Forty Years In Storage: 1961 Renault Caravelle

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Y at-il des fans de voiture français là-bas? I thought so, and this is a good one! This car wasn’t in a French barn but it was in storage for forty+ years. It’s a 1961 Renault Caravelle and it’s in Romeoville, Illinois. It’s listed on eBay for $11,950 or make an offer. Oui!

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The Caravelle was offered as either a coupe or as a convertible with a removable steel top and they were produced between 1958 and 1968. The seller says that there are only 42 1961 convertible Caravelles registered so they’re pretty rare, even though they made about 117,000 of these cars in total.

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This car has only 28,657 miles on it. It was purchased by a women in Texas and driven “sparingly” until 1973 when it went into dry storage. It stayed there until 2013 when it was found, but then put back into storage until now. It has had a lot of work done to the mechanicals to make it road worthy: new brakes, water pump, gas tank cleaned and new lines, new plugs, wires, hoses, belts, new battery, and more.

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It looks great all over, inside and out. The seller says that there is no rust on this car. This is a 4-speed manual, which is what you’ll want when you have only about 40 hp under the hood, or under the trunklid, or in the boot.. or what the heck, wherever the engine is in this thing!

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Just kidding, of course; we all know that these are rear-engine cars. This definitely has an Amphicar look to me, and the seller even mentions that they’ve heard that before, and they probably aren’t amused by that. But, none the less, it does look like one a little bit! This is probably a good price for this all-original car. If a person were to restore it the price would go up in a hurry. This one is in nice enough original condition that a full restoration probably would do more harm than good, at least as far as in drawing a crowd at a car show. Original is king (or, queen) these days so to find a car this nice and this original is quite a deal; said no French speaker, ever. Are there any French car fans out there?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. RayT

    “All-original,” Scotty? Maybe, if you ignore the seats, which definitely are not from Renault…. I think the carpets are replacements as well.

    Doesn’t matter, really. These are pretty little cars. Pretty slow, too. This one is, I think, way overpriced. Unless, that is, the market for odball Frenchies has improved dramatically in the past few years.

    Not too many years ago, people would pay you to haul away their Renaults; I had more than one in my driveway, and was offered others. Apart from occasional quirks, they are more reliable than most people think, but a lot of owners were scared away by parts scarcity and mechanics who were reluctant to work on them.

    This could be a fun little runabout, but only at a hugely reduced price.

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  2. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I bought one of these on ebay four years ago, after returning from a trip to Paris. The car was just $2000, and I had it running in short order after it had sat in dry storage for 23 years.

    Restoring the brakes cost most of a grand in parts and labor. Other parts were expensive. Still, it was a fun city cruiser, but Lord not for freeway driving. They are cute, but in essence they are a French Corvair. Draw your own conclusions from that…

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    You did it again! Never seen one of these before yet it’s 20 miles away from me.

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  4. James Scott

    I have a 1966 Renaut Caravelle that I have been toying with putting on this site. Interesting to see what a 61 looks like. Mine is all original.

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  5. wagon master

    The nicest restored ones only bring mid – high teens at auction. I want one but can only justify maybe $6000 for this if decent in person. I bought one on fleaBay and it turned out to be a roach …. pun intended ….

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  6. Stephen

    My best friend had one of these in the late 60’s. We traveled all over southern Ontario in it, from beach town to beach town. Slow as molasses but such a chic magnet. We took it to Harewood Acres one day to watch some racing. I was sitting behind the 2 guys in the little shelf area when he put it up on 2 wheels. As I stared straight down at the ground he turned into the tip and slammed it back down onto the ground. Someone was looking out for us.

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  7. angliagt

    There’s one here in Eureka,CA. that I’m helping sell,as the
    owner has passed on.There’s also two Dauphines.
    I know that they’re not worth a lot,but are very solid restoration
    projects.Anyone know where to go to get values/best place to sell them?

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  8. Richard Holmes

    Had a Dauphine, great, almost, little car and over 50 MPG. Rolled it on top of Topanga Canyon coming back from the beach–oh, well.

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  9. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    AngliaGT, contact Jacques in El Cajon, he has He sells parts and cars, and you will enjoy his personality, it’s perfect for dealing with cars as quirky as rear-engine Renaults.

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    • James Scott

      the link does not go to a page

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  10. Mark S

    Nice little car very stylish, good candidate for a resto mod put in the drive line and engine from a 6 cylinder corvair manual trans of course. Upgrade the brakes to 4 wheel disc install rack and pinion steering if it doesn’t already have it. You need to have more than 40 bhp. That is all there is to it. ( note BF readers these are my thoughts and opinions only NO action is being planed by me. )

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    • Steven C

      I am thinking beefed up vw transaxle and ford 2.3 turbo swap.

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  11. Francisco

    Do not drive this car in the water. It will not float. Don’t ask me how I know.

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  12. Keith Matheny

    @angliagt, try this club, or go fishing on BF.
    Seems a few have some idea

    Good luck with it.

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    • Keith Matheny

      I would like something like this to park with the Spider and the Spitty.
      Then I could pursue a German and a Datsun!

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  13. Mark in WNC

    They came from the factory with 4wheel disc brakes.

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  14. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Drive this car on Interstate 70 West of Columbus. It will float. With each passing semi.

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