Selling a Le Car

My dad passed away back in January,and now my mom has a 1983 Renault Le Car she needs to get rid of. Being that the area she lives in is a rather conservative midwestern town, it seems unlikely that she will be able to sell it in her area in a timely manner. I don’t think she is working to a deadline, but she does want to get rid of it ASAP. I would like to see her get as much money as possible, since my dad died owing some money. She doesn’t want to advertise it on the web, either, because she doesn’t want “strange” people coming to her house to look at the car. It does not run right now, because it has not been started in a few years. The engine and other parts are in great shape, and as far as I know the body and paint are in good shape as well.

Any suggestions as to what she can do with it are welcome.


A Le Car is not worth much and a non-running one that has been sitting for a few years is worth even less.
The car may be worth a 100 bucks to someone who is looking for a parts donor or something quirky to tinker around with.

She’s in a predicament because she does not want strangers coming over to look at the car. Why in the world would anyone buy a car sight unseen? (and I’m aware that some people on eBay do; often leading to a heavy case of regret)

Do you live nearby? If so, I’d suggest getting the car running so you can document to the buyer that it does indeed run.

Then, I’d put this on ebay. If you mom isn’t into computers list it for her, or find a service to list it. A Le Car has limited appeal locally but might be just what someone “out there” is looking for. Maybe Jay Leno needs one for his garage? In fact the Le Car’s weren’t awful. Kind of the “Smart Car” of a generation or two back. You’ll only get decent money from someone interested in the collector value of the Le Car, if you can find that person. If not, then donate it. Parts aren’t readily available and there is little value to the Le Car as a daily driver.

Just checked ebay and there are 2 Le Cars listed at the monent.

If she won’t advertise it she won’t sell it.

I suggest donating the car to a charity, like her local public radio station, an animal shelter, or Good News Garage. The charity will either fix the car and sell it or sell it as is, and your mother can deduct whatever the sales price is from her taxes.

Good News Garage repairs donated cars and gives them to people who need transportation but can’t afford to buy a car.

The charity will come and pick up the car, so mom won’t have to worry about a bunch of browsers.

A non-running Le Car won’t be worth much, but something is better than nothing.

Bids on eBay currently range from $400 to $2000. The easiest way to sell it is to get it in running condition and replace anything that is obvious, such as worn tires or brakes. If your state requires an inspection for the new owner to register it, get that done. Then advertise it on Craigslist or eBay. The newspaper is another possibility. Smaller local papers typically charge less.

If Mom could sell it to someone she knows, it would have been sold already. She will only meet strangers. Maybe you or one or more of her friends could meet the prospective buyer so that they can look it over and drive it.

I didn’t say strangers, I said strange people. There’s a difference.

That would work, but she really needs to get the maximum amount of money for this car that she can. As I said before, my dad died owing money.

I think this idea is the best so far. I do believe we can get it running without too much difficulty, and it is in decent shape. My dad was madly in love with that car, and it always ran fantastic. Even after 300,000 miles, the engine was still as tight as a drum. Amazing. He was also fanatical about oil changes up until he couldn’t drive anymore, so I know it’s got to be in good shape still.

As much as he loved that car, you’d think there ought to be some kind of “club” out there for LeCar lovers.

I think we can probably haul it up here, so that may take care of her having to deal with the “strange” people from the internet, if we try to sell it on ebay.


As I said before, she’s afraid of strange people coming to the house, as in wierd, odd, evil, etc. Not strangers.

Thanks for the advice and the price range, that does help.

How do you know if they are weird until they show up? Having one or more friends there will make it less frightening of an odd duck shows up. She won’t be alone, and her friends and relatives won’t be a lone, either. If you are married, this could be a honey-do if you are close enough to Mom.

That’s the problem, I’m not very close, she’s getting to be rather elderly, and she has no one who is willing to sit there with her until she sells the car. I can’t just pop down there any time. I have to make sure I can clear my schedule, as well as my husband, and we have to bring our small children, too, so what you suggest we do is simply not feasible.

I think we may be able to tow it up here, actually, that way she won’t have to deal with it, I’m not particularly afraid of weirdos.

