Friday, September 12, 2014

5k: Not A Beetle: 1956 Renault 4CV

The Renault 4CV (quatre chevaux) was a small rear-engined economy car designed as a French equivalent to the VW Beetle and sold around the world from 1947-1961.  Emerging from the ravages of the second world war, Renault presented the 4CV at the 1946 Paris Auto Show.  The car was promptly nicknamed la motte de beurre (the lump of butter) for a combination of its shape and the sand colored paint used in the first cars that was allegedly surplus paint from Rommel's Afrika Korps. Find this 1956 Renault 4CV offered for $3,500 in Anaconda, MT via craigslist. Tip from AbnMike.

The 4CV was originally named for its 4 tax-horsepower engine rating, not brake hp, but a calculation based on engine size alone.  This particular example looks like it is wearing a VW rear bumper and VW tail lights, which seems strange.  The paint scheme makes it look even more Beetle-esq, and the wheels, although stock looking, need hub caps. 

The 747 cc inline-4 cylinder engine in the back was rated at 17 horsepower when new and mated to a 3-speed manual gearbox.  Fuel goes under the hood on the right side just above the battery (you can see the fuel filter below it) and the radiator gets fill below the back window (radiator is below it.  Hard to tell from the blurry pics, but this one looks like it might have an updated alternator.

The interior is spartan, what you would expect from a 50s economy car, and this one looks okay, except that it appears to be missing some stuff (horn center) radio, some exterior chrome bits.

See a cheaper way to get into a vintage Beetle competitor?


  1. I'm no Renault expert but if someone was truly interested in this car, had called the owner, discussed it, and was still interested but wanted a third party to look it over I'm just up the road from it.

    Again, I know zilch about Renault but I could take photos - not for lookey-loos, but someone really interested, but you'd have to reach out to the owner to set it up.

    If I had a place to store it for the winter I'd likely grab it. The ones I've seen on BaT and Fleabay go for $7,000 and up, and last week he had it listed at $4500.

  2. If this is not rusty (or rusted-and-badly-fixed) it is a good deal for an oddball car. You may be shocked to realize how tiny these are in person. They have a solid following in France, so parts are available. With a little searching, you could even find some old Gordini bits, and these share a lot of mechanicals with some later (1960s) Renaults.

  3. I had a Renault Dauphine while my friends had there VW bugs and I loved that little car

  4. Price dropped to $3K OBO


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