After the run away success of the Volkswagen, Beetle based, Typ 14 Karmann Ghia launched in 1955, particularly in the United States, Renault thought they might be able pull off a similar feat by building Coupé and Convertible versions of the humble rear engined Renault Dauphine that succeeded the 4CV.
Allegedly the idea for the new Coupé and Cabriolet Dauphine variants was suggested at a convention of North American distributors that took place in Florida where Renault Chairman Pierre Dreyfus picked up the ball for the idea which instantly became known as the “Renault Floride”.
The design was the work of Pietro Frua working for Ghia in Italy and the production of the bodies for the Dauphine chassis was by Société des usines Chausson in Paris while final assembly was completed by Brissonneau and Lotz at Creil in Picardy.
Not wishing to offend the other 49 states in the US of A Renault called the new model the Caravelle in all English speaking markets a year after the Floride was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1958.
Initially powered by a standard 37 hp motor or Gordini tuned 40hp version the Floride / Caravelle remained in production until 1968 by which time only 117,000 units had been built compared to the 445,000 Karmann Ghia’s Volkswagen built between 1955 and 1974.
The example seen above at the Haynes International Motor Museum was registered in the UK on the 25th of January 1968.
Thanks for joining me on this “Floride” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be competing in my first Auto Solo. Don’t forget to come back now !