City Survivor – 1971 Renault 10

Compared to some other Renault products – say the 4L, 16 or 15/17 fraternal twins – the Renault 10 seems rather unspectacular. The design is boxy with an excessive front overhang (bad for off-roading!), the engine doesn’t have significant power, and the interior seems to be a sea of vinyl, plastic and rubber. However, the 10 came with 4-wheel disc brakes, an alloy-head four-cylinder, rack-and-pinion steering, and independent suspension all around, and that synthetic interior was actually quite durable. Some are so durable, they survive life on the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District, like this 1971 Renault 10 for sale for $2500 in West Oakland, CA.

1971 Renault 10 right front

San Francisco Bay Area oddball car enthusiasts will recognize this one, as the previous SF-basaed owner used to street-park it in the Mission and drove it frequently on local roads. Unfortunately, the car paid the price for its outdoor lifestyle, with significant impact damage on the driver’s side rear fender and a long crease down the car’s passenger side. Fortunately, it appears most trim has escaped any damage, except the rear decor panel and tail lights.

1971 Renault 10 right rear

That black plate is likely one of the last issued, and puts the car in California from the beginning. The rear bumper needs chrome, while black wheels need a respray to silver or at least some shiny hubcaps. The most significant rust seems to be at the top of the driver’s front fender, a rather unusual spot considering the windshield surround appears solid. The seller clearly has some unusual tastes, with background cars including a Saab 96, BMW 2002, VW Type 2 flatbed, and more, and says this car was meant to be a project but is now for sale due to lack of time from a recent job change.

1971 Renault 10 interior

The car is said to run and drive well, but to need a “sympathetic” tune-up, and some attention to a gearbox that pops out of first on deceleration. The interior is complete and of variable condition, with a torn headliner, excellent rear seat, decent dash with faded faux wood, and a pair of seat covers that make apparent the owner’s love for shag. Points to the seller for realizing it’s time to sell and trying to pass the torch to someone who has time, instead of letting the car molder away while dreaming of that day when there’s some free time.

1971 Renault 10 engine

The engine appears to be nothing unusual, either in condition or specification, though 1970 and 1971 cars received a larger 1289cc engine that gave 8 additional horsepower, bringing the grand total to 56. And if you want more, the engine from an Alliance can apparently be made to fit. Surprisingly, parts are said to be fairly available, if not in North America then in France, where the Sierra engine went in everything from the R8 through the final Dacia 1310 in 2004. If you’re looking for a quirky runabout that’s fun to drive and has decent parts availability, this R10 might be a good start.


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