Guide price: £6,000- £8,000
・Freshly serviced and ready to be enjoyed
The saloon that formed the basis for the Renault Fuego coupe, the Renault 18 was launched in the UK in 1978 as a replacement for the then-ageing Renault 12. Initially it was a strong seller here, making the top 10 in 1980 with over 30,000 cars sold, but as we headed into the new decade there was strong competition with new launches from Ford, Vauxhall and British Leyland. By 1984 an update was needed to remain competitive and the ‘Type 2’ was launched with a front air dam and rear spoiler standard across the range and the dashboard from the Fuego. It remained on sale in the UK until it was replaced by the Renault 21 in 1986, though production continued for sale in other markets until 1989, by which time over 2 million had been built.
For such a popular car in its day, surprisingly few remain on UK roads today with howmanyleft.co.uk showing fewer than 25 licensed in 2020. Over its lifetime, the 18 was offered in a large array of engine and trim configurations but there appears to be little preference in those that are still going, with a fairly even distribution of survivors, although the distinctions between trim levels were often subtle in those days! This example is a Mark 2 TS which drives the front wheels via a five speed gearbox from a 1647cc four cylinder engine and features such refinements as velour upholstery and a passenger map reading light. Contemporary road tests reported the seats to be soft and comfortable, the ride reassuringly French and compliant, and yet remaining remarkably good to drive.
When he saw the condition of it, the current owner of this car took a fancy to it as he used to work on Renaults back in the day. Having successfully secured ownership, he tested everything gave it a full service for old time’s sake but has decided that he has too many cars to hold on to it and so is offering it for sale. It currently resides in the West of Ireland and is on UK plates and, though its journey to the current location isn’t known, it’s thought to have been dry stored for a number of years. It does not seem to have been the subject of any restoration work at any point.
There’s not a full history but the V5 is present along with some receipts for routine maintenance. There is no current MOT but the vendor is confident that it would pass.
Upholstered in beige velour, the interior is very original and remarkably clean given the colour scheme. The seats and carpets show very little wear and there is a fresh set of rubber mats. The headlining with its diamond pattern is in great shape. Few in number though they are, all of the buttons and switches function as intended, including the original Blaupunkt radio. The Fuego-style dash is also well preserved; we can only assume that it’s been kept out of the sunlight. In summary, if you wanted to cast for a TV series set in the eighties, this car’s interior would be at the top of your call list.
The good news on condition continues on the outside. Despite never thought to have been resprayed, the paintwork is, the vendor assures us, every bit as good as it looks in the photographs. With the coach lines to prove it, the panels are all straight and while the grey plastic of the bumpers, spoiler and rubbing strips is showing a few marks here and there, it’s doesn’t detract from the smart appearance. Meanwhile, the wheel trims are virtually unmarked and the tyres have good tread depth. Underneath is very clean with little sign of corrosion.
The engine bay is very original and the car starts first time, every time. It drives well with no untoward noises from the drivetrain or suspension and no creaks or rattles from the interior. The clutch bites well and does not slip while the gearchange is slightly vague and notchy but that’s pretty much the same as it ever was. Straight-line performance isn’t its strong point but the relatively short gear ratios mean that it keeps up with modern traffic.
Anyone doubting the appeal of time-warp condition everyday cars need only look at the result achieved recently by a Peugeot 505 estate on the site. While it’s understandable that many will lust after the performance models of their youth, very often the family cars that we grew up with can evoke stronger memories and not of all of us came from families that could afford the poster cars of the day.
This Renault 18 will surely stand out wherever it goes, both for its condition and rarity, be that out on the roads or at classic car shows. Whether you have fond recollections of time spent with one or want to make new memories and new friends, this car is a great demonstration that there are many compelling choices beyond the usual suspects.
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