1970s / French / Renault / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: Renault 4 GTL

This Renault 4 GTL goes to show that there are abandoned cars hiding everywhere — you just need to find them.

It’s sitting upside down in a ditch on the side of a road that I’ve been taking on a regular basis for years. I’ve never noticed it before because it was covered by a thick layer of wild brush up until a few days ago.

It’s largely complete. The only major parts missing are the seats, the wheels, the exhaust, and the rear brake shoes. And, of course, the plates, which indicates it was likely pushed into the ditch to claim insurance money. It could be stolen, too, but most of the stolen cars I’ve found in ditches in this area were stripped to some extent.

It’s difficult to tell precisely when this 4 was built without looking at its VIN number, but a little bit of automotive archaeology allows us to narrow it down to 1978 or 1979. The GTL model (with the bigger 1,108cc four-cylinder engine) was introduced in January of 1978. In September of 1979, the GTL got a new exhaust line that exited at the rear of the car. The exhaust line is missing on this one, but its mounting points are clearly visible on the driver’s side of the chassis.


One thought on “Rust in peace: Renault 4 GTL

  1. Being from the states, we see stuff like this at every turn. It seems a requirement for farmland to have at least 3 rusting pickups next to the barn. I just returned from a 12 day trip around Scotland, into the depths of the rural farming communities and I did not see a single abandoned vehicle nor tractor, be it on property or off. What gives? Is there strict government regulations that send all unregistered vehicles to the crusher? I was quite baffled at this as well the extreme lack of vintage autos on the road. PS – Fiat 500’s are gutless, but perfect for those single lane roads. The road to Applecross was challenging, but very fun, having to use 1st gear on some of the hills sections.

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