Jacob. Typical – I save the day and he gets all the glory!

    As for Team France, we got knocked out in the quarter-finals, finishing fifth. C’est la vie – it’s the taking part that counts.

    Thanks to: 4 Star Classics ( / Hagerty Insurance (

    Yet more overheating relegated the Alkureishi/ Head R5 to the subs’ bench.
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    Turbo charges into Stoneleigh

    1981 RENAULT 5 TURBO

    The #Renault-5-Turbo that crashed out of the #1983-Monte-Carlo-Rally in mysterious circumstances has returned to a rally stage for the first time since the Eighties.

    ‘It probably won more rallies than any other 5 Turbo,’ said restorer Kevin Jones of GTO Engineering. ‘It was the first 5 Turbo imported into the UK and the first to be rallied by a British driver. John Price easily won the Motoring News British Rally Championship with it in 1982, so he targeted a number of European events – including the Monte Carlo rally – the following year.

    ‘He was sponsored by a Renault dealership and had works backing, but as a privateer was seeded 60th. Unexpectedly, he overshadowed the works Renault drivers by putting in some incredible times and was gaining on the leaders when he suddenly shot off the road and down a ravine. ‘When he got the car back to the UK he found a bullet hole in one of the tyres. He never found out who fired it – it could have been a disgruntled local or even a rival team.

    ‘He sold it in 1987 to a guy who dismantled it but didn’t do anything to it. We bought it eight years ago and restored it but we’ve only just got the engine running – all 320bhp of it.’

    This Renault-5-Turbo was taken out of the #1983 #Monte-Carlo-Rally by a sniper’s bullet. / #Renault-5 / #Renault /
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