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Homepage. This page: Restoration of a classic French soft-top car

Renault Floride

Kevin, owner of this fab Renault Floride, dropped me a note in 2006 with his interesting story about how he rebuilt the car from a wreck. Thanks for sending it over!!
Renault - 'as found' and needing major restoration

In 1996 I purchased a 1960 Renault Floride convertible in need of major work. A Renault what?, yes, I had never heard of one. My parents owned a 1961 Renault Dauphine at the time and I had done a lot of work on it and there was a mention in the basic specifications that it was available in 3 styles and was basically a re-bodied Daupine powered by the same 845cc Dauphine Gordini engine.

My internet access was very primitive as was my PC so doing any kind of research was non-existant, even if there was content.

When I first saw the car it looked nothing like what I had been expecting, a Dauphine with the roof cut of, no… this was a very different animal.

Renault Floride

Restoring this 1960 Renault Floride

As you will see from the first couple of pictures the car was a mess but complete, it looked so different and just sat there asking to be bought and loved. There was no V5 but if this was to present a problem it seemed a long way in the distance if indeed the car was ever going to get there.

Once home I sat in the garage looking at what had been purchased, this was the biggest project I had ever undertaken. The following week was the Newark Autojumble and I paid a visit with my father and to my amazement found a proper Renault Floride workshop manual. The stall holder seemed quite surprised that I wanted it and was purchased for a £5.

I stripped the car over the next few weeks labeling and boxing as I went. The manual provided ample bed time reading. The book was correct, it is a re-bodied Dauphine. Progress was slow due to the fact I had to fabricate everything by hand as nothing non-mechanical was available and also realising that this was a convertible so structure was everything. The hardtop roof and rear bonnet were wrong coming from the later Caravelle. The engine which was out of the car was the 1108cc used in the Caravelle, the gearbox matched. There was no history as to why this had happened.

As slow progress was made I realised that this was going to be special and somewhat rare so finishing it became even more important. By 2000 internet access had improved greatly as had my PC so I was able to see what a finished Floride looked like.

Finally the welding was complete, front suspension had been rebuilt and the gearbox with drive shafts was bolted in and four wheels attached. The moment of truth, the roof was removed and the doors opened and closed. I decided at this point to refit everything such as brakes, steering, wiring before painting which would avoid hand prints and scratches. There was plenty of room to drop the engine in. New upholstery panels were made and fitted and slowly the car took shape.

In March 2004, my 40th birthday Flo passed its M.o.T first time with no problems and after some help DVLA issued a new registration in May 2004. I can honestly say that with the exception of the roof I did everything.

Its first proper journey was on the first bank holiday in May 2004. On sunny days with the roof down you realise that this is what motoring is all about.

Floride back to original condition

Restored Renault Floride

More updates on this car, and other Florides, can be found on Kevin's Renault site.

More Renault stuff on oldclassiccar:
Free parts ads for the Floride model
All classic Renault spares ads in one place

You can also read about more interesting cars owned by visitors to this site, on the car stories page. If you have some photos of a rebuild that you've done, it'd be great to feature them here too! More stories about Renaults, and other classics, always welcomed.

This just one of a number of stories & images of classic vehicles owned by surfers who have called by my oldclassiccar website - why not send me your details and see your classic on the web?? Click on the image link below to find out more, its easy!


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