The Renault 12 was one of those unassuming cars that no-one ever really seemed to raise a fuss about. And yet, they seemed to be everywhere in the 70s and far beyond. Apart from France, they were also made in Portugal, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Venezula and Belgium. That’s quite a list!
This Rally version comes all the way from Argentina! And this is not a total flight of fancy either - the Alpine and Gordini versions were often used as Rally cars.
Another South American cousin of the Renault 12 was the Brazilian Ford Corcel. How did Ford end up making a car related to a Renault? The Corcel’s origins lay in the Renault 12.Willys-Overland’s Brazilian operations included manufacturing the Renault Dauphine as the Willys Dauphine/Gordini/1093/Teimoso. Plans were underway to replace this outmoded range with a new car based on the upcoming Renault 12, internally referred to as “Project M”. When Willys do Brasil was bought by Ford do Brasil in 1967, Ford inherited the project. The Corcel was actually presented nearly two years before the Renault 12.
Anyway, that’s what Wikipedia says, so it’s got to be true, right?
This model was made by “Buby”, one of the better diecast car makers in Argentina at the time. It certainly does look a bit nicer than the Muky I showed yesterday.
But Buby weren’t the only ones to make a model of the R12 in Argentina at the time. Their rivals were a company called “Loden” who produced the “aguti” range of small cars. An “Aguti” is a small, furry mammal native to the area, so I am guessing they wanted to be associated with something cute.
And this is am Aguti Renault 12 Buenos Aires Taxi. Overall, the paint scheme is pretty close to the originals - here’s a photo of a Renault 12 Taxi from Bogota - but they looked almost the same.
You might be forgiven to think that this Aguti has seen better times, but actually, this is how it came to me, still in its original packaging. Clearly, QC has come a long way since then.
You can see it’s not played with - the paper sticker covering the door opening is still unbroken. That’s it for our little trip to the land of the Gauchos. These toys might be crude, but they’re not something you see every day.