1962 Renault Dauphine is French ‘princess’

1962 Renault Dauphine is French ‘princess’

Pick of the Day was popular import in the late ’50s, early ’60s

Editor’s note: November is Import Month on the ClassicCars.com Journal. Get all the news you could ever need about German, English, French, Italian, Japanese and lots of other cars at our dedicated page.

In the early 1960s, it was not at all unusual to see a small, nicely rounded compact car puttering around American roadways — and, no, we’re not talking here about the Volkswagen Beetle. 

The subject is another European import, but this one is from France. It’s the Renault Dauphine, a car that Time magazine noted in 1958 “has come up fastest in the US market in the past year… already outselling Volkswagen in eleven U.S. states, including Texas.”

The Pick of the Day, being advertised on ClassicCars.com by a specialist dealership in Old Bethpage, New York, is a 1962 Renault Dauphine recently imported from France and driven only 33,500 miles — or 54,000 kilometers as its odometer indicates — since new.

By 1959, Renault was selling more than 100,000 vehicles a year in the U.S. new-car market and had a network of more than 400 dealerships.

Its primary product was the Dauphine (Dauphine is a French word for a female heir to the throne or, if you prefer, princess).

Renault launched its successor to the 4CV during calendar year 1956. It was a compact four-door sedan with a rear-mounted 4-cylinder engine and headlamps attached to the front-hinged hood. It also had undergone 2 million miles of development testing in various climates before its launch.

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In the early ‘60s, engine and suspension were upgraded.

According to the dealership offering the 1962 Dauphine for sale, “This little Super Micro Class vehicle starts runs, shifts and drives perfectly. It is actually quite amazing to see her on the road. She drives smooth and straight with NO issues at all. 

“Surprisingly, she has quite a bit of power and can keep up with today’s traffic. The original 845cc Inline 4-cylinder engine with a 3-speed manual synchromesh transmission.”

The dealership notes that the car was repainted in its original factory shade and that the interior, with its blue plaid cloth, appears to be original, and with all features and gauges working as they should.

The car is for sale for $17,500.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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8 Comments

  • Jay Engel
    November 19, 2018, 6:08 AM

    My Mom had a real yen for this car!! She was into cutesy small cars… an antithesise to the Buick’s my Dad drove.
    As much as she enjoyed the cuteness of the Dauphine not to mention the tow horn and the COUNTRY horn…. after 8 months she bought a green Peugeot 403!!!!

    REPLY
  • Jay Wood
    November 19, 2018, 7:40 AM

    Love the car

    REPLY
  • Walter Hodges
    November 19, 2018, 7:44 AM

    Larry,

    Don’t comment often, but had to on this one. The photo brought a tear,

    Best high school friend, Harry Palmer, received one of these from his parents at graduation. It replaced the Model A they’d given him in 10th. grade ( I loved the A, he hated it ). Although the Renault was the peppier Gordini version, it was clear his parents didn’t want their only child driving as fast and crazy as his Dad ( big block Pontiac ).

    Harry joined the Marines and came home on leave with a hot 55 Chevy cvt. He promptly wrecked it. With it’s replacement, he hit a concrete bridge abutment flipping the 2nd. 55 cvt. into a creek and drowned under it.

    If he’d only kept the Renault.

    Still missed by Walt Hodges

    Chichester High School Class of 64

    Boothwyn, PA

    REPLY
  • Frank Amaral
    November 19, 2018, 9:12 AM

    When I was a kid my dad owned one of these, same colour when we lived in Europe, He only had it for a while as he dabbed in buying and selling cars. It was a great car. If he was still with us he would laugh at the price. WOW. These things were not very expensive and there were alot of them around.

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  • Mike Paull
    November 19, 2018, 12:45 PM

    Funny, I always thought Renault (back when you pronounced it with the "LT" ) Translated into "Butt ugly, unreliable POS".

    REPLY
    • Norman Spirit@Mike Paull
      November 19, 2018, 2:05 PM

      To Mike Paull, compared to the direct competition, i.e. the Volkswagen Bug, I’d hardly call this car ugly. As for reliability, my recollection was that it was as good as any of the others in class. VW "reliability" has always been overstated. And anyway, the Renault was so much faster than the VW you’d be where you were going before the VW got over the first good hill. And should we talk about the "heater" in a VW as opposed to that in the Princess? Or the all-synchro gearbox as opposed to the VW? Or that you could not only get the Gordini-tuned version but the Tropical version as well?

      REPLY

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