READER AD: 1980 Renault 5 Le Car

Reader Kenyon W is helping the owner of a small collection of classics get the cars moved along. The first one up is this Le Car, which has been parked for the past 25 years. It’s dusty and is going to need some work, but it runs and drives as is! It needs to go, so they are asking just $993. You can find it in Healdsburg, California and you can take a closer look via the link below!

As Kenyon puts it, “they built millions, but none are left” and that really does seem to be the case. While not a super desirable car, it’s actually kind of cool and would be fun to zip around in! With Pebble Beach coming up soon, this sure would be a fun one to take to the Concours D’Lemons. It would sure be a standout and would be a crowd favorite, especially if you left it covered in dust!

By 1980, the Le Car’s 1.4 liter 4-cylinder engine was down to just 51 horsepower, but you really don’t need a lot of engine in such a compact car. At one point, these cars actually dominated the Showroom Stock Class C of the SCCA, so they can’t be too bad!

While it’s been in storage, this Le Car has developed some rust, but Kenyon states that it actually is quite solid throughout. There are a few problem areas, but given the value and what it is, I’d just treat any rusty areas with a good rust inhibitor and leave it be.

The interior is a bit of a mess, but thankfully it’s an incredibly simple car. Clean out the junk, install some new seat covers, give it a good cleaning and you’d be able to at least drive it. I for one am loving that steering wheel, it looks far too sporty for an economy car! One thing is for sure, it’s definitely unique!

There’s work to be done here, but this little Renault looks like it could actually be a really fun project, especially for anyone on a tight budget. Finding parts might prove to be a challenge, but it really shouldn’t cost much to get it back on the road!

Seller’s Listing: Here on craigslist

  • Asking Price: $993
  • Location: Healdsburg
  • Title Status: Clean

List your car here on Barn Finds for only $50!

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Comments

  1. Dan

    I must wonder: how easily are parts for a Le Car obtained? The price seems reasonable, especially considering that anything on my local Craigslist with an asking price under $1,000 is almost guaranteed to have moderate to severe rust issues. I see this one selling fairly quickly…and I wonder what else the owner might be selling in the future.

    • Miguel Member

      I sell a few of the lights for this car front and back.

      The rest of the parts can be obtained with the internet, if you are willing to wait for the shipping.

  2. paul gibbons

    I had one back in the mid 80’s lots of smiles but I never had a problem with it. Drove if for a year and sold it for more than I paid for it, doesn’t get much better than that. Some odd controls and handling that you had to get used to but was pretty fun to run around in with big sunroof and used almost no gas. Paul

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  3. Rube Goldberg

    Yeah, what did happen to all these? They rusted faster than bare metal in salt water. They were quite popular for a short spell, while AMC was going under. I heard people liked them, sure beat the Geo Metro. Surprisingly, punch in “LeCar parts”, and a slew of stuff comes up, even AutoZone. I remember stacks of these in junkyards. https://www.flickr.com/photos/81821776@N06/24869405014

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  4. MarveH

    This tugs at my heart for two reasons; first, I’m an economy car nut and I don’t want to analyze why. Second is, of course, lug nut economy. With only three lug nuts I’m saving four total. That adds up to real money and weight savings!
    I might even get a shirt made about saving the planet through fewer lug nuts and hang around coffee shops feeling smug.
    Parenthetically, I always thought sMug would be a great name for a coffee shop.
    Really, though, if this were within five hours of me I’d be dragging it home.

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  5. Seamus

    I had a 77 LeCar and it was the worst car I have ever owned. Went to the junkyard in ’84 with 68k miles on it…

  6. Steve D

    Still quite a lot of them in urp. But you’ll never see one over there with the sunroof. Can’t tell but this one being highly optioned (don’t giggle) may even have a/c. Mine did. They are also unique as they have different wheelbases on each side.

    https://ranwhenparked.net/2019/07/02/here-is-why-the-renault-5-had-two-different-wheelbases/

  7. BarnfindyCollins

    Captain Ron would like to borrow this car. Now that I see the later XJS coupe behind it I’m liking that also. Back to Le Car, I used to see them back in the day at the drive in at Wendy’s , some wild haired artsy chick with the folding sunroof open blasting Duran Duran.

  8. Louis Q Chen

    I love these R5 when I lived and studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris! It was a blast when my Parisian girlfriend drove me around Paris and the country side! Such good memories when I saw this article. I guess Renault still have replacement parts for these?

  9. MarkP

    I owned a 78 LeCar. Had some nice featured like a solid rubber bumper with a steel plate inside. It could easily handle a 10MPH crash with just scuff marks. Later they changed it to fiberglass and it wasn’t as resistant.
    Brake system ate pads every 12k miles. The Engines was wet sleeved, which was very rugged, but also had a pressurized cooling system, which was an SOB to get all the air out of.
    Also had a “Smog Pump,” which when it locked up on mine, I gutted and act like a idler because the same toothed belt ran the water pump.
    Oh and the body was not designed for American roads with a lot of salt. While mine lasted to 140K miles, there were horizontal stress cracks in the door post behind the driver because the body had rusted sufficiently that it was no longer solid. (Its a unibody) Wouldn’t hold alignment either at the end, so it ate tires as well.
    Every time I see one for sale I get nostalgic until I start remember all the quirks.

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  10. g Wentzell

    These are a blast to drive!

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  11. Bryan W Cohn

    While the LeCar was common in Showroom Stock C in the late 70’s and early 80’s it was by no measure of anything competitive or dominant.

    Other cars in the class at the time included VW Rabbit (1500 and later 1600 engines), Gremlin X and Pacer X, Capri (original German built version), Fiat 128 coupe, Opel Manta and the later Izusu Opel sold by Buick dealers and many more. The Le’ Heap as many called them were plentiful as Renault encouraged dealers to race them, had a contingency program for top finishing LeCar’s each event (you didn’t have to win, just beat all the other LeCar’s) and so on.

    Good times growing up at race tracks across the Midwest in the 70’s and 80’s.

  12. Scott

    The only thing I remember about these little cars growing up was that our local dealership was selling them as “buy one get one free” towards the end of their run. Ha!

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  13. George Waddell

    In Europe they were sold as the Renault 5. The ones we got didn’t have a strangled engine so you’d be looking at a bigger engine range with about 70 – 75 hp for a 1.4. but we also got the Gordini / Alpine 1.4 turbos proper hot hatches plus the later mk 2 with the GT Turbo.

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