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Thread: the Virage

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    the Virage

    hi-can anyone clear up something here for me.
    i previously owned a Renault 12 Stationwagon for 23 years - loved this car hey! I now own a Renault Virage Stationwagon - now i can see the differnece between the two in looks and engine size but my question is - is the Virage still clasified as a Renault 12 and why cant i find any info or photos about the Virage on any websites - it is a beautiful car (i have to admit the 12 has something about it though) but this is still a beautiful car and there doesnt seem to be any Virage enthuisists around?????? why not can anyone explain. ta jules

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  2. #2
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    I can explain, the Virage is most definatly a 12, but its an Australian 12. In 77 when the 12 mark 2 was released in Europe we called it the 1.4 because of the 1.4 engine (clever huh) but a survay at the time said people were more familiar with names rather than numbers, just as Commodore replaced the HZ the Virage replaced the R12 and to identify the new model a new grille and 4 headlights were fitted so the Virage is what Europe called the mark 2 but with an Aussie front so thats why you can't find any sites,cause there aint none.


    David.

    David Cavanagh

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  3. #3
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    David,

    I've noticed that the R12 sold in Argentina during the 1980s had the same 4 headlight front as the Australian Virage. Who did this modification first, the Argentinians or the Australians?

    Dave
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  4. #4
    Simon's Avatar
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    The Americans. The AUS Virage was an odd amalgam, US spec four headlight black surrounds, with the main grille being used on the Swedish model and later US versions first.
    1963 Renault R4 Van
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  5. #5
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    That makes sense. I should have thought of that. Almost every imported car sold in the US has to have four headlights. It's got something to do with one of their regulations. The pug 504 four headlight setup was designed for the US and then was picked up by Australia, I guess to help out with the 75% local content rule and also because it makes parts costs much cheaper, for the owner, the manufacturer and the dealers.

    The US Renault 12 also had the R16 engine, but a detuned one (probably with the non-cross-flow head like the 16TL and the 18GTX).

    Dave

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  6. #6
    Simon's Avatar
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    The early US 12's had a low compression 1647cc motor with a non-crossflow head, it produced 65bhp, compare this to the 1289cc R12 motor of 68bhp, you can tell it wasn't exactly a top performer! Even the later cars with the cross flow head with 1647cc only managed 72bhp. But all the US 12's did get a 15/17 type power bulge in the bonnet!!

    Simon
    1963 Renault R4 Van
    1964 Renault R4
    1967 Volkswagen 1300 Deluxe
    1969 Renault 8 Gordini 1300
    2002 Land Rover Defender Td5 130 - ex-CFA Region 4
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  7. #7
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Yep the power bulge bonnet, looks strange thow because it on the left side not the right like the 15/17 because the non crossflow motor has the carby on the left, I'm in the middle of making fibreglass bonnets with power bulge on the right for the 17 conversions I keep building.

    David.

    David Cavanagh

    FRENCH CONNECTION / PEUGEO WRECKING / RENOSPARES / CITROWRECK

    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

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  8. #8
    Tadpole
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    power bulge? please explain.....

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger!
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    The height of the 15/17 donks is taller than the 12 engines and a small bulge needs to be put in place so you can close the bonnet.

    All this talk of doing up a 12 with larger engines takes me back a few years now

    Would an 18GTX engine fit the 12 as its basically the same car underneath the skin?

  10. #10
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Dave(all),

    speaking of Renault 12's. The Auto gearbox in my sisters Renault 1.4 died a month or 2 back. Then the solenoid on the starter has started playing up. So you need to give it a belt to start it sometimes. The car still drives extremely well (feels very 'tight' in to drive) but is stuck in first gear. Just to get my sister around for the last month until she bought a R19 we've switched the fuse for the gearbox computer through the hazard light switch, so flicking this switch changes the car into 3rd as you shut power off to the computer.

    The car was the 'Gueniune 1 old lady owner, who traded it in as she could no longer turn the steering wheel' when my sister bought it. It's done about 120,000km (I think, I'll have to double check) from new. The exterior is starting to show it's age, with scrapes along 2 of the doors, and rust starting to show in the front guards (basicly as we bought it).

    The rego has just run out, anyone want to by an orginal 2 owner R12 that runs exceptionly well?? I'll have to talk to my sister, but it'll probably be only a couple of hundred bucks (or if you talk to my mother, free to get it out the yard. by the way if you talk to her she'll give away all my cars I've got stashed for free down there to )

    We're in Ballarat.

    seeya,

    Shane Leviston
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  11. #11
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Chipper,

    Fitting the 18GTX 1647cc engine in a R12 should be the same as fitting the 15/17 1565cc or 1647cc engines, except that the power bulge would have to be on the other side, because of the non-crossflow head, and it wouldn't be as powerful either.

