One of the beauties of our collective interest in classic cars is that there is quite literally something out there for almost everyone; at least, if they care at all about how they get from A to B, even if it’s only on weekends.
As we know, comparative rarity and exclusivity are almost a given with classic cars. Some are beautiful, exotic, significant, spectacular, and well beyond the reach of most of us mere mortals. While we all like to dream, sometimes such dreams just make us feel miserable in that they are unlikely ever to be fulfilled. With our Prime Finds, while we try to cover as wide a base as possible, we tend to avoid the stratospherically priced Ferrari’s, Astons, Porsche’s etc, and strongly believe that dreaming of owning and driving a rare and exclusive classic doesn’t have to involve a price tag of hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of pounds, euros, dollars or (insert your currency here). Always remember: Any Classic is Better than No Classic! I like to think that the Prime Find of a Bitter SC Coupé which I came up with two weeks ago at under £20,000 / €23,500 was a good example of what exclusivity can be found for not crazy money, but if £20,000 is still on the rich side, this week’s Prime Find might be the perfect answer.
Our find is neither exotic nor elegantly beautiful, nor is it fast or sporty. It doesn’t have a coachbuilt body and indeed is a fairly prosaic car all round. Yet it is now both rare and exclusive – even if that wasn’t the case back in the day. For the DIY enthusiast, it’s even simple enough to do a lot of the maintenance work oneself.
The Renault 10 was one of a line of rear-engined saloons produced by Renault through the 1950’s and ‘60’s, following on as it did from the 4CV, Dauphine, and particularly the R8. Indeed, the R10 is was an upgraded, lengthened and more luxurious version of the loveable R8, which was launched in 1962. Besides the Renault, other small rear-engined saloons available at the time included the Simca 1000, Fiat 850, NSU Prinz 4 and our International Editor’s favourite, the Hillman Imp and variants thereof. The compact rear-engined family car proved popular for a while.
The R10 was launched three years after the R8, in 1965, and initially came with a 4-cylinder, 1108cc engine producing 49bhp which propelled it to a top speed of 87mph / 140km/h – although it took its time to get there. This was the same engine found in the top of the range R8 on some markets. For those in need of a bit more oomph, sportier Gordini versions of the R8 were able to reach up to 108mph / 174km/h
Early R10’s had round headlights, replaced in 1967 with rectangular ones, and in 1970 a 1289cc engine was introduced.
French production ended in mid-1971, to be replaced by the Renault 12, and the car was also assembled in Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia and other countries. It’s difficult to get a precise production number of the R10 alone, but I have seen a figure of 1,329,372 for the combined R8/10, so it can hardly be viewed as anything but a success. One of the “everyday heroes” we talk about as having been commonly seen during its own era, but is now a very rare sight on our roads.
Our R10 here is one of the earliest examples, built in 1965, with round headlights and is one of very few RHD examples left – indeed, only 14 R10’s currently remain on the roads in the UK according to howmanyleft.com. So whoever buys this boxy little 4-door family saloon – it’s got room for four adults plus luggage, though might struggle up hills if fully laden – should not encounter many others while out and about.
According to the dealer, Justin Banks, the car is in good order, both inside and out, and the photos seem to bear that out. The maroon paintwork suits the car well, and although there’s no information on whether or not this is the cars original colour, there’s no apparent evidence of other colours in areas such as the engine compartment or boot.
The no-frills black vinyl interior – grab handles instead of proper door-pulls, sliding rear windows instead of wind-up windows – also looks more than just OK. In fact, it’s possibly even good enough to make the unsubstantiated odometer reading of 52,350 miles / 84,250 kms seem credible, which would be remarkably low if correct. Certainly it hasn’t been used in the last few years, having been stored in a Carcoon as part of a private collection. The fake wood fascia with then-fashionable horizontal speedometer looks clean and uncluttered, or if you prefer, basic, in line with the car as a whole. We’ve borrowed these pictures from the dealer’s website, but there are many more detailed pictures to choose from:
This little French saloon is not perfect, but for a pint of London beer under £5,000 currently equating to €5,850, it looks like excellent value; in fact, as it’s been available since mid-January, you might even get a few pints knocked off the price. The dealer is promising to MOT the car before sale – although this is no longer necessary – and says it’s ready to drive away. This Renault 10 looks like a very realistic and unusual entry point into the world of classic car ownership, but as always, caveat emptor applies. You can visit the dealers website to see the full advertisement here: 1965 Renault 10
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 firstname.lastname@example.org