Curbside Classic Capsule: Renault R 17 – Lost In Eugene

(first posted 6/19/2011)   This is the only R17 I’ve ever seen and shot since starting this gig. They were rare when new; now they’re French unicorns.

Unfortunately, this one’s front end wasn’t available, but here’s a nice one:


The R 15 and R17 coupes were based on the R12 sedan, and it’s hard to say exactly why Renault chose to offer two coupe variants, with different roofs. But Renault sometimes worked in mysterious ways.

It must be the summer sun, because it took me a bit too long to correlate that face to what is undoubtedly the source if its inspiration, Virgil Exner’s 1960 XNR (see post here).

Which of course was reprised in the Sebring of 1971. Which happens to be the same year the Renault coupes appeared. Coincidence, or?


Here’s an R 15, with its very different rear window design. The R 15 was the lower-priced and less overtly sporty of the two.


And here’s the whole family, with an enthusiastic Renault owner. The R 15 on the right has the earlier chrome-surround bumper/grille, while  silver one above sports a later version. The R 17 was succeeded by the Fuego.

CC 49 072 800

Finally, my shot of the Eugene car’s interesting dash. That dash and wheel just scream 1970s French style. J’amie!