09.21The French Connection… Rescuing a Renault R10
It’s a weakness or possibly an illness but when I see something like this by the side of the road I absolutely have to stop and check it out, if you suffer the same symptoms or just enjoy funky little European cars, then please, read on.
A couple weeks ago my friends Scott, Keith, and I took a motorcycle camping trip out near Prineville Oregon. After rounding a corner I saw this beauty sitting in the sagebrush with a sign bearing the magic words, “for sale”. I must admit that at first glance of the boxy shape I took it for an Alfa , no grill meant rear engine perhaps a Fiat? Closer examination showed it to be French! I didn’t know that Renault made these!?
The car was unlocked and though it was dirty and dented it was surprisingly complete with good glass, an engine seemingly in one piece, most of the trim intact, and aside from the front doors even the paint was original, (there must be a story here but I don’t have it yet). I of course called and left a message for the seller.
Fast-Forward three weeks. I had almost forgotten about the little Renault when the owner finally called and we worked out the details, he needed the car gone and I for some reason needed the car, we settled on a price of free so I was left with no choice but to go rescue the poor little voiture!
After borrowing a truck from a generous friend and a trailer from work we were set to go. Scott and I headed East for another weekend of adventure. Surprisingly the Renault still had air in the tires, no stuck brakes, and working steering, I was fearing the worst but we had it loaded-up in no time.
Safely loaded the work was done, time to enjoy the outdoors. We had a great view from our campsite of Chimney Rock
After a long drive Sunday I had my prize at home in the driveway. Excited and eager to check it out I decided to see what it would take to get her running again. The license plates expired in 1988 and I suspect that it has been sitting for most of these last 21 years. I removed the spark plugs and sprayed a generous amount of WD40 down each hole, changed the grimy old oil, and replaced the battery. The engine rolled-over smoothly by hand…now my excitement was growing! After only a minute or so of cranking the starter the car developed oil pressure. I poured some fresh gas into the tank, installed some new spark plugs, and gave it just a small shot of ether down the carburetor throat, what followed was pure magic!
The engine sounded good and ran for 30 minutes without leaking a drop, the project is just beginning though. Brakes, clutch, and gearbox all need assessment and attention.
Stay tuned for project updates and please add your comments. I’m hoping to have this little car back on the road soon but I’m new to Renault so if you have experience or know of parts sources please don’t hesitate to post them up.