A 1968 car not 1978 as shown as first registration in the UK; Rare RHD example;
few owners; runs and drives but in need of light
Launched at the 1958 Paris Motor Show, the Caravelle was Renault’s attempt to cash in on the lucrative American market in much the same way as Volkswagen had done with their Karmann Ghia.
Based on the floorpan and running gear of the Renault Dauphine saloon, the new car had chic French Riviera styling by Pietro Frua of Ghia and was available as a 2+2 coupe, a 2+2 cabriolet and a two-seater convertible.
Initially powered by a rear-mounted 40bhp 845cc engine, this was soon uprated to a 55bhp 1,108cc unit in 1964 with a Weber carburettor in place of the original Solex. It also gained four-wheel disc brakes and an all-synchro four-speed gearbox. When tested by Autocar in 1965, the Caravelle managed a creditable top speed of 89mph and could hit 60mph in 17 seconds with 30mpg economy.
At a UK price of £1,296, it was more than double the price of a comparable Triumph Spitfire or Morris Minor Convertible which made it a rare sight over here, although some 117,000 were sold worldwide before production came to an end in 1968, the vast majority in left-hand drive.
This example dates from 1968 and has clearly been in the hands of a lover of Renaults. The V5C shows three former keepers, the last since 1988 and is relatively rare being a RHD example.
The file includes a handbook and three parts books and manuals and the car looks complete apart from the rear bumper.
Like the ‘Curates Egg’, it is good in parts, but will need some work with the welding torch to the sills, rear floor behind the seats and the rear panel. It comes with its original tonneau and Renault Service wing protection which would be useful when loading suitcases in the front.
Lots to like, the engine is in running order, although the brakes don’t function so that is another job to add to the list.
Rare, unusual, open and with lots of quirky early Renault ideas (check out the sunvisors!), this Caravelle has loads of potential to turn into something special once again.
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