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vulgalour

Renault 6TL "Crapaud"

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A collection date has been arranged of Friday this week and now that money has left my bank account I think I can risk a proper update on what I know so far and what exactly convinced me to purchase this car.

The man who is actually responsible is the same that allowed me to realise the childhood dream of owning a Citroen BX so it's not the first time Wales, French cars and fellow enthusiasts haven't been involved in my car history.  Mr Seabrook maintains an enjoyable read of a blog here: http://classichub.wordpress.com/  and it was this particular entry that convinced me to take the chance on the car due to the high resolution images posted: http://classichub.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/buy-a-classic-car-for-80/

At a first glance by most, my sanity at taking on such an obscure and rough looking car is questioned by some of my peers.  This is entirely understandable, who in their right mind purchases a car with no tax, no test, that's been off the road for 20 years and has been lifted by its roof? They seem to forget I've done this before and am presently working my way through a car that's been off the road for 17 years, has no tax or test and has needed a head rebuilt and new interior which is now not very far from being back on the road due to determination and plain old luck on my part.

Look beyond the obviously bad paint, surface rust and bent gutters and you might just begin to see what I do:  a solid, appealing little car that'll be great fun for bombing around town in.  This is still a bit of a gamble, it could have hidden horrors and I've not properly seen the passenger side yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic it will be on the whole okay.  For me it's ideal because as much as I like that beautifully restored cars exist, I am unhealthily fond of cars that have been knocked about and look their age.

The following images are not my own, they have been taken by others and made public online, I've just rehosted them in my own gallery to save their bandwidth.

Since at least 1993 (when the car was last taxed) it has been in a barn.  I presume from the info I've had online that it was this barn where we see a Panhard and a Renault Rodeo sitting side by side.  This in itself has probably kept the little Renault in reasonable condition and since the barn appears to be well ventilated I'd hazard that it's the only reason the car hasn't suffered too much from excessive surface corrosion.
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For the past year or so, all the cars that were in the barn have been evicted and had been up for sale at quite sensible prices.  The little Renault was priced for scrap at £80 and at that price it would be silly not to go for it.
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Unfortunately, I can't resist a lost cause.  This will be the fourth car that I'll be getting back on the road.  The first was my 1985 VW Polo which had spent about 10 years off the road, the second a 1984 VW Golf cabriolet my brother now uses as a daily and had spent about 3 years off the road and the third the aforementioned 1981 Princess which had spent 17 years off the road.  Taken this one on only seems like a sensible progression to me.
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Water has, unfortunately, got inside but it's also stayed inside so I daresay the floors are probably not too appalling though I do remain realistic about this because old French cars do like to rot.  The door card has also got warped by water by the looks of things, but that'll be easy to sort. 
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Carpet lifted and some rust staining is apparent so it may need a bit of welding in there, but I shan't know until I can get a good poke at it.
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Rear arch isn't too bad, a bit of surface rust could be hiding greater horrors but in all honesty I'm not expecting too much of a scare here as it doesn't look to have been attacked with filler.  Fairly standard point of corrosion on any car too so if it needs repairing that's no great surprise.
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Quality French detailing here.
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Roof looks reasonable, there's no obvious kink where the straps had been put so I'm comfortable that this is probably still very solid.  The rust in the gutters is just surface stuff, I had to deal with similar on my daily driver so I'm sure that can be remedied easily.
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Engine bay looks very tidy with minimal surface corrosion so I might be lucky with this.  From what little I've found on the 6, one of my theories for the car being laid up is a gearbox issue so it's going to have to be a softly-softly approach to recommissioning to find out what may be amiss here.  You never know though, it may surprise me by having nothing wrong.
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Passenger side is obscured and this is the only bit that worries me.  The rear door has a big dent in it which I think is making things look wonky.  I just hope it's not been hit too hard on this side as that could cause me real problems, though I do expect it's more likely to just be a big dent that needs pushing out.
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First view I got of the back of the car was promising, pretty much devoid of rust streaks and with lights intact.
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Second view was more reassuring.  Seeing the body sit nice and high above the wheels is reassuring as ones with collapsed rear chassis/suspension seem to have the wheels disappear up into the arches.  There's a hint of filler in the bottom of the rear wing but again it's a common grot-spot on older cars so I'm okay with that.
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As and when I have more pictures I will update again.  I shan't be working on the car myself initially - which is very frustrating - as it will be staying in Wales while I'm several hundred miles away in Derbyshire.  The reason for this is that I simply don't have the space to store the little thing here until my red Princess is moved to its new home.  In the meantime, the 6's caretaker will be doing the fettling work I like to get stuck in on and keeping the car secure as well as investigating it for the problems it will undoubtedly have.

