Alleyside Outtake: 1985 Winnebago LeSharo Turbo Diesel – “Caution, I’m Slow”

It pays to walk down a different alley once in a while…in this case, the payoff was a nothing less than a LeSharo, which has become exceedingly rare. It has the FWD cab and drive train form a Renault Trafic van mated to a low-profile fiberglass camper body. I have not seen one for well over a decade; the last one is written up here.

And yes, with a 75 hp 2.1 L Renault turbo diesel, it was slow, although not as slow as the 57 hp naturally-aspirated version.

A truthful bumper sticker, for a change. Now if this was the non-turbo version with 57 hp, the bumper sticker would have to be even more explicit in its warning.

Yes, that’s a Renault Trafic van cab disguised under that primitive fiberglass disguise.


You’re more likely to see the second evolution if this body, mated to a VW T4 Eurovan front end, which was a bit more US-compatible with its VR6 engine.  These came along in 1994, two years after the Renault-based version was put to sleep.

I was rather attracted to these, given that they were inherently a more efficient design than the typical American truck/van based campers. But they lack adequate headroom for me, so I never bit.

Also the interior configuration with these two second-row chairs didn’t really appeal either.

Here’s the view from the rear window.

And from the side window. The rear dinette folds down to make a bed.

I might get a kick out trying to wring some adequate forward momentum out of the little diesel mated to a four speed manual. Apparently there were lots of issues with this drive train and in 1986 it was substituted by a gas version of the Renault four, teamed with a three-speed automatic transaxle.

Apparently there was an outfit that swapped in Chrysler 3.3 LV6 minivan drive trains into these, but I’m sure that business has dried up.

But here’s proof that this was one of the fairly rare turbo-diesels.


I did a CC on one of these years ago, but actually I have a lot more pictures this time around:

Curbside Classic: 1985 Winnebago LeSharo Turbo Diesel – 23 MPG, If It Still Has The Original Renault Engine