The Clénet Series I and II, Between art and kitsch

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Alain Clénet was born in 1944 in Angers, in France. He followed a design course in Paris and emigrated in 1974 to the United States, to Santa Barbara. In 1979 he started making his own dream car in - roughly - the style of a classic 1930s roadster or thereabouts, the Clénet Series 1. That was a huge two-seater with free-standing headlights and free-lying mudguards. Think of Olivier B. Bommels skeptic about speed and steroids.

Also the striking chrome-plated large radiator grille and the outward-built chrome-plated exhaust pipes were cheeringly characteristic of this celebration of fiberglass-reinforced polyester. The nose of the car was longer than two meters, which stood in striking contrast to the driver's seat, which was almost at the top of the rear axle.

Exuberance is an asset

These cars were as exuberant as Dolly Parton or Patricia Paay in combat kit during the Carnival in Rio and nobody wanted something so cheaply exuberant. Nobody, until a friendly marketer advised Clénet to dramatically increase the selling price. For about $ 100.000 there were suddenly buyers to be found. Meanwhile, amounts are again being paid in those parts for these giants.


Clénet used ordinary technology

Technically, Alain Clénet used components derived from automobile mass production. The Series I's rolling stock and engine came from a Lincoln Continental IV, then the largest and most expensive American series-made coupé. The driver's compartment, windows and doors for the first Clénets were just some of MG Midgets that Clénet had gathered from various car breakers.

The rest of the body was knocked and molded from aluminum and polyester. As power sources Clénet used the V8s Ford Lincoln, with a capacity of 5,8 or 6,6 liters. The cars had a lot of power, a lot of torque and a top speed of 200 km / h. And with the very conventional chassis of such a Clénet you had to have a very big heart to give the beast the whip.

Alain Clénet considered the creation of meaning to be an exceptional car. In April 1980, during an interview with the Santa Barbara Times magazine, he stated that he saw the car as a reward for people who have achieved something in their lives.

Exclusivity is an asset

He had previously set the maximum number of copies on 250 Seie 1 copies, a number that was reached in September 1979. The very first prototype is probably still in its possession because 249 Clénets series 1 have been registered worldwide. The Clénet two borrowed the windshield and doors from VW's Beetle convertible. Also beautiful. The Clénet Series II put the Series 1979 away from 1 as a modest sports car, and was more of a dream in the 'Plastic is fantastic' style.

Well-known Clénet buyers were Julio Iglesias, producer Dan Enright, producer Aaron Spelling, actress Farrah Fawcett, entertainer Rod Stewart, boxer Ken Norton, Sylvester Stallone, entertainer Wayne Newton, Vince McMahon and King Hussein of Jordan.

Meanwhile, the Clénet series 1 has the status of a classic. Copies can also be found in Europe in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.

The blue and white copy, a Series II in the photos, is in Drempt, near Venema Antiques and Classic Cars



Give a reaction
  1. Hello I am Wim Hakkers
    I married 9 years ago in the blue and white clenet
    I would like to know what the price of the car is and whoever drove it in the car with kind regards Wim Hakkers

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