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’.
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?
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.