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17 Oldest Cars Still Being Produced


17. Renault Clio
Photo credit: Alan Gore / Flickr

When people talk about classic cars, the typical images evoked are of splendor and style, chrome, speed and sleek design.

We rarely think fondly of the soccer mom van, the family sedan, or the homogeneous hatchback still being made in the factories of China, India or Brazil.

Automotive dreamscapes rarely consist of cracked plastic dashboards and PVC seats, or the lawnmower roar of four cylinders barely outpacing pedestrians, or a feeling of dread at the sight of a looming incline.

Yet these designs have survived the harshest critical gauntlet of all: time. These cars are the cutting edge of longevity. While a few are still being produced under an entirely different badge, these models are the real international classics.

17. Renault Clio

The history of Renault stretches back to the 19th century, beginning in France in 1899 as the brainchild of three brothers. The name was primarily developed as a racing brand, when car makers would race their offerings from town to town at breakneck speeds not much faster than jogging. This served to demonstrate the lusty power of the first 24 hp Renault engine, and the brothers would take orders from spectators at the finish line.

Despite the lack of speed, Marcel Renault actually managed to get himself killed in a wreck in 1903, which gruesomely increased the reputation of the brand in an era when being overtaken by pedestrians was a serious possibility.

Renault were in the doldrums in the eighties. After being nationalized in an attempt to stem the hemorrhaging of a billion Francs a month, the new government-appointed chairman, Georges Besse, was assassinated by the communist terrorist group Action Directe, for laying off 21,000 workers as part of his downsizing plan to turn Renault into a profitable enterprise.

Unperturbed, the French government installed a new (and probably quite nervous) figurehead in Raymond Lévy, who, nervous or not, continued to trim down the company until it was finally financially stable. The introduction of the Renault Clio in 1990 turned things in the other direction for Renault; so much so by 1996 it was decided to privatize once more to promote the growth this successful model required.

The Clio was voted European Car of the Year in 1991 and 2006, one of only two cars to achieve the award twice: the other being the Volkswagen Golf. It’s currently on its fourth generation. Renault also added a trunk to the hatchback to the Clio II in 1999 and called it the Renault Clio Symbol (or Thalia in a few markets), and aimed at developing countries where sedans are usually preferred over hatchbacks: predominantly Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Gulf States.

From Around The Web

  • Alex

    How could you miss the Corvette? Or the Porsche 911?

    • harry o

      why is mustang not on list also

      • Robert Nichols

        it is

      • Joe Geror


  • Ryan Nasif

    Jeep has been out longer than land rover

    • stelsewhere

      but the Jeep is a shit off road vehicle

  • Ecoweenie

    The only interesting car on the list was the Hindustan Ambassador. I wonder how much it costs?

    • Aroup Chatterjee

      about £4000

  • John

    I have a Mazda MX5. For me a car should be like a young lady, pretty, full of fun and willing to get its top off now and again.

    • Rob the nob

      That’s the same for me and my 1961 Land Rover, except mine likes to get dirty and play in the mud 😉

      • SRR126

        Rob – I have had both – I don’t miss the sense of adventure when you turn the ignition key of a British car or when you take one out in the rain.

    • Abigail_Hulton

      Why is this such an old web reply. I have a lovely 1999 MZ5 and I love him to bits, he is just the best, well, after my Alfa Spyder. I just love cars. Mazzie is the absolute best.

  • Brandon O’Keefe

    Chevrolet Suburban (1933)

  • Stuart Herriot

    Still a great car and still sets the standard for an open top fun car.

  • Stuart Herriot

    Got a 407 now but liked my 405 executive. wasn’t to keen on my 406 however

  • Stuart Herriot

    prefer the Octavia

  • Stuart Herriot

    I liked my Citi Golf as it felt very stable under braking and was reliable.

  • Stuart Herriot

    We had the very similar Austin Cambridge and it was a tough old motor and would cetainly outlast many “modern” cars.

  • Stuart Herriot

    VW type 2 would certainly love to be able to afford a decent one.

  • Stuart Herriot

    I wish I still had my series 1 and 2A landies as they would be worth a small fortune now.

  • George Dodd

    The Defender is NOT being scrapped. Production is being moved from the Solihull Factory ( UK West Midlands ) to India by its current owners – TATA because it is unable to meet future EU emissions and crash regulations without huge investment. The production line will be moved once the current orders are built according to people in the know at Jaguar Land Rover.

  • 1J2ackBrian

    I wish a few more older model cars would continue to be manufactured. My wife and I had two of the original Renault Clios – it was voted European Car of the Year. We only changed from the first one to the second because we wanted a sunshine roof. Both cars were marvellous for us, comfortable in the front and back seats, good boot, real and proper spare wheel supported underneath the car by a well designed cradle which was easy to operate. Overall, very easy to drive and park too.

    When we had to change we went for their diesel Modus which seemed to be the nearest equivalent and we like Renaults. To be fair, it has turned out to be a super small car and we are pleased we bought it but there are some stupid design features, especially with regard to the spare wheel. Although it is a proper one and not one of these get you home things, or some tube of glue to repair a puncture, it is not easy to access. And if the boot is full up you have to get everything out and put it on the road before you can get at the spare wheel. What a madness design. Apart from that it has been a good car for over five years. And very economical – around 60 mpg and occasionally as much as 70 , which isn’t bad at all . In this respect far better than both our previous Clios – but these relied on petrol, so we couldn’t expect any better.