I'm Max in Melbourne Australia.
I was very interested in your letter about the R16.
I've had lots of Renaults (I'm 61) ,mostly 12's and 2 16's.
To this day the 16 is my favourite car, loved them.
They were very advanced technically, delightful column gearchage and amazing
ride. I always felt safe and that the car was holding tenaciously to the road...
it WAS in fact. They were just plain fun on our rough bush (country) roads.
All at the expense of body roll which I never minded at all.The steering was a bit heavy.
It's years since I drove them, I have a business which means I just drive boring vans now.
In Australia the 16 and 12 were assembled in Melbourne with varying amounts of local content.The quality control was varied too, so some were great and others not, some rusted and some never did.
The "local" cars ,mostly big Holdens, Fords and Chryslers were tough, long
legged and reliable for their day but simple and crude compared to the 16. A
drive of a 16 with it's beautiful seats and brakes and ride soon made the
durable local cars feel dull and boring.
But not a lot bought ther 16, it was seen by many as "Funny French", odd.
Still it sold well as a minority brand and had a loyal following here as did the
10 and 12 models.
They were expensive, this was really the main obstacle to sales as word got
about they they were good cars.
Who bought them ?
A lot of school teachers and professionals,people who knew about the technology inside them or liked the "French flair" (many in our conservative marketplace thought they looked wierd)
People or businesses with a decent income bought them.
Against the big Aussie 6 and 8 cylinder cars they were not a not a bargain so you had to want it for itself rather than as a good value buy.. People somtimes heard horror stories of rust or blown headgaskets caused by un-knowing mechanics failing to bleed the cooling system when required...our local cars needed no such special care and attention. In fact the 16's were a reliable car though.
I would love to have another one. There are some still about.Our climate is kind to bodywork so the non-rusters tended to survive well here.
I should mention that Citroen offered a true hatchback version of the Traction Avant in the early 50's, I don't know if they sold any.There's not always a reward for genius.
I hope this is of interest to you.
I am sure the 16 would be on the Austrain motoring writers' short list of best
cars of all time.