2-For-1: 1960 Renault 4CV

Who doesn’t like a 2-for-1 deal? I certainly do, and I’m sure we have many readers who feel the same. That is what is on offer with this 1960 Renault 4CV. Not only does it look like a reasonably straightforward project car, but the nearly completed second vehicle could allow the next owner to have a pigeon pair parked in their garage. Barn Finder SC spotted this duo for us, so thank you so much for that, SC. Located in North Branch, Minnesota, you will find the Renaults listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could take this pair and some spares home for $5,000.

Renault introduced the 4CV in 1947, although initial production was slow as the country recovered from the ravages of war. It was no secret that Louis Renault set out to produce a French version of the Volkswagen Beetle in secret during the war, although his sudden death in 1944 nearly derailed the project. The similarities with the Beetle are apparent in many of the styling cues and the drivetrain configuration. The 4CV remained in production until 1961, with more than 1.1 million cars rolling off the production line. The seller indicates that the green 1960 model underwent a refurbishment under previous ownership, but it has lain idle for a few years. The paint isn’t an original shade from the era, but if the new owner elects a faithful restoration, locating the correct color in some hidden location may be possible. The panels wear a few marks and scars, but all are repairable without the need for panel replacement. The seller doesn’t indicate any rust issues, and none are visible in the supplied photos. Since the 4CV is of monocoque construction, ensuring the underside is structurally sound is an essential factor to consider. The seller recently refurbished and powdercoated the wheels and includes five of the unique hubcaps. The trim and glass look good, and if the car proves to be rust-free, returning it to its rightful place on our roads may not prove a huge challenge.

This is the second car the seller offers as part of this package deal. It is a 1953 model, and apart from the glass and the engine’s cylinder head, it appears complete. It spent twenty years as garden art, so the state of the floors is unclear. Its panels have accumulated plenty of surface corrosion, and I think there may be some rust in the rockers. Rust repair panels are surprisingly plentiful, so returning the body to a rust-free state may be possible. Some good spare hanging panels and other parts are included in this deal.

Post-war French manufacturers developed a reputation for building small cars with what many would consider tiny engines. However, those motors punch above their weight. The 4CV is no exception, and this is where many people will draw comparisons with the Volkswagen Beetle. The Renault features a rear-mounted 747cc four-cylinder engine, although, unlike the VW unit, this motor is liquid-cooled. It should produce 28hp, which finds its way to the road via the rear wheels and a three-speed manual transaxle. The journey down the ¼ mile would take 24.9 seconds, and that little four would be revving its head off by the time the needle nudged 62mph. This Renault hasn’t run for a few years, but it may not take much work to coax the engine back to life. The seller admits that it needs shocks and a master cylinder, but they include a new master cylinder in the sale. The buyer will probably elect to perform a thorough inspection to ensure the brakes and steering are in good order before venturing out on the road.

While its exterior dimensions may seem tiny, the 4CV’s party piece is its impressive interior space. It can seat four adults in relative comfort, although the lack of enormous engine power means that such a load will severely impact performance in those circumstances. The interior is complete and even features the luxury of an AM radio. The seller indicates that the previous owner refurbished the interior, but the material choice represents an acquired taste. Some may like the idea of crushed velvet, but many won’t. However, the upholstered surfaces, including the seats, show no evidence of severe wear or physical problems. That makes the interior serviceable until the next owner decides whether a retrim will represent part of this restoration.

This pair of Renault 4CVs is unlikely to appeal to everyone, but they may prove tempting for lovers of quirky and genuinely interesting vehicles. Returning the green car to active duty may not be difficult while restoring the blue car could allow the new owner to have a matched pair. There’s no doubt that they represent an affordable project, and it will be interesting to monitor this listing to see if the owner secures a buyer. If that person happens to be one of our readers, I’m sure we’d all love progress reports on these wonderful French classics.

Comments

  1. JW454

    Back in the mid-1970s a neighbor across the street took one of these and installed a 140 HP Corvair engine and transaxel. I only rode in it once but that was enough for me. Due to the extra power and weight behind the rear wheels, you could lift the front off the ground at every stop sign…. and he did.At the end of that first summer they moved away and I never saw it again.If you ever saw it, it was red and a large section of the rear of the body was hacked off to fit the engine in. To a young boy of 16 it was THE car to have.

    Like 4
  2. RoughDiamond Member

    I definitely see Beetle styling cues on this Renault 4CV. This is probably a good buy for someone into these cars. I cannot imagine riding in one of these as “JW454” did with that Corvair motor and transaxle.

    Like 1
  3. gaspumpchas

    Be careful. I have heard that these were so flimsy that the doors would open when going over an bump or railroad crossing. You would really have to want one. The one with the corvair was cool!
    Cheers
    GPC

  4. Derek

    That’s a good deal, I think. One runner for minimal work, and the other a blank slate. The Dauphine stuff’ll fit, I think; not sure about the 4L and the 12, but if they do, you could build a “Gordini”-a-like in blue with offset white stripes.

    As ever, an excuse to visit Retromobile (as if you needed one!).

    Like 6
    • nlpnt

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the buyer discovered a lot of the many parts differing between the ’53 and the ’60 were the result of Renault retrofitting Dauphine parts to the 4CV as a way of updating it (and combining supplier orders). The gauge cluster pod is a prime and obvious example.

  5. chrlsful

    sought full pic of 1 of these a long time (had Dalphene, 10 & 16), thnx Adam for my 1st ever view.
    I’d use the ford phrase “Hada Better Idea” to the ve dub bug. I’d daily this fo shoah.

  6. DON

    Compared to most cars built by the French these look downright attractive ! Dont know anything about them, but it seems like a good price for the right buyer

    Like 1
  7. Rick

    Strange, but the last time I saw a 4CV it was in Minnesota in 2015, near the town of Shevlin on US 2. And that was the first time I’d seen once since 1970.

  8. PeterfromOz

    Engine parts from the later Renault 4 fit as the engine from this car was used for it and moved forward to make a front wheel drive. Slide in the 4’s 850cc wet liners and bolt in the later 12v volt electrics. (The engine was also fitted to a small tractor in the 70s).

    Like 2
  9. mike

    In 1963 I bought–as my first car–a ’59 4CV–as a daily driver. For $300. It took me through college, four years in the Air Force and a civilian job–14 years in total. I got my money’s worth out of it. It’s been in 22 US states plus seven more in Mexico when I drove it to Mexico City. Actually a pretty rugged little car, called upon for far more driving–at US highway speeds–that it was designed for. I autocrossed it too–21 trophies in the under 1 liter sedan class. Oh, and i still have it.

    Since then I also found a first year of production–and all original–’48 with under 5000 miles (Renault was the leading import to the US in sales in 1948), and what I think is the only remaining US spec ’56 convertible sedan (of the 12-13 imported that year). When our local dealership closed in 1974, I bought all their 4CV parts so I could keep mine running; since then 4CV parts have become readily available in Europe.

    The parts car doesn’t look like a ’53 to me, but it’s difficult to tell without seeing either the front or back. Those 3 bolt wheels weren’t used until 1958. But if it is, whoever buys these two will find significant differences between the two both internally (inside the engine and tranny), the suspension and even the location of the back seat. But the sheet metal is the same.

    From looking at the paint around the engine compartment, the green car appears to have originally been “Montespan grey” Somewhere around 25-30,000 were sold in the US between 1948 and 1961, but few remain–primarily due to rust. Hope these two go to a good home.

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