A classic Renault that is rarely seen on Dutch and Belgian roads nowadays. Not that big a surprise, considering that most of the production was destined for the America’s anyway. The ones left behind in Europe suffered a lesser faith, with the bodywork being favorite to the ever hungry rust devil. A French ‘treat’ with an appealing Italian design, prone to be literally ‘eaten’ by rust.
During a trip to the USA, the delegates of the Renault factory got a clear message from the dealerships they visited: We want our own cabriolet in the price list! Boosted by the success of Volkswagens’ Karmann Ghia, Renault managed to translate the successful concept of combining a standard car and corresponding underpinnings with designer looks into the Renault Floride. Named after the state of Florida, where the original idea rose. Basically just a Dauphine with an Italian frock, the Florida was a stunner.
Erik Possemiers got hooked on Renault through his father. Renault was the only car he ever drove, which had its effects on Erik’s later choice in cars. Like his father he sticks to Renault, although he wasn’t really passionate about the heritage of the make at first. That is, until he went shopping for a brand new Laguna and stumbled upon a stylishly green Renault Floride in the showroom. Love at first sight, although the little gem wasn’t even for sale. It had been in that window for over thirty years and belonged to the family. Being smitten for the looks of the car, Erik settled for its successor, the Renault Caravelle, not that much later. The Florida and the Caravelle sold reasonably well in the States, usually as a car for ‘the misses’. Renault supported it with advertising campaigns sporting Brigitte Bardot, giving elegance a double meaning. It worked a charm in selling the car to the middle class in Europe, the ‘bourgeoisie’ that could afford a second car in times where most people didn’t even own one. Not very sporty, but a right looker and technically simple and easy to maintain.
A car that existed purely for its looks, made for relaxed touring along the countryside and boulevards. It’s exactly this appealing bodywork that was point of discussion between coach builder Ghia and designer Pietro Frua when it came to patents on the design of the little cabriolet. By the way, besides the cabriolet there was a little coupé as well and most convertibles were sold with the additional hard top that suited its looks very nicely. Erik’s love for the convertible Renault sprouted in the showroom where he bought his modern wheels. A nice original example that, mainly because it had been in that showroom for thirty years, hadn’t been attacked by rust at all. The love for this particular car didn’t fade, not even after buying the Caravelle instead. That’s how he became a regular visitor to his ‘first love’.
That’s just how these things go. In the end Erik managed to persuade the family to sell him their stunning green Floride. Erik now owns both a Florida and a Caravelle. Enjoy the video on Erik and his babies and get acquainted with a sweet piece of Renault heritage.