The French famously invented the guillotine as a humane method of execution. Coincidentally French and itself headless, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Le Car still stands before you for the determination of whether its price needs to be chopped.
Like Great Britain, King of Queens re-runs, and Disneyland, Japan remains a ceremonial monarchy. And while Emperor Akihito favors finely tailored suits over ornate headgear, you could potentially feel like royalty driving yesterday’s 1974 Toyota Crown. Of course not at its current $9,500 price as 65% of you felt it abdicated the throne for asking so much.
Another crown-wearer, Marie Antoinette, famously disregarded France’s underclass, fanned the flames of revolution, and lost her head as a result. In contrast, today’s 1979 Renault Le Car was intended as simple transportation to serve the working class, and while when new considered contemporary, it was hardly revolutionary. This one however has - like Marie, lost its head.
Look, first things first - Renault’s R5 was a wonderful horrible car. Smaller than the competing Rabbit/Golf, it offered quirky charm and a typically French ride. It also offered that European nation’s insouciant take on both build quality and long term durability. Still, they're so small they can be parked pretty much anywhere, and like today’s car, many came with a huge fabric sunroof, which is awesome.
The story spun regarding this one starts with it arriving at a repair shop in 1986 with a blown head gasket. For reasons not detailed in the ad (gypsy curse? mob hit? Alien abduction?) the then owner never returned to pay for the service, or claim the car. It has since sat in storage like some sort of lemon hued Gallic time capsule. Now the car is being offered as a lien sale.
Well, not the whole car, as it’s apparently missing its head. Even though that has gone the way of Marie’s, the seller is offering up a slew of Renault parts from a dealership that unsurprisingly has gone out of business. The seller opines that all that junk in the trunk is worth thousands, and that their sale could fund the Le Car’s rebirth as a tidy runner.
Right now, aside from the decapitated 1,397-cc, 55-horse four buried longitudinally at the rear of its engine bay, the little Renault looks to be in pretty nice shape. There doesn’t seem to be any rust, the paint is as shiny as a guillotine blade, and all the steel wheels seem to possess their full compliment of three lug nuts each.
The interior of this 68K car also seems to be in perfectly serviceable shape, the dash and seats evidencing no cracking nor tears. That’s a good thing as parts like switchgear and the like are increasingly more difficult to source for these cars here in the US.
As I noted earlier, one of the Le Car’s coolest features was the optional fabric sunroof which when opened offered copious contact with the great outdoors. This one seems to have stood the test of time and should offer an enticement to get the car running and test its open road applicability.
To do that, somebody’s going to need to come up with the $2,500 the seller is asking, as well as a head. As is always the case, you’re on your own in the head getting, but we can all come together in determination of that asking price. What do you say to $2,500 for this headless Le Car? Is that a price that gets your head spinning? Or, is that too much to put this Renault on the chopping block?
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