They were originally manufactured here in Melbourne by Renault Australia built from an imported mechanical kit. Body and interior fittings weremade locally with the car containing around 50% local content. The priceof these models were around the same price as the locally made Holden,Falcon and Chrysler Valiant all having six cylinder engines, so not a largenumber were sold.
In 1969 the R16TS was released with an even higher price tag, but loads of performance equalling that of the big sixes. General passive safetyfeatures made these cars a better performer than many of the then productioncars. They did look funny though, and it was not until you drove them thatyou raelised what a good car they really were for their time. They sufferedmainly from torque steer, water leaks from the front ventilation, and bentlower front wishbones. The bent wishbones were later fixed by a streangthenedversion which was continued throughout the line. The TS version was evenmore pricey than the TL and put them at the higher end of the market. Thismeant that there were not a lot sold, and they were a good buy second handbecause of market devaluation.
They continued production here until 1976 when new engine emission standards came into force putting Australia ahead of world standards and thereforethe R16 engine did not comply. The car was really at the end of the modelcycle and modifying the engine to comply could not be justified so therange was dropped. The R12 was upgraded with the 1.4Litre engine to fillthe gap until the R20 release.
The car unfortunately is not as popular as the R12 and there are veryfew still running, and it is not a "restorer's" car at present. My onewas a work horse and one can leave them anywhere as they are not the typeof car that anyone would steal. I could always be sure that it would beat the railway station when I got home at night, and also at the airportcar park after returning from business trips. It used to go and go withvery little maintenance. It had adequate power and very economical to run.I used to tow the "Frog" to the races with it, but the law changed andI could not use it for that. My children can't understand why I like it,but I just do. They call it the "white rhino" and always complained "dowe have to go in the 16?"
It has travelled 280,000km and I have just replaced the gearbox andwould you believe it, a piston colapsed and con rod now goes in and outof the side of the block. Fortunately I have a spare engine. It has beenrun into and Tim ran up the back of another car so it now has an earliermodel grille.
|Ran it at a Lap Dash at Catalina park raceway - a disused racing circut.||Coming out of the "tunnel" in third gear and 6000rpm untilit put the front wheel on the ground, then 4000rpm||Another Son Martyn at a khanacross in Bathurst.|
|Cathy driving it at a motorkhana.||Suzie driving it at a hillclimb, a great car to learn todrivr fast in.||Found another motorkhana one with Cathy driving.|
|Not a racer, but a streched limo for the after race parties.||Heading for the recycler. The engine blew up after 280k Km and I couldnot give it away to anyone. Reluctantly it went to the tip after taking off some hard to get bits for a friend who has two. It is replaced by a1981 model Peugeot 505 which can legally tow the "Frog".|
For more complete information on the specs of the R16 and some otherphotos, have a look at Oliver'sRenault R16 homepage.