Le Car aka Renault 5: Vive le Voiture!

The sixties and seventies were boxy decades in continental Europe, so you wouldn’t be alone if you deemed Michel Boué criminally insane for that cheeky angle on the rear hatch of the Renault 5, initially unveiled in 1972.

The earliest Renault 5 was well known having its gearbox mounted right on the dash, skillfully engineered to allow the driver to flick his or her Galoises cigarette and shift from first gear to second, all in one swift motion. For a few extra francs, the fashion conscious could also proudly flash a faux corduroy dashboard and upholstery made from pure burlap.

  

By 1976, the Renault 5 was old enough to leave its mother’s nest, and it landed in the United States under the name of Le Car. It took on formidable competitors such as the Volkswagen Rabbit, and in fact was described in Popular Mechanics by auto industry pundit and acclaimed puppeteer Gary Witzenburg as “a French Rabbit that is low on style, but high on personality and practicality.”

You’ll pardon my contradiction, Mr. Witzenburg, but if one can look cool next to a falling man, I’d say style is in abundance:

man falling next to Renault 5


Ripe Car Name: Renault 5 “Le Car”
Years in production: 1976-1986
Price: £4,149 in 1976 (approx. $63,780 today)*
Price equivalent: 34,554 crusty baguettes

* Inflation-adjusted price applies to the Renault 5 Gordini Turbo. Sweet deal huh? One British pound bought you over $2.50 back in 1972. Beware the impact of wild currency fluctuations on the true cost of automobile ownership.


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