A look back at the Renault 12 (1969 – 1980) 0


The Renault 12 was designed to be an all encompassing replacement for the company’s mid-sized range of saloons, the rear engined R10 in particular which by the late 1960s was looking dated and out of touch with the competition. It was also seen as a potential bridge between the R8 and R16 models and a competitor for the Peugeot 304, Ford Escort and Fiat 124.

The finished product was light years ahead of its time, state of the art – its styling almost fastback – hinting at a hatchback layout. Its mechanical setup was pretty nifty too – it was longitudinal front-wheel drive, the engine ahead of the gearbox and once it entered service it proved to be a very reliable.

The Renault 12 was manufactured in a number of locations, Turkey and Romania amongst them, where the Dacia pick-up version was still in production until 2006.

In the UK, it’s now very unlikely you’ll see a surviving 12 (or even in France for that matter). Rust has taken its toll and despite their great popularity and enduring appeal only 103 are still known to exist globally.  

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