I love Renault based American Specials – and most of you know why.
My first fiberglass sports car was the 1962 Shark Roadster – a Renault based American sports car that I’ve had nearly 40 years. That car led to my research into Sharks and that experience led to my interest in handcrafted cars across the world and that experience led to this website and more. Whew! Too much to share. Anyway, those of you want to learn more about the Shark can click on the links below.
So it’s not a big “leap” to understand why all Renault based specials interest me. My good friend Marvin McFalls, President of the North American Renault Owner’s Group and I, will soon be creating a section on Renault Specials in our website so watch this space – should be fun.
And think about this “Devin-Renault” combination – an American sports car special even though the Devin body was taken from an Italian styled sports car and the chassis / drivetrain is purely French. Those darn Americans….you never know what they’ll do next 🙂 Now on to today’s story – the Renault-Devin Special.
Luis Alarcos and the Devin-Renault Special
I met Luis Alarcos when he became interested in purchasing the Renault-based Devin Special that we had found in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It had been stored in a warehouse for 20+ years and the person selling it contacted me to see if we had interest. Here are some of the initial photos he sent me of the car.
Researching The Car
The Devin-Renault soon had a “special” new home in Tampa, Florida, and on June 3, 2018 the Devin arrived:
I love getting a chance to inspect handcrafted cars up close and personal when they arrive. There’s no better way to get to know the builder through the techniques they used to build the car. There are a variety of ways that a “Special” can be built and each one tells a slightly different “tale.” As you know, I’ve owned several Renault Specials and this one was built differently than all others.
A Renault in the 50s and 60s was a unibody car. Just like a Porsche 356, so when you cut the body off the pan, you have to strengthen it in other ways. This car only used a partial pan and additional frame rails were built to give strength to the chassis. It was nicely done, but interestingly the added frame rails only extended from the rear engine area thru the center door pan and stopped at the front door area – it did not continue further. See below:
A Renault is a rear engine car, and the trunk of the Renault 4CV donor car had been interestingly turned into the rear of the body – still covering the engine. Below you can see a restored Renault 4CV and how they used the trunk on the Devin-Renault Special:
The “5-star” wheels on the early postwar Renault 4CV’s have always been interesting to me. They are unique and I think have a rugged / attractive look for the car and are rarely found on specials in America. One of the reasons is that the more modern style steel rim wheel started around 1957 for Renault 4CV’s, and only one other Renault special in America that I know of sported these wheels – the prototype for the Shark roadster shown below.
The front is lacking a hood and the only access panel is for a battery – Renault’s rear engine cars located their battery up front. I think I may have opted for a symetrical hood. We’ll have to see what Luis will do during restoration.
Back in April this year, Luis sent me a photo of the restoration as its begun – and I like what I see. The floor pan has been removed and no doubt plans are for a new one to be installed. That will be great because the chassis will be strengthened even more – excellent move Luis. And the fiberglass body looks good – nicely repaired or ready and waiting for finishing.
Luis is making such good progress I wish he lived here in the states so I could learn and watch more. Great job Luis!
So we’ll continue to watch the restoration of Luis Alarcos’s Renault Devin from this side of the ocean and I’ll share more when I get a progress report and photos (keep ’em coming here Luis 🙂 And Luis….send some photos of Valladolid, Spain – I’d love to see the outside of your shop and some street scenes. For those of you interested, click here to learn more about Valladolid, Spain.
Those of you who would like to learn more about the Shark and other Renault based specials, click on the link below:
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.