I can’t believe I never featured one of the most remarkable retirees down in Old Car City USA. This Renault Caravelle is extremely rare in the United States, making finding a junked example unlikely.

Before we go further, this junkyard-turned-tourist-trap bills itself as a “photographer’s paradise,” which has proved itself to be an apt moniker. I wrote a full review, which can be found below.

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Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault

There, let’s just take this in. Just off the main yard by the entrance lies pure unadulterated Gallic charm. Just absorb the graceful arch of the front combines with the headlight cutouts to achieve a thoroughly original grilleless front end. The Renault just exudes elegance.

Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault

Check out the spare tire hidden under front bumper! The bumper curves up to allow easy removal. And the words C A R A V E L L E fit the front end rather well too. And don’t let me forget, FENDER MIRRORS!

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The bumper does appear to have some rust, but more noteworthy is the 717o sticker that has kept some of it at bay. Perhaps a parking spot number?

Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault
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Moving on to the profile view, things don’t get less interesting. The crease before the rear wheel is often used to provide cooling in rear-engined cars, but not in this one! Strangely, the European market Caravelle, called the Floride in its home country, did have a cooling slat there. The side chrome strip is supposed to continue all the way to the rear of the car, but I suspect it fell off when that dent in the rear occurred.

The driver’s side quarter window was open, giving a glimpse of the opulent cabin within.

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Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault

Wow, everything is there! This car is entirely complete, even down to the padded vinyl dash! The floorboards did not even appear to be rusted out either, though I’m sure most of the upholstery is toast.

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Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault

Moving to the rear, the cooling system takes up most of the real estate. The thin chrome bumper does accent the graceful rear grille nicely. The Pennsylvania plate is surprising too, since it currently lies in rural Georgia.

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The taillights are accented by some tacked-on reflectors to comply with American safety regulation. The plastics are completely toast too, and I cannot imagine that finding replacement taillight lenses would be easy. A custom casting would probably be the only option.

Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault
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R-E-N-A-U-L-T

Illustration for article titled DIOCCUSA: Rare Rear-Engined Renault
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I don’t know much about this carbureted four cylinder engine. It looks like it had a cooling fan on the rear driven directly off the crankshaft, which is interesting and probably inefficient.

I am sure there is a lot I don’t know about this car, so what can you tell me, Oppo?

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