I read your mail on e-group with interest. You're
right about the 16 not being particularly innovative
but it was the first modern car in its formula.
I grew up with 16s, my father had 4 or 5, can't
remember exactly. He had one of the first in UK, it
was the reps car from Renault UK, and was the only car
he sold for more than he paid for it! This must have
been in 1966, when I was 9. I remember he was very
enthusiastic about the cars practicality and economy.
He liked the front wheel drive and he liked the column
gear change (the last car I think to have a column
change?). H e also liked the space and comfort,
though I still wonder how we could fit a family of 7,
plus two dogs and all our luggage when we went on
holiday from Kent to North Wales, in those days a
journey which took about 8 hours!
At first the car was quite unusual, so we would always
wave at other 16s. They are even rarer today. In the
three years that I've been driving one I have never
passed another (except when attending club events). I
would guess that there are only about 30 left in the
UK in regular use, if that. In the 60s anyone driving
a foreign car was considered a little eccentric, but
16 drivers were alot more normal than Citroen drivers!
I remember at school that the 16 did not have any
'street cred', it was considered uninteresting and
most people thought it ugly, which I never could
understand. I agree the rear view is not good but
from the front and side I think it is very stylish.
Today I find people don't really register it as an old
car (which shows how modern it still looks) it is only
when they get inside that they say wow these seats!
I love driving it and get a little pleasure from
showing drivers of modern cars that I can leave them
standing at the lights! I love the upright seat
position and the column gear change.