1966 Renault 16 De Luxe - owned by Duncan Topliss

The owner of this fantastic Renault  – “the oldest known surviving right-hand-drive example,” he says proudly – was originally looking for a classic Renault van. In the event, Duncan Topliss became the owner of MPD 39D, a 16 produced in 1965.

His 16 hails from a time when buying a new, five-door, front-wheel-drive saloon with an asymmetrical wheelbase was on a par with a Hampshire solicitor forming a Rolling Stones tribute band. 

The 16 debuted at the  where it instantly appealed to the bourgeoisie who considered the Simca 1500 and the Peugeot 404 too staid. British imports commenced in the autumn of that year, and the Renault was favoured by those motorists who regarded a Vauxhall Victor Estate as the epitome of suburban conformity. 

At £888 9s 7d for the De Luxe and £919 17s 11d for the Grand Luxe the 16 was not an especially cheap prospect, but then what price owning the Car of The Year 1966

Practical Motorist raved about how the Renault “handles beautifully” and boasted “a standard of interior comfort that one or two British medium-car builders could copy to advantage”. Some regarded the 16’s distinctive looks as a further selling point, even if Car 三级成人视频magazine rather rudely stated it was “no oil painting”.

The interior was basic, although comfort on the bench seats was assured

Nor did any  Longbridge and Dagenham product offer , including suspending the rear backrest from the grab handles.

Production of the R16 ceased in January 1980 after 1,845,959 units, by which time they were a ubiquitous sight on both sides of the Channel. . Topliss pointing out that “rot is a very common problem, but the rear chassis on my car has been sorted out”. He first encountered the De Luxe at the 2015 Classic Car Show when the Renault Classic Car Club won Lancaster Insurance’s ‘Best Stand’ prize.

Topliss bought the 16 four years later: “It was last owned by the late Mick Stokes, who was the model expert in the UK, and I am still tracing its history. The car is 95 per cent original, and the paint has been virtually untouched since 1966.” 

As with the smaller Renault 4, introduced four years earlier, the 16's interior majored in practicality

As a De Luxe it is devoid of a rear folding armrest, a cigarette lighter, separate reclining seats and other such luxuries. Simplicity is the keynote of the interior, from the strip speedometer to the switches apparently hurled at the facia. 

Topliss  finds the front bench seat “very comfortable” and in the mid-1960s many families would travel “six-up” – in comfort, naturally – along French autoroutes 三级成人视频for their four weeks on the south coast every August.

Although rust is a problem with Renaults of this vintage, this one is said to be 95 cent original and still has its factory-applied paint

As a longstanding Renault aficionado (“the first car I drove was my father’s 16TL”), Topliss is very familiar with the model’s characteristics. Early versions were powered by a 1,470cc unit that is “basically the same as [that of] the Lotus Europa, only slightly less tuned.

It is a brilliant engine and very torquey”. The 16 retained a steering-column gearchange throughout its lifespan and Topliss regards it as “a good example of its type, although my car has an earlier layout, which took some acclimatising”.

Locating the spare wheel in the engine bay freed up space for luggage in the hatchback-equipped boot

三级成人视频Above all, MPD 39D is a reminder that the difference between the 16 and a British-built Cambridge, Corsair, Super Minx or Oxford is akin to a Serge Gainsbourg record versus The Billy Cotton Band Show. 

三级成人视频Fifty-four years ago, the advertisements promised “a brilliant new design” – and the Topliss Renault demonstrates this was no mere hyperbole.

More on classic Renaults in the UK at

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