The Renault Caravelle is a roadster automobile produced by the French manufacturer Renault between 1958 and 1968. Outside of North America for its first four years of production it was known as the Renault Floride.The Floride was unveiled at the 1958 Paris Motor Show. A small rear-engined convertible designed by Pietro Frua at Carrozzeria Ghia, it used the floorpan and engine of the Renault Dauphine sedan. The now infamously slow Dauphine running gear was something of a burden for the car however and it was dubbed ;a sheep in wolfs clothing; by the media in its early years. A model tuned by Renault performance guru Amedee Gordini was sold, which produced 40 hp (30 kW) as opposed to the standard models 35. The Floride was launched in the United States and Canada as the Renault Caravelle a year after its introduction in Europe.The cars lack of power was mitigated somewhat by the replacement in 1962 of its Dauphine-derived running gear with a new 956 cc engine from the recently launched Renault 8. The Caravelle name also replaced the Floride name in all markets from 1962 onwards. In 1964 another R8-derived engine of 1108 cc was introduced to the Caravelle, producing 55 hp (41 kW).The Florides body style, particularly the front end, has been acknowledged by former BMC designers as an inspiration for the MGB.The British ;Autocar; magazine tested a Renault Caravelle in November 1965. The car had a top speed of 89 mph (143 km/h) and accelerated from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.8 seconds. An ;overall; fuel consumption of 30.2 miles per imperial gallon (9.35 L/100 km; 25.1 mpg-US) was recorded. The Caravelles performance closely matched that of the contemporary Triumph Spitfire 4 under most headings, though the Spitfire was a couple of mph ahead on top speed. The British car market was still protected by tariffs at this time, but even allowing for that the Renault looks expensive in this company: The Caravelle came with a UK recommended price of £1,039 as against £666 for the Spitfire 4. The contemporary Austin Healey Sprite was both a little slower and a little cheaper than the Spitfire.
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