You have conflicting priorities. You want your mother to get as much as she can for the car, but she seems to have some unreasonable fears about listing it online. Any other method of listing the car for sale has the same risks. Which issue it the highest priority? She needs to decide if meeting a few “strange” people (whatever that means) is worth the extra money. If she would rather succumb to her fears of the unknown “strange” people, then she is going to hinder her own efforts to get the maximum amount she could get for this car. Let her decide which priority is most important and proceed after she has made that decision. There is no way to have both unless someone else is willing to sell the car for her free of charge.

How about this, you buy the car from your mom. You get it up to your home and put some effort into getting it running. Then use it as your “around town” errand car. It gets great gas mileage, they are actually pretty “roomy” for a tiny car, it is unique, and actually a bit fun to drive.

If you sell it eventually you’ll get more for it as a registered, running, test driveable car. If you make too much profit you can give some money back to mom.

I’d say anything from $500 to $1,000 would be a fair price for mom. Perhaps she can live with installment payments if your budget is tight.

Once you are using it, put a for sale sign in the window giving the mpg number. Everyone will be looking at the car since they’ve either never seen one, or saw one long ago. Someone will buy it eventually and at a good price. By then you may like it too much to part with it. Few cars today have character and personality, this one does.

Yes, it would seem that you have completely missed where I said we may wind up towing it up here and selling it for her.

We thought about that too, but we just don’t have the finances to buy it from her, or we’d do it in a second. I do have a friend who does body work and deals in trading cars a lot. He might have an idea of what we can do, or know somebody who wants it, even.

More than likely, we’ll wind up towing it up here first. That seems like the best way to deal with the situation at this point, just so we can get it off her hands for now.

I agree, it has been a fantastic car, very few problems, and always ran like an absolute champ, probably still can. My dad took excellent care of it, as far as maintenance.

I know, we could fix it up and give it to our daughter when she’s old enough to drive :smiley:

That sounds like the best plan (getting up to your place and working with your friend with the body shop). With 300k miles, it is living on borrowed time, as would any car with that many miles, regardless of how well it has been cared for. Having it with you will maximize the $$ you can get for it.

No, I didn’t miss that. The towing charges will prevent you from reaping the maximum amount of profit from this sale. Deciding to spend that money for towing is a compromise in line with what I advised. Good luck. I don’t know how far it is, but I am willing to bet the towing charges will cost a sizable percentage of the car’s potential value, and may even be cost prohibitive.

Anything you do, other than placing an ad and selling it at your mother’s house, will compromise your profit potential.

Before you do anything, you may want to some quick back-of-the-envelope math to get a realistic understanding if you’ll even be able to make a profit from this.

You have a 26 year old car with 300,000 miles on it. It doesn’t currently run. It wasn’t a highly desirable vehicle to begin with. And you live far away, which will add expense into however you sell it.

Do some homework to see what you could get for it, even if were running. Then figure in an estimate for towing and repairs. It sounds like you could go deep into red ink if you pursue this.

As Mcparadise suggested, donating the car to charity is beginning to look quite attractive.

Call your local tow yard and have it hauled off for free.

Alternately put it on ebay stating it does not run.

Taking it to any mechanic will cost you money in towing fees and then fixing anything. You will be hard pressed after fixing to get even a paltry $100-$200 back.

Sorry about your loss. Emotional times I understand, however do not allow that to cloud sound judgement.

My relatives are having a beyond hard time selling a popular 10 year old VW that is running with 180k miles but needs a few items for $1500.

My personal feeling is any car after 10yrs/150k that is used is risky. Typically those who can only afford these cars cannot afford to fix unless either DIY or know someone who is trusty and reasonable.

300,000 miles on a Renault Le Car is probably a record and that nobody else on this planet has achieved. Renault should buy this car back from you. My research partner’s first car was a Le Car which was purchased used. She refers to this car as “Le Lemon”. If we didn’t have another article we want to publish, I would purchase your Le Car and have it delivered to her driveway. However, this would end our friendship and the article wouldn’t be published.

I have a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the 4-4-2 package sitting in my driveway that I have owned since it was new. I need to dispose of this car and am in the same dilemna. The Oldsmobile does run and drive, but I’ve had no takers.