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You're right. 

Are these worthy of any attempt to restore? Looks like they were problematic.

In fact, I found this on Hemmings......

quote:  "In 2007, Time named the Dauphine one of the 50 worst cars of all time, declaring, ''The fact that the ultra-cheap, super-sketchy Dauphine sold over 2 million copies around the world is an index of how desperately people wanted cars. Any cars.'' Hilariously, Renault seemed to agree: In the latter half of the '60s, Renault ran a print ad apologizing for previous models that weren't up to snuff. This is the car they were apologizing for."

Edited by JardenJoe (see edit history)
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My 1958 Renault Dauphine was a great car for commuting to college, and later for driving in the snow, and for Ice Racing -

Far more comfortable and fun than the era-comparable VW. A few tweaks made it a great handling sport sedan, and for a young guy, having that back seat (and 4 doors) made dating more reasonable.

... at least until I blew the engine exceeding any reasonable driving. I was trying to make it back to the Jersey Shore very late on a Saturday night after a weekend gig at a swanky resort hotel in NY's Catskill Mountains - the Borscht Belt (or Yiddish Alps). Turned out it was a warped head from a blown headgasket, and water doesn't lube the engine very well at "warp" speed on the Wurtzboro Hill.

 

The hotter version of the Dauphine, my '62? Gordini, was an absolute BLAST to drive, to Autocross, to race in SCCA Sedan Class, and to just drive the winding backroads of the  Eastern USA. The Gordini was absolutely UNBREAKABLE - at least mine was,

and the Dauphine frequently got a "BAD RAP" because of improper maintenance

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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Hi Marty ! 
I love members anecdotes from road days of yore. Particularly enjoy your sharing of road adventures right up to present days ! Wanted to say that way back in the early-mid ‘60s, my experience with the wonderful world of Continental imports consisted of a ‘59 Peugeot 403. Talk about a European “datemobile” !!! Major league hitters with a pretty good batting average just loved the reclining seats. She and I have fond memories of that dark blue sedan, albeit dim and distant. I recall that the car was fun even when it was NOT parked, too.   -   Carl 

 

 

Edited by C Carl
Reversed order of two words (see edit history)
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They have a small cult following , along with the bigger brother Caravelle.  And the slightly newer R8 is also developing a following . R8 Gordini's have been sought after for at least 3 decades. There are a couple of people in my area quite interested in Dauphine's , and survivors are surprisingly scarce. Just not all that valuable. One of the ones near me runs a hot Type 4 VW engine and transaxle combo. Actually a pretty decent carRenault Dauphine - Photos, News, Reviews, Specs, Car listings | Renault, Vw  aircooled, Dauphine.

 

 

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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1 minute ago, 1912Staver said:

They have a small cult following , along with the bigger brother Caravelle.  And the slightly newer R8 is also developing a following . R8 Gordini's have been sought after for at least 3 decades. There are a couple of people in my area quite interested in Dauphine's , and survivors are surprisingly scarce. Just not all that valuable.

 

Greg

 

Caravelle was a "sporty" version of a Dauphine,

kinda' like the Karrmann-Ghia was to a VW,

but with a more pliant - absolutely French ride quality,

and the Caravelle had a removeable hard roof, as I recall

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I had one when in high school and ran a large newspaper route with it for a couple of years because it was cheap to operate. Had no problems with it and probably a good thing because I had the only one in West Texas at the time as far as I know. And as a teen I did not show it any mercy. Good car.

 

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20 hours ago, JardenJoe said:

Are these worthy of any attempt to restore?

Financially speaking, over 90% of vintage cars aren't "worthy of any attempt to restore".

On the other hand, many may be "worthy" to fix up, repair (enough ?), etc., especially if cost-effectiveness of the adventure is not defining concern.

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Dependent upon who one ask, the Renault Dauphine was either the best car ever built or the worst car ever built...no middle ground.  The folks who subscribe to the former may have been better at necessary maintenance and reasonable driving techniques and the latter treated the car as most Americans tended to, i.e. little maintenance and harsh, aggressive treatment.    Poor, spotty parts and service undid Renault in the U.S. as well.

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Never had much experience with a Renault Dauphine. But a high school friend had the newer "econo" model, the Renault 10, as I recall. The local dealer ran TV ads offering them brand new for $50 down, and $50 per month. I rode in his car often (better than walking a mile home from school), but even though he generally kept the pedal glued to the floorboards, it still wouldn't keep up with a good Toro self-propelled mower. LOL.

 

As I recall, the Renault 10 cars in our area were known to be problematic, and within about 2-3 years of service, I never saw one of them on the road again. 

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