1957 Renault 4CV

When I purchased this car and dragged it home, I started to think seriously about finding a 12-step program for French car addicts.

I stopped by my trusty Renault mechanic on a whim just to say hi. I immediately noticed an old 4CV sitting in his lot. It was actually the first time I'd ever seen one in real life. I asked him what was up with it, and he said he'd sell it to me for a quick $500. When he said that he did have the rear fenders and lots of extras, and could have it dragged out to my property for a mere $25, I decided that I had to go for it. How could I say no? After all, the first step is to admit that we are powerless over the allure of old, obsolete, and battered French cars.

I made a feeble attempt to get the car going again. The engine did run, but not very well. I put the rear fenders back on. I tried to get the brakes working, until my mechanic pointed out that I was using modern brake fluid that would destroy all the seals.

For a while it would start up and I could move it under its own power at least to change its location in the yard when I needed to mow. After a while I couldn't get it started at all any more.

I put it up for sale on eBay. It actually sold. I got like $750 for it. But unfortunately the guy backed out. He was honorable, but after the end of the auction his kids moved out of his estranged wife's house and landed on his doorstep. He paid me off $250 to not report him to eBay.

I went through the emails I'd received during the action and found a guy who was still interested. His father had owned one when this guy was a kid. The father was now dying of cancer, so the guy wanted to buy this one and get it running enough to take his dad once around the block. I said that this car would be a good candidate, because I didn't know if it had any more than that in it. It seemed like a sweet deal, but he started hesitating a lot. Sensing something, I have him an out, and he took it. It was a fun idea, but after he had time to think about it he didn't want all the trouble.

Then there was that day the tree came down. The 4CV was lined up between the Fuego and the Beetle. Those two took the brunt of it. All that really happened to the 4CV was that the top got pretty badly dented where a branch hit it, and the same to a much lesser degree on the engine cover.

It was sitting off in the yard for some time, and a passing redneck stopped by to inquire about it. Apparently it was becoming vogue in the local hotrod community to take old European mini's like that and put them on a solid chassis with modern hotrod power plant. I said I wasn't averse to the idea. I wouldn't have wanted it parted out, but to take on a project like that with a 4CV, I was like, sure, go ahead. Unfortunately the guy never called and he never stopped back.

After several years of it sitting in the way, I got an email out of the blue from someone who found it from a Google search on 4cv. I told him it was his if he wanted it. Long story short, he came and got it from me and paid me I think exactly what I paid for it.

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