A blight on God’s clean Earth #6 – Old mid-range Renaults

Some twenty-odd years ago, I used to have a strange personal theory related to cars that went something like this: in general, you could tell how reliable cars were just by looking at them. Fiat Unos and Citroen BXs looked all rickety and fragile, while VW Passats and Mercedes in general had the aspect of having been chiselled from a single lump of metal. Funnily enough, many of these appreciations turned out to hold true (except for the Citroen BX), and I still stand by it. Perhaps the human eye can detect the irregularities of spacing between body panels and between other outer components. and another piece of evidence supporting this are 90’s Renault sedans. Just gazing upon a Renault 19 or a 1st-generation Renault Megane gives one an inkling on just how craptacular these cars were. And they were the BMWs, Audis and Mercedes of their day, i.e., it didn’t matter how pathetic they looked, they still sold by the countless cartloads. There were so many, it was inevitable that I’d know someone whose parents owned them, and I’d eventually get a lift from one of them and be able just how cheap and nasty they felt, both inside and out. And even other French and Italian car makers who would churn out low-cost vehicles for the masses managed to make their products look like they had the tiniest bit more quality than they actually did. And what’s more, the horror show was endless, with too many different models in the range. There was the R19 coupé, the Chamade, the four and five-door Megane, the Scenic… argh, just so many different disgusting models to appease the average tasteless driver.

But, as destiny happily would have it, the dismal quality of these cars saw their quick end. It’s not that rare to see an early 90’s Passat or Merc, neither is it that difficult do see a BX, rather surprisingly. But it is rare to see an R19, and when you do, it’s in a sorry state, usually with mismatched body panels, all with dents in them, and the general aspect of being held together by glue, string, sticky tape and lots of prayers. The later Meganes still haunt the roads on somewhat larger numbers, but only because they’re more recent. For once, they were many… and now, they are few… thankfully.

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