This is a car I’ve seen at my local Cars and Coffee a couple of times, and it never fails to delight and amaze me. It looks like a well-patina’d Renault Dauphine, mid ’60s vintage, but there are hints that more is going on, as the wheels and those black rubber flares suggest. There’s actually a lot more going on. As in a there’s an entire other car under that Dauphine. A Miata!
Yes, this bonkers creation is a Miata – I think an NB? – that’s wearing the dead skin of a Dauphine, sort of an automotive version of the Mesoamerican god Xipe Totec, who was always portrayed wearing someone else’s flayed skin. Like Xipe Totec, this combination is likely to conjure up feelings of alarm, maybe terror, but in this case the fun variety instead of the scary-god variety.
It’s incredible how well the Dauphine’s wheelbase aligns with a Miata, especially when you consider the Dauphine was a four-door family car. In its new role as a Miata body, you drive this Dauphine from the rear seat, as the dash consumes most of the front passenger area of the car.
A Dauphine is rear-engined, so air intake for the Miata’s significantly more potent (think a conservative 116 hp or so compared to 32 hp) engine comes through the below-the-bumper hole that once housed the Dauphine’s spare tire.
I bet this thing is an absolute blast to drive, and I bet the experience of driving from that back seat is surreal, at the very least. Next time I see this thing I’ll leave a note and maybe we can do a little video about this delightful lump of raw bonkersism.