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Excellent.  I'm glad you took this on, as otherwise I would have found myself with no other choice than to head Waleswards with a trailer - I have nowhere to store the thing but there's no way I would have seen it scrapped.

 

Hopefully she'll turn out to be as solid as she looks.  Main worry on these (and other contemporary Renaults) for me is the rear trailing arm mounts, which have the corrosion-resisting properties of a Series 1 Lancia Beta that's been parked on Aberystwyth seafront.  The mounts on mine actually looked quite solid until the nearside one suddenly snapped off - it'd been welded up with metal that bore a strong resemblance to tin foil.  Also up inside the rear wings is a favourite spot, as there's no inner arches so road muck gets flung all the way up into the base of the C-pillars - and obviously these rot from the inside out.  Check around the rear lights as this is often where the first signs appear - although on the T-plate 6 my dad had when I was a nipper the first sign of trouble was a bloody great hole suddenly appearing halfway up the nearside pillar.

 

Anyway, looking forward to reading the progress reports.  Maybe it'll motivate me to pull my finger out and get mine properly sorted...

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Great. While certainly not without its issues (like being chock full of shite including saucepans and shoes) I did feel there was hope for this car. The suspension works, I did test that, and did my best to check the solidity around the offside suspension mount. Didn't feel crispy and none of it came away in my hand. As you can see, the nearside is complete guesswork. 

 

Sadly, I'm busy Friday morning but if help is needed later in the day, I can offer assistance with its collection.

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Shit me Angyl. You are a braver (mental?) bloke than me. At least you've got the drive to be getting on with breathing life back into a car that most people would see as scrap metal. Good luck with its revival, I look forward to seeing its progress.

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Great. While certainly not without its issues (like being chock full of shite including saucepans and shoes) I did feel there was hope for this car. The suspension works, I did test that, and did my best to check the solidity around the offside suspension mount. Didn't feel crispy and none of it came away in my hand. As you can see, the nearside is complete guesswork. 

 

Sadly, I'm busy Friday morning but if help is needed later in the day, I can offer assistance with its collection.

 

Offer much appreciated Mr Wobbler, at the moment I'm not sure of timescales but I seriously doubt I'll be picking it up before lunch. The trailer (apparently) has a tilt bed and winch, so loading should be fairly easy even if things are seized. If you want to PM me your number, I could phone or text you when I'm in the area?

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Offer much appreciated Mr Wobbler, at the moment I'm not sure of timescales but I seriously doubt I'll be picking it up before lunch. The trailer (apparently) has a tilt bed and winch, so loading should be fairly easy even if things are seized. If you want to PM me your number, I could phone or text you when I'm in the area?

 

I shall drop you a PM.

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Yes this is indeed a leap of faith but on the other hand this fine little car is being taken on by someone who got a very bent Princess looking really quite chipper again. Furthermore, rather than use a Portapower he used a Maestro.

 

Wont be long before you're trundling around town, puffing on a Gitanes and muttering "zut alors".

 

I've only seen 1 on the road in the UK but they were almost omnipresent in Majorca when I holidayed there in 1994, even the series 1 model.

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