Europe has a long history of bare-bones, open-top vehicles intended for beach goers. One of the most valuable is the Fiat Jolly, and one of the few to make it to America is the Volkswagen Thing. One that we didn’t know much about is the Renault Rodeo, which we discovered in this eBay listing.
According to one of our frequent contributors, Ronan Glon, in a story for Hagerty, the Rodeo was proposed to Renault as a new model by another company called “Ateliers de Construction du Livradois (ACL),” and Renault was receptive to the idea as a competitor to the Citroen Mehari. For reference, the Mehari was a very similar open, plastic-bodied beach car, but the Citroen was clearly the more popular car. Evidence of that comes from the fact Citroen even created a modern, electric version called the e-Mehari a few years ago.
Back to the Rodeo, the original that launched in the 1970s was kind of lumpy and awkward. This later 1984 version is much more trim and modern-looking. It’s all flat surfaces and hard lines, punctuated by bolts piecing together the body panels. It does have a canvas top, though none of the photos show it. And like any good beach car, it has a bare cabin with no carpet or mudflaps for easy cleaning. It also appears to have a decent amount of ground clearance and probably low weight that should be ideal for meandering on sandy beaches. It’s a very stylish little machine.
Powering this model, according to a Bring a Trailer post of the same car from a few years ago, is a 1.1-liter four-cylinder making 34 horsepower. It’s paired to a four-speed manual transmission, and the seller says it can manage highway speeds. We imagine that while that’s true, it might be a terrifying experience. Either way, this seems like it’s probably super fun to tool around in, especially at a beach house. If you’re interested, it’s being offered at the “Buy it Now” price of $9,900.