The R 17 was definitely one of the more exotic cars in the US at the time. And the coupe-convertible version, with its giant sunroof, only enhanced that. This is a rather interesting review, because R&T had tested an R17 two years earlier, and were none too fond of it. But there had been a myriad of improvements since then, and it acquitted itself quite well.
I actually found one of these, but a coupe version, in Eugene sitting in a driveway a few years back. My write-up on it is here, for a bit more background on it and the r15.
iirc the earlier R&T test was of both the 15 and 17. The test itself was not so negative, but a test of, iirc, a Mazda RX2 a month or two later was raving about the Mazda’s excellent ergonomics and comparing it to the unnamed other car that was undoubtedly the Renault, with references to the “D-cup falsies” over the instruments that produced so many reflections the instruments were unreadable and no switch or lever that worked the way you expected it to work. Translation, the earlier 15 and 17 were typically French, meaning different, though, having spent some years with a Renault, I found the controls perfectly functional, once one became accustomed to their different way of operating.
The 74 model 17 had a revised instrument panel. The earlier version did not have the large hood that kept out reflections.
It still feels weird to think these were exported to the US. And despite what they profess in the article, the 5mph bumpers are (as always, but here more so than usual) atrocious.
I believe the R17 Gordini was the last of the Gordini Renaults – quite the iconic name, found on anything from the Dauphine to the R12…
Speaking of which, here’s the R12 Gordini in a nice 1 minute excerpt from a (really good) French comedy, “L’emmerdeur” (1973).
And in a similar vein (and the same actor), here’s the R8 Gordini in a 1966 flick.
Never knew of this variant of Renault 17. Roof arrangement is a bit convoluted, I wonder how many of them were made overall?
I remember that R15/R17 test, though there must have been some other car that Road and Track tested in that particular issue that made me put it up.
I say that because I preferred the R15 over the 17. Oddly, or coincidentally (?), the 15 is like the 1st generation Monte Carlo profiled here while I consider the 17 to be a sort of 2nd generation Monte Carlo. In other words: same car, but more “out there” styling.
The 15 had a full size rear passenger window.
Considering the current era of reduced greenhouse, I too, prefer the 15.
American cars of the malaise era do still exist, if only in small numbers.
European cars of the malaise era do NOT exist, not even in small numbers.
I know what I am talking about, as I was proudbackthenowner of some Lancia.
Well, there is a Lancia Fulvia Coupe in our town. I hope to catch it on camera one day.
Try to catch it before A-pillars are rusted through.
I had a glorious Lancia Beta HPE which died of that natural cause.
But I know what you mean, high-end cars always survive, if at some point somebody invests …dearly…
They exist in Europe.
…”European cars of the malaise era do NOT exist, not even in small numbers”…
Now don’t get carried away. I took this picture in September 2016, and it wasn’t even in France.
The ultimate version of a series of cars that I always desperately wanted to own. However, looking at the listed prices, then comparing to the $2300.00 sticker on the ‘73 Vega GT that I was autocrossing at the time makes it plainly obvious why I never owned one.
I’ve tried to point out to you a number of times that a ’73 Vega GT did not sticker at $2300. A stripper three-speed one-barrel base Vega coupe did start at that, but a GT with a four speed and two-barrel and a few options like radio and such would have been above $3000 almost certainly. Maybe it was $3300?
A ’74 Vega GT Hatch with the Custom interior, A/C, and P/S went OTD for just around $3000, plus Cal Tax and Tags. Cormier had a sale going at the time, all Vegas @ $100 under dealer invoice (I assume there was some factory back-end money involved). MSRP on that car was a little over $3500, if my memory serves correctly. The car I should have bought, a Celica GT, stickered for just under $4000 ($3995?), but availability was severely limited at the time.
Amazing what inflation did to car prices during that time frame. That Vega ran out for about the same money as a Volvo 142 did three years prior.
Talk about pricey. I wonder how much the fabric sunroof added to the price of a steel roof Gordini. For reference, a Celica GT was just south of $3,600 this same year. Hell, the 2800 V6 Capri started at $3,900. Value certainly wasn’t this car’s strong point.
There’s a good reason these didn’t sell well. Or more than one reason.
Holy smokes- that was an expensive car in 1974! $5500 would’ve bought a 2002 back then.
In modern terms, this car is going for $30k. I would never spend $30k on a French car. I wouldn’t spend $30k on ANY car, but that is a matter of choice.
There is really nothing wrong with French cars. Well, okay, yes there is. They couldn’t take Canadian winters at all.
Intriguing as these are, they were the automotive equivalent of Bigfoot around us. The local AMC/Renault dealer had a brochure, but not the actual car, and I can’t recall ever seeing one in the wild.
Holy moly, these eccentric cars were simply murdered by US requirements. Instead of 13.2 seconds to 60mph, try about 9 secs unfiltered and belching garlic-smelling pollutants.
And as Tatra87 noted above, the 5mph bumpers were more horrid than usual in this case, actually quite destroying the unusual aesthetic (and inadvertently proving there actually was one).
We got them here, strictly for well-off beard and rollneck sweater wearers. Mighty pricey, they were rare ofcourse. (The Renault Gordini’s, not beards or rollnecks which were on everyone in the slightly creepy ’70’s).
Canucknucklehead mentioned $30K now; oddly enough, in Oz dollars, I reckon a pristine one would be all that and more now. And if rich, I’d pay it. A cool car.
PS: After a number of years of visiting this wonderful site, that’s the first time I realized that it’s “Canuck-knucklehead”, instead of “Can-knucklehead” as I’d read it many times before. And so again at CC, something new was learned. (Which was that I need new specs, but I digress).
Well, I can’t say it looks DULL, but the front half looks like a Russian copy of the Triumph Stag, the rear half is ’70s Nissan weird, and the combined effect is “You made it look like that on purpose?” If the 17 didn’t even ride well, I really strain to see a reason this car would be worth even 60% of its ambitious price tag.
I enjoyed the few years I had a 17TL, handled like a dream.
KJ in Oz
Hello to you .
I have Renault 17
Is it possible to get a sliding roof
Try mecaparts.com, or Hemmings Motor News. Their website is hemmings.com. Good luck !
I owned a 1976 Renault 17 Gordini back in the late ’70’s / early ’80’s. Marvelous car, even with the bumpers and emission controls. Never had any complaints about acceleration, and the roof was fantastic. On rare occasion I’d see another one on the street, but very, very rarely. I still miss mine.