Success Story: 1967 Renault R10

One of the best and most rewards part of what we do here at Barn Finds is hearing that we helped someone save a classic car, especially one that the new owner is truly passionate about. So when we heard from Readers Christian and Philip about the Renault R10 that they purchased after finding it here on Barn Finds, we knew we just had to post their story!

From Christian & Philip – Here are some pictures and the story of the 1967 Renault R10 we purchased off of a Barn Finds posting. Here’s the link to the post that started it all – 32,000 Mile R-10: 1967 Renault 10

So, first of all, let’s be clear. I’m a French car fiend – I’ve owned Citroen DS’ since I graduated college in 2004 and drive a Peugeot 505 turbodiesel wagon every day to work. With that said I was shocked to find out my husband has always wanted a Renault R10. Turns out he had wonderful childhood memories of his friend’s mom driving them around in one in the mid-1970’s and he loved how quirky and small they were. So when this little gem came up on Barn Finds (with original Michelin tires no less!) he was ready to pull the trigger. The seller was great, he was totally open that the car had been sitting for a long time and there were no brakes but, per your own write-up, it was clearly a very nice original car with (verified on PPI) NO RUST!!

So it seemed like it was meant to be! We bought Louis (his official name) and shipped him from Pennsylvania to Seattle. When he arrived he was exactly as I expected to find. A nice, unmolested, but needing help – original. We drove him off the truck and up our driveway for an assessment. First off…as promised…no brakes. No pedal even. But the handbrake worked so there was that! All the rubber was original. The coolant hoses were solid rubber with no reinforcing cords and the original twist type clamps. The toolkit was there, so was the owners manual and registration from 1970. I noticed a howl from the water pump so it was time to source some parts.

Working the internet, and the fact we also have a Renault 4CV…different story…we were able to source a master cylinder from Argentina, a water pump from France, a water pump housing from Seattle (!!), new brake pads and caliper rebuild kits from California, and new brake hoses from France. We also sourced four new rims to put Firestone tires on so we could save the original wheels and Michelin tires.

First I went to work on the brakes – I did all the work myself. The master cylinder was quite difficult to extract from the car. I felt like they started with a master cylinder and built a whole car around it! The sub-frame and front suspension made it REALLY hard to get out. Patience paid off and, after reinstalling the new master, I went to work on the calipers. They were VERY cruddy. I disassembled, wire brushed, honed, baked (a toaster oven is really useful in the garage), honed again, and rebuilt all four calipers. They are an interesting floating design with one piston per caliper and cast in aluminum. With the brakes going we were feeling bold so we decided to take a chance and drive him about 15 miles (plus a ferry crossing) to see some other French car friends.

All was going well…we zoomed down the highway, boarded the ferry, and just after disembarking – nearing the crest of a hill….Louis died. Quick roadside diagnosis and it was clear there was no fuel being delivered. A call to AAA got it to our friend’s house where, after ordering an electric low-pressure fuel pump, we were able to get him off Vashon Island and back home to Seattle. That’s when things really fell apart. All the original coolant hoses just split and started leaking like crazy! It was at that point where he was taken off the road until everything could be gone thru.

So…after replacing the fuel pump, all the coolant hoses, the water pump, housing, belts, and doing some cosmetic work at the radiator so it didn’t look so rusty it was time for a road test! Except for the puddle of brake fluid coming out the left rear. Ahhh..c’est la vie…I happen to have another rebuild kit. Now that I’d done it four times it was quick and easy to rebuild and seat the gaskets again and guess what?! It stops really well! Four-wheel disc brakes are a bit overkill on a car this size but it does inspire confidence now!

I’m happy to report that there are no electrical issues at all. The car has all functioning lights and works as designed. All that needed to be done was to freshen up the brakes and coolant system. Then it was time to work on the paint.

You guys called it when you said it was too good to repaint. Fortunately, we live not far from Griotts headquarters where they are happy to have you bring a car down and give their opinion of the paint. They thought it would be easy to bring back and so, after some purchases I went to work. With the help of a friend and over the course of a weekend we went to work cleaning, polishing, waxing, and buffing all the paint, chrome, aluminum trim, and glass. The results speak for themselves. The car looks amazing and has so far taken us all over town – zipping in and out of traffic, dealing with traffic jams, and buzzing along happily down the freeway! Now that everything is sorted I’ve learned they are quite simple and robust machines and I dare say I don’t expect any trouble from little Louis for a long, long time!

Thanks, Barn Finds! You’ve saved another!

