French Friday: Renault 17TS

Hello and Happy Friday!

Today we look at another one of Schuco’s line of 1/66 models from the 70s.

The Renault 15 and 17 twins are almost forgotten today. But they were Renault’s answer to the Ford Mustang. No, really! Like the Mustang, it was a 4 seater coupe based on a compact sedan (the Renault 12) and came complete with the stereotypical long front / short back design. And like the Mustang, most were bought with rather tame engine options - while the media and advertising focused on the higher spec “hero” models.

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And while just about every American model car brand featured a Mustang, so most European toy makers had a Renault 17 model in their line up. Matchbox, Majorette, Norev, Schuco, Guisval, Zylmex and Golden Wheels all made one! And that’s just in 1/64 scale.

So the comparison is not so outrageous after all. The Renault of course wasn’t available with a V8 - or even a straight six. It featured four cylinder engines from the “16” and front wheel drive. It’s competitors were other European coupes like the Ford Capri, VW Scirocco, Fiat 128 Sport and the Opel Manta.

The top model was variously called the 17TS or 17 Gordini - and it had a 1.6 litre 108hp engine. Not really the stuff of legends, even then. Production ended in 1979 - and while it wasn’t a failure, I don’t think it was a massive success either.

Just a few more words on the relationship between Schuco and Norev: In the 1970s, both of these toy makers were in trouble, so they decided to combine forces (to a point) and Norev commissioned Schuco to make some models of French cars to be sold under the Norev brand in France. These were the Renault 5, 16, 17 plus the Matra Simca Bagheera.

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At some stage, production was transferred to France and later still, Norev changed the style of the wheels to their own design. And before Schuco went bust, they also made molds for the following cars which were only ever produced by Norev in France (although they are clearly Schuco designs): Citroen GS, Citroen DS, Peugeot 504, Citroen Dyane, Renault 12, Ligier JS2, Citroen CX, Renault 4 and Maserati Boomerang. You can find pics of these models here:

http://www.moon-s.de/schuco/thumbna…

And if you find any of them mint for less than 100 bucks, give me a call, ok?

PS: here’s a bonus pic of the Zylmex version, because you managed to read all of that to the end! ;-)

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