One of Four. My last 10.

In Renault on December 30, 2011 at 10:56 pm

One of my friends says I drive faster than anyone he knows.  Perhaps this unlikely car is the reason why.

As a car enthusiast from about the age of 4 my father guided me towards the Renault 10 as a “first car”. At the age of 18 I listened to his advice and promptly boughta  Fiat 127 instead. My little Italian marvel went like the clappers but was always going wrong.

So guess what came next?

Yup a Renault 10. A rather faded metallic blue one. Or maybe it was grey, whatever the original sheen had long gone and I vividly remember the day I collected it from the Red Lion Garage in Mortlake.

It was comically slow, and gave away 2 bhp to the little Fiat.  So there I was a young tearaway with just 43 bhp on tap.

But boy did we have fun.  The small fuel tank was empty by mid afternoon and a bunch of lads walking along the A23 just rushed up behind me and pushed at running speed a full mile to the nearest petrol station.  Corners needed respect as the engine hung out the back and the suspension was made from primitive swing arms.

This was the start of something special. I pretty soon came to realise the car could he husteled at ludicrous speeds.  The trick was to “keep your foot in” or risk an almighty spin when you lifted off.  So slow in, quick out was the motto.  The car needed to be delicately balanced.  Push to hard and the light front end would just wash out with understeer.

The best fun was had in the snow.  This thing was grown up cousin to the superb Renault 8 Gordini.  I once took Roz back from a party long before we got married, and in the snow at 5 mph in central Croydon I had a monstrous spin.  I dropped off and went out again to hone my technique.  The skinny tryes cut through the deep snow letting me set it up for the bends, whilst the heavy 5 bearing engine at the back provided unbelievable traction.

Remember this was all years before ABS, but somehow I never even banged a kerb.

So amybe this is were i gained my confidence behind the wheel.  I have no idea how many trips from Coulsdon to Cornwall ensued, but well remeber a classic battle with a then current BMW 635. On the largely un dualled A303 it just couldn’t lose me.  The dual carriageway straights saw me fall back, but on the single carriageways and twisty stuff I caught up.  The R10 was so narrow I could squeeze through narrow gaps any normal car would never attempt.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this car could handle abuse.

The engine was torquey, there were 4 disc brakes (yes, I even changed the pads myself).

More to follow….




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