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Thread: Favorite rear-engined Renault?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    135

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    Caravelles look cool but every open version I have seen was either broken in half due to rust, or about to! Don't they have struts to insert into the doors when jacking, to prevent the doors from being damaged when the shell flexes?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    45

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    Hmm! over the last 50 years I here owned & driven the following:
    - Bog standard 3 stud Dauphine on crossplies it was my mother's car in which I learned to drive & began fanging. All a matter of subjective taste of course but I find the Dauph. to be the sweetest looking thing that Renault have ever done. 3-speed box is a pain (although second is a lovely ratio), drums are poor & steering is stupidly slow. Also, cross-plies are absurd on a positive cambering swing axle vehicle. These faults are all easily fixable through, unless one is anal about originality.
    - Bog-standard spider wheel 4CV (except for a Dauphine Gordini motor) on crossplies & then 135 Michelin X ("Stop" pattern) at the rear. My first car.
    Fun but had all the above faults & with even worse (smaller) drums. Again, faults are fixable. For my taste, the 4CV is Renault's second cutest vehicle. Owing to a stupid judgement, I killed it.
    - Mildly modified spider wheel 4CV built up from a shell using the above corpse's motor & with a Dauphine Gordini 4 speed box & drums. Pure leading toe control arms were added & 1 turn hacksawed off the rear coils. 135 "X" all round. Heaps of fun although the drums & steering remained faults & the "X", although way better than crossplies, needed 40 psi at the rear to keep the rim out of the bitumen in the dry & was snappy on the limit in the wet. Still, it makes me think that a mildly modified Dauphine Gordini (lop a turn & add the leading arms) would be sweet. Owing to a stupid judgement, a mate killed it.
    - My third (3 stud) 4CV was bought in January 1968 to replace the above. It was bog standard at first but quickly received all the modified bits from the second one except for the motor (sold to allay penurious studenthood). Later, it got a D-G motor again, a transverse leaf camber compensator, various wheel & tyre changes & front disc brakes (R1130 to fit the, narrower than R8 1100, stub axles). Every modification made it a better "driver's" car. Later again, it received a radical conversion (see Renault News #105) & nothing remains of the original except the body shell. Despite some frights, no-one has killed it yet & I still have it. I can think of no fault with it in its current form (were there to be, I would have addressed it) except the inherent ones of any rear engined swing axle affair (my Djet is dynamically superior to any of them).
    - A bog standard 1965 R8 1100 on "X" tyres. My mother's car in replacement of the above Dauphine. Hugely enjoyable & central to my fast driving "education". The "X" is a bad tyre & the (faster than Dauphine & 4CV) steering is still too slow at 3.7 turns. Rear swing axles better behaved than its ancestors though. Discs are great but front lock-up in the wet is a serious fault. Not totally my fault but I killed it in the middle of a wild ride.
    - Another (1966) R8 1100 was bought by my mother to replace the first. Initially it had "X" then "ZX" (both awful) & I fitted a camber compensator. Same story as the last one except that the C.C. ameliorated the shift to positive camber on hard cornering. I got it upon her death in 1996 & still have it. It's been improved by different wheels & tyres (currently 4.5-14 with 165/65 fronts & 5.5-14 with 185/60 rears), Koni "red" dampers at the rear, the removal of the rear brake compensating valve (to minimise front lock-up in the wet), 2.5 turns steering using a "steering quickener" & a 1.4 motor with a mild cam, a single 40 DC0E & 4:2:1 extractors giving 80bhp (assuming a 27.5% loss). Minor changes but they make for a very nice driver's car. I still have this.
    - Briefly owned & hardly driven, an 1100 conversion of a Floride. Pretty but basically a not yet finished conversion & I had a friend sell it on my behalf because I was moving interstate (it's the only car of mine that I've sold - something that I sometimes forget when claiming that I've never sold a car). In my view, the only reason for buying a Floride/Caravelle would be looks although the later Caravelles are apparently not as floppy in the chassis as the Florides.
    - I have driven other people's stuff with a 1296 R8 Gordini the only one of note. It was nice. Torquier than I expected, revved out very nicely &, although I did not fang it, was sweet steering. My current 4CV is faster & tauter.
    -My favourite? In a sense, none of the above but my Djet - it's astonishingly "tossable". But of the rear-engined Renaults that I have driven, it would easily be my current 4CV in its current form. Although the 4CV was the basis for my major conversion, were I to be starting from scratch, then I'd do exactly the same using a Dauphine shell - I just prefer its looks. I guess my closing remarks would be that, if you like driving briskly then, although any of them is fun (& the R8 family the most capable), a good attitude is to consider the standard cars to be just starting points & modify away in line with your priorities.

    3 photos of the 4CV which are not in the Renault News article (owing to a miscommunication) are below. (Sorry about the PDF file but I couldn't get the third pic to upload for some reason; so I embedded it in a PDF file.)

    cheers! Peter
    Last edited by 4cvg; 06-06-2013 at 04:58 AM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    135

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    I had a 1289 cc Dauphine once. I did the conversion myself. The only problem was that I stuck with 135 tires and the car was a handful in the wet - one day I stuffed it by oversteering into a parked TR6. The front of the Dauph' curled up around one of the TR6's huge bumper overriders. The TR6 was unharmed but the Dauph' was a total mess. That was when I realised that maybe I wanted a safer car....heh heh

    My favourite rear engined car is my smart BRABUS convertible. Well it's sort of mid-engined; however it is not a Renault, though it is made in France and has three wheel bolts.
    1966 Peugeot 404 Coupe Injection
    2006 smart BRABUS Canada 1 cabriolet
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B 200 5 sp
    2013 Ford Fiesta SE 5 sp

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