Renault 8 and 10

The R8's rear-mounted engine was only 956cc, much smaller than the Peugot 403's engine, but the car was so much lighter that it accelerated faster. On road trips, the R8 exceeded 45 miles per gallon. The combination of rear engine and rear wheel drive did contribute to a bit of oversteer......

The R8 became my daily drive for high school, a two week no-parents "college hunting" trip, and all kinds of adventures. Like climbing Mount Washington, and trips to the sports car races out at Lime Rock. As a certified teenage gearhead, I dreamed of getting the Gordini version of the R8 in the traditional blue and white livery.

Public domain image by Wikipedia author Welkinridge

GNU Free Documentation License photo by Wikipedia user Ericd

On one occasion, the bolt holding the air cleaner broke off where it screwed into the carb. The threaded portion worked its way out, fell into the carb throat, and jammed the plate open. Wide open. (At the time I didn't know that was the reason.....) The R8 took off like a rocket. Hitting the gas pedal did nothing. Luckily, this was on a highway with little traffic.

Eventually, I regained throttle control, and continued to a restaurant. After the meal, I started the car and heard "BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!". Something was definitely wrong, like a dropped valve, or thrown rod. Towed the car home. Took the cylinder head off. Valves were all there, but one of the combustion chambers had partial screw threads embedded in it. And sure enough, the corresponding piston had the little piece of the bolt "welded" onto it. Chiseled it off, smoothed the thread peaks off the piston and head, and put it back together. Ran like a top afterward.

The Renault R10 was very similar to the R8, but had a marginally larger and more powerful 1108cc engine and a longer nose.

Additional Renault 8 and Renault 10 images from Google Image Search.