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As I’m writing these words, the sun is shining from a clear blue sky. Spring is on its way!! Okay, I may be getting a tad ahead of myself, as it’s still rather chilly out there, but those rays of sunshine has me feeling all optimistic. And come springtime, we should of course all have a convertible in our possession.

Luckily, buying in to the Motoring Al Fresco dream doesn’t have to be all that expensive. Less than a Big Healey or Pagoda will suffice. It also doesn’t have to be all that impractical either. You can experience wind-in-hair summer drives even if you aren’t ready for a sports car. How about a mass-produced, tried-and-tested, compact family car – without a roof? Sounds good to me: it won’t break the bank, has a rear seat for the kids, is easy on the fuel consumption and is small enough to park almost anywhere.

Luckily, one such classic car is up for grabs from a private seller in the UK right now. Granted, it’s one of those adverts which is hugely lacking on much useful information of any sort. To make matters worse, the short description is accompanied by pretty lousy pictures too. It never ceases to amaze me, that people don’t put in just a bit more effort when they come to sell their classic car, but nonetheless, this French little charmer immediately caught my fancy. It’s a 1984 Renault 5TX – thereby making it a last-year-of-production first generation R5 which was introduced as early as 1972. It’s a RHD UK-market car, and no, the roof-chop is not a factory affair, as this was never an option. While the seller simply states in the advert that it’s a cabriolet, a little bit of research soon reveals that it’s a R5 Cleveland. To be honest, there’s not much information to be found about these Cleveland models, but it was apparently a UK-based company which specialised in producing these droptop R5’s – the chop usually being performed on secondhand Renaults. If any of our readers can contribute with more information, please enlighten us in the replies area below…

As mentioned, the seller gives us precious little information in the advert, but does say that the R5 has been fully restored with more than £ 10,000 spent on it over the last 12 months. He also claims that it only has two previous owners, a mere 50,000 miles on the clock, and that it drives great. There’s however no mention of any documentation to back up either the restoration or for that matter the mileage. There’s not even mention of a current MOT, though I would expect that to be a given on a car having had that amount of money spent on it over such recent time. Still, a phone call or email asking for more in-depth information is certainly required, and then the usual thorough pre-purchase inspection before any money changes hands.

Of the R5, Samba, Metro and Fiesta being compared here, only the Talbot was a factory conversion.

But short of that nasty speed tape on the front bumper, the three pictures present in the advert show a very charming and apparently well-presented little R5. The metallic French blue paintwork seems to have a nice shine, the funky factory front seats are retained and covered in what appears to be factory beige cloth, and even the typically French and very cool 3-lug factory alloy wheels appear in to be in good condition. Here are two of the three pictures from the advert:

Of course it’s not as exotic as some of those sexy roadsters and drophead coupés. But arguably, this wonderfully quirky little Frenchman is a lot rarer! You’re certainly unlikely to pass another one on the way to the beach this coming summer. More importantly, it’s a practical and usable little convertible, and even if your classic car dreams have been put on a strict budget, at £ 7,995 it’s still achievable for many enthusiasts. Not that there’s much to see other than if you want the sellers contact details, here’s the link to the full advert:

1984 Renault 5TX Cabriolet

 

All pictures besides those from the advert are courtesy of www.renault-5.net

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

2 Responses

  1. Claus Ebberfeld

    What a nice little car and what a useless ad. I share your amazement here, Anders.

    Maybe the seller just got tired of everything after the alleged 10,000 £ splashout on restoration and then realizing that the selling prize would be less than that? Probably not though, as the text in the ad still seems quite upbeat, although very short – maybe drug fuelled?

    Pure speculation, of course, but the seller doesn’t give me much to work with here.

    The car as such is a very nice effort and I really like the rarity. However the genre is one of the most difficult ever: Transforming a family hatchback into a cabriolet is even more demanding than creating a midengined four-seater and has rarely been done with much succes – if that is judged by a the level of visual bliss achieved. The little photo of the four candidates says it all, really.

    Nevertheless this Prime Find of the Week very much intrigues me: Somehow the French charm of the original R5 is still there and you certainly get a lot of rarity for your money. I like it.

    Reply
  2. Anders Bilidt

    Heh… I figured you would appreciate it for what it is Claus.
    And I agree, somehow they’ve managed to retain that first-gen. R5 charm…
    Granted, it’s probably no ones ultimate dream classic, but I’m sure it would bring a lot of smiles driving through a summer season in this little drop-top Frenchman.

    Reply

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