The Renaults that time forgot: the Vel Satis and the Avantime

17 Jul

Continuing on the Renault theme, today I thought I would tip my hat and raise a glass and say hip-hip-hooray to two of Renault’s forgotten heroes: the Vel Satis and the Avantime. What do those names mean? Well, Avantime in Franglais is, sort of, before time and Vel Satis is, so I’ve heard, the managing director of Renault Luxembourg’s favourite Vietnamese restaurant. Just kidding, who knows what the hell that means. As for the cars, from whence they came I know not. There were Renault, happily plodding along making Scenics and Lagunas and all of a sudden…..BAM! Here you go, have two strange-looking people carrier type cars. Except one is two-tone and only has three doors and the other’s a lofty MPV-cum-limo type thing. Very odd.

But they looked brilliant, the Avantime with its aforementioned 3 doors and slats in its headlights, the Vel Satis with its imperious grille and wedge shaped rear-end. People should have stood applauding Renault and instead, they chased after the Avantime and the Vel Satis with pitchforks and torches, hounding them into an automotive cave where they were left to depreciate alone. Bad news for them but not so bad for me, because whilst Carficionado is not a Wheeler Dealer type of blog, I don’t mind telling you that some of these cars look like quite tasty little second hand motors, lovely jubbly etc. My curious eye has passed over a few in my search for my new old car, and whilst they’re still slightly out of my budget,, I may consider doing a little stretch to get hold of something with so much class and exclusivity. Heading the list is the Vel Satis, both because it’s slightly more practical for what I have in mind and also because only about three Avantimes were ever sold in the UK and thus they are few and far between on the car market. I doubt whether a Vel Satis is an investment piece (well, who knows) but I think it would look most excellent sitting there waiting for me in the morning, ready to offer up its shrugging Gallic comfort on my morning commute. Je l’aime. And you should too. Renault, just so you know, I appreciated your being bold. Just a shame no-one else did.

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