1970s / Driven daily / French / Renault

Driven daily: Renault 6 TL

renault-6-tl-6Entry-level Renaults from the 1970s and the 1980s were produced in enormous numbers so they are a common sight on French roads today.  Folks tend to hang on to them for longer than average and many unrestored 4s and 5s are still used daily, especially in more rural areas of the country.

The exception is the Renault 6.  Launched at the 1968 Paris Motor Show as a more up-scale alternative to the 4, the 6 was immediately criticized for its lack of power and its questionable looks.   Renault fixed the first issue by fitting the car with a more potent 1,108cc four-cylinder in 1970, and it gave the hatchback its only major facelift in 1974.

Still, the 6 remained the black sheep of the Renault family until it was phased out in early 1981.  Time has not been kind to it and a well-preserved example can be found for less than a thousand euros.  Unfortunately, these are often picked up by buyers seeking a cheap car and not by collectors.  The number of 6s left is steadily dropping, marking a stark contrast with the rising number of 4s and 5s that pop up at car shows.

renault-6-tl-1Walking through a seaside town late at night, we glanced down at a big parking lot and an angular roofline stood out from the mass of curved A-pillars – a Renault 6!

A closer look revealed that aside from the steel wheels (which can come from a variety of Renault vehicles ranging from a 12 Gordini to a 4 Clan), the hatchback is entirely original and remarkably well preserved.  This is important to note because, as we mentioned earlier, a lot of the remaining 6s are ruthlessly used as work vehicles.

The 6 TL we spotted is no longer wearing its original registration number but we can tell that it was built between 1977 and 1981 because it is fitted with two lights mounted on each side of the rear license plate instead of a single light mounted directly above it.

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