Waiting for Gordini

Renault-8-leadThere are not a great number of cars in America that satisfy the requirements of daily drivability, rally heritage, fuel economy, performance – and being French. Felicity More chose this 1967 Renault 8 for these reasons. Rear wheel drive. 1100 cubic centimeters of rear-engine fury. Four wheel disc brakes. Enough room two or four people, a few weeks worth of gear, and a happy dog. One Amédée Gordini doubled the horsepower of the Renault 8 and drove it onward to victory in the Monte-Carlo and Alpine Cup rallies. This is Felicity’s Renault 8, and a fine sporting sedan it is. She drove it home to San Francisco after picking it up in Seattle via eBay in 2008, and has been driving it everyday since.

This Renault 8 sedan originally entered the USA from England with an American serviceman who brought it back with him to Texas. After a time back stateside, the car was sold to a Renault collector in Texas, who converted the engine to utilize fuel-injection of mysterious origin. The collector subsequently sold it to another guy, who then drove the Renault 8 from the Lone Star State on a move to Seattle. The Renault 8 was daily driven in Seattle, but one too many projects landed the car for sale on the internets, and ultimately driven back to San Francisco. Not only does Felicity take the compact yet sporty sedan on daily drives, but she also runs the car on California back road rallies upwards of 700 miles at a time.

The Renault 8 has has knocked around three rallies so far. The 2008 California Melee for 750 miles. The 2010 Motherlode 400-mile run.  The 2010 Faultline 500 Rally was the last race out. While running on the Faultline the return spring and connecting rod throttle linkage discombobulated. Boyfriend and onboard mechanic Dan fabbed up a working replacement out of safety wire. This fine example of roadside engineering held up for the rally, and was still holding up at the 2nd Annual Concours d’Lemons in Monterey.

Like any car that gets driven on a daily basis the Renault is not immune to fender dents and bumper fu. The left front fender dent appeared when Felicity removed the neighbors unwanted tree free of charge. The car got away all by itself durning routine maintenance, and removed the unsightly deceased trunk, proving the versatility and affordability Renault themselves have to say about the car.

“This popular car gradually became a truly democratic racing car. Young people from all walks of life were able to discover the pleasure of driving a sports model. A total 12,203 units were sold: 2,623 with the 1,100 engine and 9,580 with the 1,300 engine. The Gordini remains an unrivaled legend that made its mark on a generation.”

Last time we saw the Renault 8 it was loaded up with Felicity, Dan, Harvey the Dog, and enough gear to go from Monterey to camping gold in the Sierra Foothills.

More: Renault.com – Renault 8