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French Barn Find: 1963 Renault Caravelle

When it comes to unique and unusual cars, there is one country that stands out above all the rest and that’s France. Some of the most interesting cars ever built have come out of France, but few French cars have ever made it to our shores. Those that have seem to be very popular and are typically loved by their owners. We have found a surprising number of French barn finds, the most common being the Renault Caravelle. Another one of these quirky little French cars has been pulled from a barn and is now being sold here on eBay.

This 1963 Caravelle’s interior has already had some work done to it, although it’s not been done to factory condition. The shag carpet actually matches the looks of the car well, but it was obviously installed by a previous owner. They also installed new seat covers, and while they look nice, they aren’t correct.

The seller claims the engine runs great, but the car currently isn’t drivable. These small 4 cylinder engines are known to be durable, so it’s possible that it runs great. With less than 50 hp, this car isn’t going to get you anywhere real fast, but it is efficient. After tuning this car up, it could get as much as 45 mpg.

This is definitely an interesting looking car and there aren’t many on U.S. roads, but this one has some rust issues. It’s salvageable, but the cost of restoration makes this car a labor of love. We would hate to see this car parted out, so hopefully someone will save it.


  1. J. Pickett

    Cute but slow, rust prone, typical French quality and dealer follow up. Be prepared to join a club and search for parts. Kinda like a French Karmann Ghia, without the VW reliability and parts availability. Typical rear engine handling tricks, but if made nice could be fun to drive and attract a lot of attention.

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  2. memikeyounot

    My neighbor’s dad bought one of these when I was about 12 years old. I was (and still am a car geek) and I loved the looks of it. He had it a couple of years and wrecked it and as I recall it wasn’t repairable so it went the way of most French cars in the US in those days!

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  3. Ron

    “These small 4 cylinder engines are known to be durable, so it’s possible that it runs great.” Really? That goes against everything I learned from my friends cars in high school, back in 1967!

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I once competed in an autocross held on a very large parking lot in the early spring. It was so early there was lots of melting snow and ice on the course. I had an MGA with Dunlop Road Speed summer tires that ended up being as sticky as cast iron in that slush, and most other cars were also front engine/ RWD with the wrong tires for the conditions. We all put up poor to OK times. The fast time of the day was put up by a good driver in the right car for the conditions: a Renault Caravelle. He won because of his good driving in bad conditions and the traction that the rear engine Caravelle managed under those conditions.

    I sometimes wondered whether that was the only competition the Caravelle won against contemporary sports cars of the day.

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  5. David G

    Wow, A++++ for the photos on that auction! Almost like being there. Dunno anything about these cars but if i had any interest, the in-depth photos would certainly help. Wish all ebay auctions had such quality visuals, or at least an attempt for them…

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  6. jim

    I wonder which would be faster… The Caravelle or the ZTR mower in the background!

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  7. Gene Mc Darren

    I brought a caravels S back from Germany in 63. I autocrossed on the Nsa parking lot. I did very well because the little car turned good. I was moved to the MGA and Healey class.
    I really loved that car but when we had a child I traded it for a station wagon.

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