Archive for October, 2009

1978 Renault R17 Gordini

October 13, 2009

Update, 10/13/09: Here it is again. Seller (flipper?) is trying to double his money to $3500, which has to be all the money for one of these. He offers more detail, including that it’s got 38,000 miles, a sliding sunroof, and fuel injection. It was apparently dry-stored in a heated garage, and comes with all records.

Update, 10/5/09: Here’s a 1972 R17 for only $750 in Minneapolis, and in pretty decent shape too. Check out the sweet sport striping just above the rockers.

1972 Renault 17

Here’s a car you don’t see every day, that might give my Lancia a run for its money in terms of rarity on a budget. The fact that Renault made (essentially) two versions of the same car, the 15 and the 17, under the same brand, is something you’ll probably only see a government-owned car company doing! Most in America have disappeared, and to be honest I can’t ever recall seeing one of these in person. Needless to say, that’s where some of the fascination lies for me – I suppose if I had one of these I could cover both sides of the annual French-Italian show in southern California.

This particular car is a 17 Gordini, listed on craigslist in St. Genevieve county, MO for $1800. It’s the top of the range with the 107hp (Euro power – I’m guessing less with smog controls) fuel-injected R1313 engine originally seen in the 16 TS, plus a 5-speed transmission. While this car is the last to carry the Gordini name, it’s not clear that he actually had anything to do with modifying the car. Most of the underneath of the car is shared with the more humble Renault 12.

1978 Renault R17 Gordini side

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Kramer! 1976 Mazda RX-5 Cosmo

October 12, 2009

Well, here’s a car most of us have probably never seen in person – a Mazda Cosmo, also known as the RX-5 and powered by the 12A rotary engine. The oddball factor of a Yankee-style Japanese coupe with a rotary engine is enough to make it worth featuring here, in spite of its smog-check-eligible build date. These cars were apparently built on the platform of the RX-4, so combined with that and the plethora of RX-7s and other rotary models sold here over the years, you should be able to easily find mechanical bits. Cosmos in lesser condition than this one also pop up in the classifieds every so often, but this has been the first one in driver condition with a few interesting extras.

To move along to the car at hand, check it out here on craigslist, owned by a Mazda enthusiast who is also selling his (very rare, and much more pricey) first-generation Cosmo. The first impression is good – shiny paint in a 70s-tastic purple color, really cool alloys that look an awful lot like the wheels on 1/24-scale Burago models from the 80s, and a tidy interior. It’s only $2250 and it’s on Whidbey Island, WA.

1976 Mazda Cosmo front

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Smog-exempt and clean – 1975 Honda Civic

October 8, 2009

So you’re thinking, why are they featuring a car that led to the disappearance of a lot of the other nameplates discussed here? Well, Hondas are pretty interesting cars, and this was arguably their breakthrough model in a barrage of Accords, Preludes, and more. For those of you who don’t know, this car had some cool technology called CVCC that allowed them to not use catalytic converters when most other makers had to – details about that are readily available elsewhere on the net. They also came in lots of funky colors like Carolina yellow, and are increasingly rare in decent condition. Even rarer are the ones that escape California smog testing. With its light weight and small dimensions, this could be pretty fun and unusual on some of the local vintage car rallies.

So anyway, here’s a great example with only 78K miles in San Francisco, for $2400, also on craigslist. Oh, and it also needs some engine work – the owner suggests a rebuild. Outrageous, you say? Well, in some regard it is, but it’s a historically significant model, and this particular car has had much recent work that makes it worth saving. Let’s take a look:

1975 Honda Civic side

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