Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mistaken Identity: 1962 Renault Dauphine

The buzz phrases to use in car listings lately seem to be One Owner & Barn Find.  Both are rarely true or used in the correct context.  Unfortunately, this has lead to a new batch of self-proclaimed car hunters roaming the streets trying to cash in on the classic car market frenzy.  This Renault was apparently discovered by a marine biologist or sea mammal enthusiast.  Find this Renault Dauphine incorrectly listed as a "Dolphin" for sale in Woodbridge, NJ for $3,500 via craigslist.

Produced from 1956 - 67, the Dauphine was Renault's successor to the 4CV and is credited with helping pioneer the modern European economy car.  Like many of it's peers in the day, it was a simple and cheap car to produce.  The rear mounted 4 cylinder engine configuration was aimed squarely at VW & Fiat buyers.

Pictures supplied in the ad are limited to the exterior and show a decent body condition.  Without knowing what lies underneath, the car does look to be a true survivor.  The seller states the engine was running three years ago, and it even comes with the "original dust"...whatever that is.

This car was all about utility and economy, nothing fancy here.  If you are looking for obscurity, this is it.  Too many Beetles on the road for your liking?  Hoards of Fiat's ruining your exclusivity?  Well, it's almost guaranteed you won't be waving at any fellow Dauphine owners whilst making a morning run for fromage & baguettes. Making it street-worthy again would be an onerous task, but a fun one no less for the rear-engine automobile enthusiast.  

See another miss-labeled classic with an identify crisis? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

When not receiving complaints of "distracted by cars...again" from his wife, Glenn can be found in the kitchen whipping up exotic cuisine and nourishing nosh.


  1. I know I have seen that parking brake somewhere before.....

    1. But seriously, these were more comfortable than either the VW or Fiat competition. Also had development potential, thanks to Gordini. This appears to be a structurally solid and complete car, two things that are worth a lot at this price point. If your motto is "Vive la difference", I say "Allez-y!".

  2. Every time I look at one of these Dolphins, I think of the young French Regent and heir to Louis the XIV and my own misbegotten youth. Circa 1962 one of these sat down the street day in and day out as my chauffeur took me the one block to school. The limo inevitably ended up on line behind the one carrying the young Donald Trump.

  3. The guy called it a can so maybe it is canned Dolphin the other oh la la tuna fish.

  4. A Dauphine is the only vehicle I have personally witnessed breaking in half (okay, 1/3 - 2/3); car was about ten years old, being driven by a VW sales manager back from an appraisal test drive, it came apart at a the cowl when he pulled into the used car lot. Check carefully for rust...

    1. Back in the 70s,breaking at the front cowl used to be a common end for Datsun 510s and Toyota Corollas up here in the salt belt. It made it really easy to get the engines out... But yes, French cars of this era are very prone to Tin Worm (Ver d'étain?).


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