French Flop: 1977 Renault 12TS Sedan – SOLD!

by | Feb 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

February 20, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

February 9, 2023 Update – The private seller continued replacing their Craigslist post after only one week.  This time, they decided to lower their asking price by an additional one thousand dollars to land at $15,500.

February 3, 2023 Update – The private seller waited two weeks for their latest updated listing to replace their last Craigslist ad.  In their latest version, the seller decided to lower their asking price by another one thousand dollars to land at $16,500.

January 20, 2023 Update – Right on schedule, the seller replaced their last Craigslist ad with a fresh listing after just one week.  While the seller added some hero shots of the car on Daytona racetrack, the seller remains firm, asking $17,500 on this Renault that’s only been driven 2K miles since the completion of its restoration.

January 12, 2023 Update – The seller prefers changing their listing every other week, likely in an effort to keep their ads relevant at the top of Craigslist. In their latest update, the seller lowered their asking price from $19,950 to $17,500.

January 2, 2023 Update – The private seller replaced their expiring Craigslist ad with a fresh listing. While the pictures and description remain identical, the seller decided to lower their asking price from $22,500 to $19,950.

Renault struggled to make significant inroads into the U.S. market throughout its history.  By the 1970s, like many other manufacturers, Renault saw their already marginal U.S. sales decline at the hands of less expensive and more reliable Japanese imports.  Consequently, many of Renault’s more popular European models were rarely seen on U.S. roads.

One such example is this restored 1977 Renault 12TS, last listed in February 2023 on Craigslist in Jacksonville, Florida features only two thousand miles on a rotisserie-restored example that the seller reports features only new or rebuilt parts.  If you wanted an R12 when new but could not afford one, now is your chance to own the nicest example likely available anywhere.

The  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask is nearly double this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $12,000.

Renault introduced its midsize R12 family sedan in October 1969.  Available as either a sedan or station wagon, Renault produced the R12 in a number of countries through 2006, although it was only offered through 1980 in its home country.

In its first few years, the 12 received praise from the European press for its spacious, comfortable interior, styling, performance, and low fuel consumption. However, it fared worse in the North American press: in a test of the 1974 model, Road & Track was critical of the engine’s “obtrusive” noise and called the heavy, non-power steering “a serious design flaw.” They also gave it “very poor marks” for the ventilation system.

Renault 12 production and sales ended in western Europe in 1980, but the model continued to be produced and sold by Renault affiliates elsewhere. The last R12 was produced in 2000 in Turkey, while Romanian automaker Dacia continued producing the R12-based 1310 saloon and estate until 2004 and the R12-based Dacia Pick-Up until December 2006.

The United States-market Renault 12 was presented in the Bois de Boulogne in May 1971, followed by a presentation to American Renault dealers at the Doral Country Club near Miami shortly thereafter.  The federalized R12 originally only came as a TL sedan or a Station Wagon (the first wagon to be sold by Renault in the US), but later a plain base version and the 12 L trim lines were added. They ranged in price from the introductory US$ 2195 to US$4498 for the final Station Wagon.  US models differ in their quad headlamps and side marker lights, as well as by having a bump in the bonnet to clear the larger engine and its associated emissions hardware.

The 12 was slightly larger than most European imports, and the longitudinal front-wheel drive layout contrasted with most. The engine, an all-aluminum 1565 cc unit with steel cylinder liners, was shared with the Renault 16 and was specific to the U.S. market. However, the 12 received a two-barrel Solex carburetor and slightly more power.  For 1974, the compression ratio dropped to 7.5:1, with power slipping.  For the 1976 model year, a two-barrel carburetor and a higher compression ratio meant slightly more power, while a more luxurious GTL model topped the lineup.  Sales were marginal due to the growing popularity of Japanese imports and their growing reputation of dependability and cost-effective operation. The Renault 12 was introduced late in 1971, with sales continuing through 1977. Outside of the U.S., the Renault 12 was a successful car, selling 2.5 million units.

The Osborn Tramain YouTube Channel features this 1972 U.S. Renault R12 commercial:

If you’re into French cars and want to add a rarely-seen Malaise Era ride to your collection, this freshly restored 1977 Renault 12TS for sale might be the car for you.

If you are serious about buying this rare-in-the-US Renault, you can start the conversation by calling or texting the seller at (904) 651-6271.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Like new condition 1977 Renault 12TS Made in France. Recently fully restored rotisserie style, with everything New or Rebuild, it’s like buying a brand new R12. For details, call or text my number. Imported from Europe. Private sale. Clean and clear FL title in hand.
Comes with many spare parts.
I have all the paperwork since the car was new and owner’s history, and all restoration details and pictures.
Car drove great from Jax to Daytona and back for the Turkey Run.”

Show or go: What would you do with this restored 1977 Renault 12TS for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Steve

    $22,500? That must be a typo, it should read $2,250.


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