Kind Regards,
Christian & Philip

Our thanks to these two for sharing this Success Story with us! It looks like this little Renault cleaned up nicely and should proved them with lots of fun memories. If you have purchased a classic car as a result of seeing it here on Barn Finds, we sure would love to hear about it. You can send your story to mail@barnfinds.com!

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Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    That made my year! I’m so glad that a Barn Finds fan ended up with that nice (after a lot of work) R10 – congratulations! It turned out great!

    27
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I agree Scotty, great to see a happy ending for a change! Best of luck Christian & Philip. Great job!

    12
  3. Michael

    Wow! That cleaned up nicely! Neat car.

    7
  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    Thanks for sharing a great story..!

    7
  5. Jack M.

    If I’m not mistaken, that floor jack looks like what they sell to prop up garden tractors! A buddy in high school had a Renault that if I remember correctly had only three bolts holding the wheels on.

    9
  6. Graham Line

    F1 and Le Mans Prototype cars only have one wheel nut.

    4
    • Dick Johnson

      Awwww, I’m so sorry to hear about their loss. I’ve seen a few F1 cars with no nuts at all.

      4
  7. jw454

    I had a 1969 in the early eighties. It was a very good car for the short time I had it. It was a “winter beater car” to save on getting road salt on my truck. come springtime, it was sold. It was one I should have held on to.

    2
  8. Sean Stevens

    I now have a new respect for these odd looking little cars. I once owned a Peugot 404. The French have a different way of doing things. Cars included. I’m glad Louise found his human, and forever home.

    6
  9. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking car. This is the best looking Renault I’d ever seen. I’d never seen a Renault that didn’t rust or rust holes. I don’t mind patina, as long as it doesn’t penetrate into the rest of the car.

    4
  10. JC

    This brings back some great memories… My father had an R10 that he bought new when he was coming back from Maine one day when his R8 (which he had brought back from France when he transferred back to the states while in the Air Force) blew up on the interstate. It was butter yellow with black interior… that little car was as comfortable as my moms 72 Caddy! He ended up trading it in 1973 for a Datsun pick up… never forgot that car and years later bought one at a by the side of the road dealer that ran great but had the push button automatic and we never were able to find someone who could fix the tranny so we ended up scrapping it. If I could find a road worthy one today, I’d buy it in a minute, just for the memories.

    4
  11. rapple

    Nice work Christian & Philip bringing this R10 back to life. One of my first adult jobs was selling Renaults at a factory owned dealership in Boston circa 1968, and I came to appreciate their many virtues. Easily a superior car to its contemporary competition, mostly the VW Beetle; better ride, faster (or less slow), MUCH better handling and braking, super comfortable seats, more luggage space, better rear seat access and a proper unibody.
    I hope you keep Louis going for many more years.

    5
  12. Maestro1

    I didn’t remember until reading that wonderful post that I had a Gray with red interior R10 that was on loan to me for a couple of weeks while my Oldsmobile was in surgery. The Dealer was an Olds/Renault/Peugeot dealer in San Franciso.
    It was absolutely reliable, I had no problems with it and my wife at the time loved it. I should of bought the car. Thanks very much for this.

    4
  13. Ron Schweitzer Member

    What a great story and outcome. Warms my heart.

    1
  14. Howard A

    Always liked these, a more modern Dauphine, kind of. Very, VERY few in the midwest, and relatively unknown until the Alliance came around. It’s a cool story, but no different than any classic car story, really. As mentioned, the internet is the real hero here. Years ago, you were lucky to find an oil filter for one of these, much less a water pump or master cylinder. Still, a bit anemic for today’s highways, but for puttin’ around, a great find.

    4
  15. David Miraglia

    Always had a soft spot for French cars. Nice job.

    2
  16. chrlsful

    this model was right in there w/the Dauphines, Simcas, Fiats (1 early model even w/the semaphore turn sigs) & everything but vee dub & hillman doing duty under mom’s driver-ship as the “kid bus” 1960 – ’75 or so.

    Lotta good memories – hope there’s plenty in there 4 Christian & Phillip.
    Thnx Josh!

    2
  17. westerj

    Had a few of these…. last one was formerly an Electric Car from Lehigh Univ … with drivetrain from another I had flipped! (easy in these cars). the body though was immaculate and i drove that 1289 CC motor hard. The repair manual was right… the engine thrived on harsh usage! Miss nimble handling, dont miss the annual caliper rebuilds though!

  18. EK

    I bought this car years ago for about $1,800 CAD in Montreal, and took it on route 66 to California for part of the summer. In the snow it never got stuck, and cruised all the way on the Interstate at 75 MPH to LA. Never had any problem with this rear engine car, and the front trunk was good. Now if the battery ever went dead one could crank start it too. It ruled the road nicely.

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