Reader Find: Eduard’s 1974 Renault 12 L

 

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

From Eduard P – Last year I received a message on my Facebook page (Renault 12 USA) from a guy asking me to identify the car. He purchased a big building about 8 years ago and the car was abandoned in it. I made him an offer and shortly after my dad went to pick it up from Wisconsin and brought it to Michigan. From there I picked it up and brought it to New York.

The car was covered in a thick layer of dust, but I was able to tell that it was a diamond in the rough. A thorough cleaning revealed a beautiful shine on the original paint. These cars are prone to rust, but since it was stored indoors, this one had an alternate fate. The original owner did a thick layer of a black rustproof coat under the car and in the engine bay. I am 100% sure that this is the best preserved USA model Renault 12 in existence.

The car had an oil change sticker on the windshield from 2001 and was driven 100 miles since the oil was changed. The oil still looked perfect on the dipstick. I found a bottle of fuel stabilizer in the trunk and the gas tank was full, so no rust on the inside of the tank. I just put a new battery in it, new wires and it fired up with the old gas and ran beautifully!

I did change the oil and the coolant though. The front brakes were seized, so I redid the complete braking system, rotors, pads, lines, drums, etc. The engine was not touched, and after a 4 hour trip to Carlisle, PA it still ran perfectly. I even took it on the track and had a little fun with it.

Parts are hard to come by, but there are a few people scattered in the states that have parts from when Renault used to sell cars on these shores. Some parts were different on the American models. I luckily found a mechanic that used to work on Renaults in the 70/80’s, so with his help I’m able to keep these cars on the road. I also have a 1971 Renault 12 TL and a Dacia 1300, which is a Romanian copy of the R12. There are only 2 of these in the states!

Renault sold the 12 model from 1971 until 1979. Although no exact figures can be found, it is estimated that 12,500 examples were sold throughout the years. There are only 15 known examples in existence, 13 in the states and 2 in Europe.

I must say, Eduard is quite the Renault 12 fan and has a lovely collection going! They might not be exotic Italian super cars or big block muscle cars, but these are interesting little machines and can be fun to zip around in. I would love to have his latest find, it looks to be in amazing condition and that bright orange paint is fantastic! I’d love to know how it did at the track. Our thanks to Eduard for sharing his oddball find with us and we wish him the best with it and the rest of his collection! If you have an interesting barn find, send us some photos so we can share it with everyone here on Barn Finds!

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Comments

  1. BiggYinn

    Didn’t know there where only 2 left in europe these where very common when i was growing up in the 70s & 80s!

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    • KEN TILLY

      There are several in South Africa where they are known as the “Wedge”

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  2. Dubois

    Morning every body
    hundreds of Renault 12 are still in France

    5+
    • John Holden

      They’re also very common in Colombia where they are well looked after and still faithfully performing their daily duties. There must be thousands still running here. In Venezuela too they were very popular. Definitely not a rare vehicle down here.

      2+
  3. George Waddell

    Hundreds of these still in Europe in not just France but UK and Ireland too. Not only did Dacia of Romania licence build a copy, Renault in Turkey kept building them until 1990’s. Also believe that they are still being built in Africa

    2+
  4. williamcleary

    Also sold a lot in Quebec,Canada.

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  5. Blyndgesser

    Still some for sale in Mexico the last time I checked Mercado Libre.

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  6. DONA

    Love it ! Fantastic car… all the versions of Renault 12 are here ! http://www.r12passion.fr the french amicale of R12 😉

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  7. Chuck Cobb

    Nothing like color co-ordinated license plates on your vehicle.

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  8. TriPowerVette

    French cars? Sacre Bleu!

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  9. David H.

    Does anyone remember the Renault 17 — a coupe version of this car? I remember my scout leader having one in the 1970s — it was the same orange as this car, with a fabric sunroof and truly tiny rear seats.

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    • Blyndgesser

      I had a red one. Made in England by Matchbox. Loved that car!

      1+
  10. Claus

    We had one in Venezuela back in the 80’s. Same color. R12 TL. Good memories!

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  11. geo

    The must of R12, the R12 Gordini , a small bomb…
    Actually many R12 are still running in Europe.

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  12. Martin Horrocks

    Eduard´s production numbers are way out. This was a hugely popular car in many markets. Lots remaining here in Spain as well. 2000€ for the best and I guess I see 5-10 a day.

    I had a Mexican-built 12TS which had the all alloy engine from the Renault 16 in it. That is a great motor, provided very torquey and relaxed cruising through quite high gearing on 1980s trips between Mexico DF and California. That car had a single twin choke carb, but the 16 engine was also in the European 12 Gordini with twin weber (type) carbs. For some reason the humped bonnet on Eduard´s 12L is as fitted to both the Gordini and the TS, but not normally to the basic 12.

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  13. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    Got quite a few service parts for these if anyone’s interested in a bulk buy? From the UK rear wheel brake cylinders $2 each.

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  14. David Miraglia

    always liked the quirky design.

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  15. Kevin

    Had an R12 back in the eighties, fantastic car, couldn’t fault it in any way, very fond memories.

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  16. John

    OMG Flashback! Growing up my sister married a Renault mechanic and we had and orange R12 wagon, a purple R12 sedan, and my first car was a dog hair filled R17 I bought for $350!

    Later I got an R17 Gordini with the rollback roof that never completely closed but unfortunately they’re all gone now. Thanks for the memories!

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  17. juan

    Here in Argentina they made them until 1992 or 1993, there was 100s of them but fortunately they are dissapearing, they rusted since new, may be they are not sport cars (and never mean to) but don´t brake or turn even decently, their trunk is a joke, I hated them and still do (does it show?) I´m aware they are ment to be a decent economic driver and not a Corvette or a Hummer but their quality by any means was a joke.

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  18. Tricky

    Only 2 lrft in Europe, I hardly think so. More like 2 million. Quite a few still running around here in Oz

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  19. Mitch Ross

    2 Dacia 1300s in the US is what he says. I guess i saw the other one in Brooklyn, in battleship gray. These cars were great showroom stock cars. Pierre Jaquemart, head of Renault USA in the ’70s raced one with much success. Millions of hem on the road in Colombia, Mexico, Turkey and Argentina.

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  20. Burzel

    >Although no exact figures can be found, it is estimated that 12,500 examples were sold throughout the years. There are only 15 known examples in existence, 13 in the states and 2 in Europe.

    Actually Wikipedia/The Independent state that 2.5 million R12s were produced from 1969-80.

    0

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