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Renault Le Car- 1979
Launched in 1972, the R5 “supermini” hatchback was Renault’s answer to Fiat’s 127. Small, three-door front-wheel drive hatchbacks were the new “thing” at the time. A variety of engines and trim levels were offered, depending on the intended market. The Americanized version arrived in 1976, renamed Le Car, as R5 was deemed too bland for the American market.
Although the R5 became the best-selling car in Europe by the late 1970s, sales of the Le Car in the USA were slow, as Renault’s dealer network and advertising budget were miniscule. That changed in 1979 when Renault reached an agreement with American Motors Corporation to sell Renaults at AMC’s network of 1300 dealers nationwide.
A 5-door model was added in 1980, with an automatic transmission becoming available the following year. The Le Car was praised in road tests comparing “super-economy” cars for its interior room and smooth ride. It was also fairly economical, with a rating of 35 mpg highway and 28 mpg city, but still the Le Car never achieved significant sales in the US as it had in Europe.
With the introduction of the new AMC/Renault Alliance model in 1984, sales of the Le Car ceased in the USA, but a 2nd generation R5 model was released for the rest of the world and continued in production through 1996. Over 5.5 million of the first-generation models were produced, and the R5 was France’s best-selling car from 1972-1986.
This 1979 Le Car has the standard 1.4L engine, and a mere 43,000 miles.
Manufacturer: Régie Nationale des Usines Renault
Country of Origin: France
Engine: Water-cooled, 1397cc, four-cylinder, 55hp
Top Speed: 75 miles per hour
Years of Production:1972-1996
Number Produced: 5.5 million
Original Cost: $3,495