When the French automaker Renault saw the incredible success of Volkswagen’s Beetle in the American market, they knew they needed to build a competitor for the affordable rear mount VW. So they set about building a small and affordable car to give the Beetle a run for its money. The resulting product was the quirky Caravelle. Reader Robert J let us know about this 1962 Renault Caravelle Convertible, which can be found here on the San Jose Craigslist for $1,950.
The Caravelle was based on the Dauphine, but had a body designed by Pietro Frua of Carrozzeria Ghia. This one is in need of some attention both inside and out. The body looks solid, but the primer along the bottom creates some concerns for us. The interior is solid, but could use some work. Finding parts could be a challenge, but there is a dedicated and knowledgeable following that would be more than willing to help out.
Initially these came with a 30 hp 845 cc four cylinder, but in ’62 Renault installed its then new 48 hp 956 cc straight four. Performance wasn’t blistering, but it was adequate for top down cruising. The seller claims the motor runs, but that it needs carburetor work.
The seller didn’t say much about the car in their listing, but it appears that this Caravelle is an original survivor. It will need some work, but if the engine really only needs a tune up it might make for an interesting and affordable driver. If you were looking for an affordable rear motored car, would you go with a Caravelle or a Beetle? Special thanks to Robert!