RENAULT 16 REVIEW

It was a revolution in family car design - and still cuts a dash today...

The Renault 16, in many ways, was the template for the modern car - and it's hard to believe when looking at it that it celebrated its 50th birthday in 2015. But with front-wheeled drive, and a five-door hatchback layout, it could do the same job as your Mondeo - but with added flair and panache. It is both roomy and good to drive, and as long as you find a good example, you'll be rewarded with a classic car that turns heads, and rewards keen drivers who value comfort and tenacious handling as a priority.

The Gallic equivalent to the Austin Maxi is not without its faults, though - and certainly new drivers will take time to acclimatise to its generous body roll in bends and that idiosyncratic dash-mounted gearchange. But once mastered, anyone who loves cars will not fail to fall for this forward-thinking family car.

Being a Renault, parts and specialist support is less straightforward than, say, an MG or Triumph, but with a great owners' club, and an enthusiastic band of specialists who deal with them, you'll get what you need in the worst case scenario - eventually. So, buy a rust-free example, enjoy classic driving with a modern twist - and bask in the joy of not seeing another at a classic car event.


VITAL STATISTICS

Engine: 1647cc/4-cyl/OHV

Power: 93bhp@6000rpm

Torque: 95lb ft@4000rpm

Maximum speed: 110mph

0-60mph: 11.5sec

Fuel consumption: 26-30mpg

Transmission: FWD, five-spd manual

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Put your structure first

The number one priority in any potential Renault 16 purchase is the condition of its body. Never, ever underestimate this car's ability to rot - and just about anywhere. Although it's a relatively sturdy structure, serious rust can take its toll in all places - so have a good poke in the engine bay, especially the inner wings. Then, examine the inner and outer sills, A-posts, the area around the jacking points, and finally, the structure around the rear suspension mounts and the rear inner hweel arches, as this is crucially important to the car's continued survival and viability as a restoration project - repairs in this area are very much a complex specialist job.

 

Now check the outers

Once you've ascertained that the structure is sound, and won't bend at the first sign of a pothole, take a close look at the bvase of the front wings (not easy to get hold of), and the door bottoms. Then, check the front and rear valance - these are cosmetic repairs, but hard to do well.

 

Running gear pointers

After all that corrosion-based horror, the good news is that the engine and running gear are very sturdy indeed. The 1470, 1565 and 1647cc all-alloy overhead valve engines were shared with a number of other Renaults, so basic parts availability is good. Some model-specific items can be hard to track down - don't under-estimate minor failures, such as condensers or points. Also, headgasket replacement is an involved job, so make sure any car you look at is running well and doesn't pressure up.

 

Electrics

Generally easy to sort - and not trouble-free, but the TX's electric windows can be troublesome to keep operating smoothly. Other than that, watch for bad earths causing lighting and general operational problems.

 

Inside story

Unsurprisingly, minor trim items are tough to find, so make sure it's complete and in good order. The vinyl interiors are long-lived and rugged, but cloth seats are a real pain to repair if damaged, and aren't very durable.

 

OUR VERDICT

Why do you want one? Because you're an individualist, and want to drive a car that is more clever than the obvious classic choices. There are many Renault 16 variants to choose from, and all will cut a dash wherever you take them. The original 1965 1470cc versions are capable and economical, but the TS from 1968, with the more powerful 1565cc engine offers plenty more entertainment. We'd go for the fabulous R16 TX, the ultimate version, which was sold between 1973 and 1980 - it sports 93bhp, a five-speed gearbox, and sprints to 110mph. It's practically a hot hatch, but a wonderfully comfortable one at that.

Recently Added

49361 1Sponsored Ad
1987
£Auction
280 BROOKLANDS
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1104570
Offered for sale is a 2.8L 1987 Ford 280 Brooklands manual. Coming with an extensive history file...
3
01926 321 945
View details
49406 1Sponsored Ad
2014
£419,950
AMG
  • 1,600
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1104567
Black Leather & Alcantara, 6208 cc, Inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the SLS AMG Black Serie...
35
01283 599 699
View details
49395 1Sponsored Ad
2016
£91,950
  • 7,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1104566
Door Panel Trim, 20'' GT4 Alloy Wheels, Sports Exhaust System, Dynamic Engine Mounts, Stopwatch D...
30
01283 599 699
View details
49362 1Sponsored Ad
2015
£341,950
SPECIALE
  • 600
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1104565
Black & Red Alcantara, 4497 cc, 7-Speed F1 Dual-Clutch Gearbox, 20'' Forged Rims In Gold, Nart Ra...
35
01283 599 699
View details
48910 1Sponsored Ad
1969
£POA
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1103477
1969 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 1300 Junior, LHD The delightful Alfa Romeo is one of just 500 or so Gi...
37
01621 879579
View details
47733 1Sponsored Ad
1963
£POA
SERIES V VANTAGE
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1100974
Coming soon - Aston Martin DB4 Series Five Vantage with the desirable Special Series engine. In S...
24
01621 879579
View details
47577 1Sponsored Ad
2011
£38,995
5.0 V8 Supercharged
  • 23,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1100545
20'' Alloys, Jaguar XKR 5.0 V8 Supercharged Convertible 2011 (Facelift) Final XK Edition. ONLY 23...
17
01323 459723
View details
45980 1Sponsored Ad
2001
£11,495
320 V6
  • 22,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1096356
16'' Alloys, Mercedes Benz SLK320 V6 2001 ONLY 22000 MILES FROM NEW. Finished in Metallic Brillia...
14
01323 459723
View details
49066 1Sponsored Ad
2012
£26,995
  • 28,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1103855
Just Arrived! Please ring for details!
5
01798 849 279
View details
48297 1Sponsored Ad
1933
£POA
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1102207
1933 AUSTIN SEVEN BOX LWB 2 Door Saloon Black And Cream, 30000 Miles, Full Service History, HPI C...
1
01202 509 343
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale