Bangerwatch: Renault 11 1.4 TSE automatic

Welcome back to Bangerwatch, PetrolBlog’s equivalent of BBC TV’s Springwatch, only without Kate Humble, Michaela Strachan or any wildlife. Instead, Bangerwatch takes a look at rare and interesting cars that have fallen into Banger territory, seemingly spiralling into oblivion. By giving them exposure as potential Bangernomics project cars, it is hoped that PetrolBlog can save them from extinction.

In this episode, we feature an ex-Avis rental car – a Renault 11 TSE automatic.

‘After 20 years sat in the garage, it started first time.’ This was the proud claim made by Rick when I spoke to him earlier today. Admittedly, with both sets of keys lost, he had to hot wire the car, find a new battery and pour some petrol in the carburetor, but even so, the Renault 11 started first time. Who said French cars from the 1980s were unreliable?

As is often with cars such as these, it’s an advertisement that catches your eye, but it isn’t until you speak to the owner that a real backstory starts to emerge. Rick has taken custody of the seemingly very solid Renault 11 after its previous owner was forced to hang up his driving gloves. ‘Twenty years ago, the owner of the car had to temporarily give up driving with a serious eye problem’, Rick told me. ‘Two decades later, he’s finally admitted defeat and at the age of 70 has given up driving. Therefore the Renault 11 has to go’.

Renault 11 1.4 TSE automatic

It’s rather sad that someone held out for 20 years in the hope that one day they’d have the chance to drive again, but it does mean that cars such as these have managed to survive.

On the face of it, this 11 looks very good. Rick tells me that the paintwork would benefit from some T-Cut, but aside from the lack of keys, it’s all there. The majority of its 95,000 miles were done in the first few years when it was registered to Avis Rent A Car. It was then sold to the aforementioned chap in 1986, who ran it for six years before storing it away in 1992. And there it has sat ever since.

There isn’t much in the way of history with the car, other than the old style logbook, manuals and handbooks. Rick says he’s open to offers, but surely it could be yours for less than £500?

Renault 11 1.4 TSE automatic interior

With the alloy wheels and electric windows, I’m thinking it must be the TSE trim level. If this is the case, then according to How Many Left? there is only one TSE from 1983 on the road and none registered as SORN. So this Renault 11 may have slipped under DVLA’s radar. That said, How Many Left also claims that there’s a 2002-registered Renault 11 TSE on the road.

For a Renault that would have spent the first few years of its life being harshly treated as a rental car, it’s rather poetic that it then spent 20 years taking a well earned break. It now needs to find a new owner who will give it a suitably loving wake up call before treating it to a relaxing retirement.

Come on, it’s too good to strip for spares. If you’re short of ideas, why not remove the roof, dress up as Roger Moore and spend a few hours hurtling around the streets of Paris. Go on, you know you want to.

Have a look at the original ad for the Renault 11 on Car and Classic.

Thanks to Rick for the images.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

10 comments

  1. September 19, 2012
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    In the context of a rental, it’s probably just as well it has an automatic transmission. Clutch and gearbox are undoubtedly the two most abused mechanical items on rentals, so a self-shifter should have kept that to a minimum. That’s if the semi-brown red paint didn’t sap the life out of the renter.

    I do like 11s though. I don’t think I could have one as my sole means of transport, and I already have a project (oh yes, I’d not forgotten about it completely!) but maybe as a cheap third vehicle…

    Reply
    • September 19, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Good call on the auto thing.

      Maybe Avis should launch a Banger Rental business.

      Hang on, that’s an idea for PetrolBlog! 😉

      Reply
  2. September 19, 2012
    Richard Aucock (@richardaucock)

    What a find! Lovely story, cracking car.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Little bits of information like that help to sell a car like this. Some provenance and a little history go a long way.

      Reply
  3. September 19, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    Lovely comfy little car, and fond memories from Grandad having one for year, but £500!!!!

    Reply
    • September 19, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      £500 of someone else’s cash to keep another old Renault alive?!

      Reply
      • September 20, 2012
        Simon Hingston

        Aah well now that’s another matter 😉 Actually no can I spend it on heating oil and logs instead?

        Reply
        • September 20, 2012
          Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

          Ha! Just had 750 litres of oil delivered, with four tonnes of logs coming next week.

          Seeing the swallows preparing for flight this week was enough to kick me into action! 😉

          Reply
  4. September 19, 2012
    gordon

    gotta be interesting for a run about …but £500? many moons ago I had a renault ts something or other went like the clappers and was brilliant on the fuel, it rusted it’s self to death eventually

    Reply
    • September 19, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      A familiar tale for many old French cars. Which is why things like this need rescuing! 😉

      Reply

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