    Speaking of the power bulge, I drove a 12 wagon with a 17TL engine. The guy who converted it modified the right angle aircleaner fitting on the top of the carby, by cutting a bit off its bottom so it would sit lower on the carby, and thus he didn't need a power bulge. I guess this would have made the entry path for the air a bit more restrictive though. It didn't feel as quick as I had expected, but it was a wagon and we did have 2 people in it and probably a bit of other stuff. I would have liked to have had a drive in a R12 sedan with the same engine and no passengers or luggage. Then I would have been able to get a better comparison with a standard R12 sedan.

    Interestingly I drove a R12 sedan, a week later, with a 1.4 engine which was modified by Collier's in Sydney. It had a mild cam, modified head and a single 45mm Weber DCOE with 35mm chokes, sitting on a Lynx cross-over even pulse inlet manifold. This car also had an R17 front swaybar and R12 wagon rear springs as well as low profile tyres on dunlop alloy rims and a 13 inch steering wheel. I drove it with one passenger, and even so I was very impressed with the engine performance of this car and the body roll was almost completely non-existent. Before being modified, I think this car was a one owner little old lady car, and its body was in excellent condition. It was for sale for $2500 and if I had been in the market for a car at the time I would have bought it in a flash.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
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    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Dave,

    Cool, i never knew the 15/17 were a cross flow head and the 18 wasnt

    If I do decide to flog the 205 off after I pay it off, I would be looking at either a 12 that I could make into a rocket, or a 504 for the same reasons but with RWD.

    Both seem as cheap as chips to purchase...hell, I paid $1200 for a 74 GL wagon about 13 years ago now, so they hafta be cheaper now

    How are the 12's with the 1647 cc donk up front, understeer? Any other mods to get a 5 speed in a 12? How hard would a turbo mod be to throw at one of these engines?

    Just interested...

    Chipper

  13. #13
    Tadpole
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    chipper/all

    i bought a renault virage wagon for $700.00
    from a used car sales yard at Magic Mile of morors (youll know that if you are in Brisbane) it had just come up from Melbourne and was in just the best condition-perfect orange duco and full black interiors (seats etc perect)- i am having trouble with the auto (because i got it changed over from a manual) i would love to do this car up (you know the unsuspecting outside - but a roar inside) it is interesting to find someone in Brisbane interested in the Renault 12-i get laughed at all the time and it would be just a beauty to have the power to knock them off the road!

  14. #14
    Fellow Frogger! Reno17's Avatar
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    Hi Jelly

    Have you joined the Renault car Club of QLD ?
    Where abouts in Brisbane are you.

    I'm keen on doing a R12 or R10 Next. Keep it stock looking and throw in some sort of turbo'd motor, or some sort of Reno motor that produces big HP.

    Theres nothing more satisfying then getting laughed at from a guy in his hot Commodore/Falcon, watching the lights turn green then flogging the balls off him.

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  15. #15
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Chipper,

    Actually although the 1565/1647cc engines are physically bigger than the 1389cc engines, I've been told they are actually lighter because they are all alloy while the 1.4 litre has quite a solid and heavy little cast iron block. Some people claim to be able to pick the 1.6 litre engines up by themselves! If you look at the specs of the R12 Gordini though, it is actually about 50kg heavier than the 1.3/1.4 litre R12. I guess that even though the 1.6 might be lighter, the twin webers and all the other modifications and goodies bring the weight back up above the other R12s. David Cavanagh would know more about how the weights of the 2 engines compare with each other. I guess he'd also know about using the R18 5 speed. I assume that mod wouldn't be very difficult.

    I didn't get a chance to fang the 1.6 litre R12 wagon I drove around a corner, so I don't know how it handled, but the hot 1.4 sedan I drove handled excellent.

    The Fuego turbo used the 1647cc cross-flow fuel injected engine with lowered compression, but I think it was fairly low boost as it's power figure wasn't much different to the R17 Gordini.

    Regards,
    Dave McBean

    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
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  16. #16
    Tadpole
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    can someone please tell me what a cross flow head is what it does and means - and with all this talk about the R15, R17 engines in a 12-I WANT - but at the moment i have to get my auto fixed - and how would all these modifications go with an auto transmission (i can only drive auto) would it be stupid to do all these mods and keep it auto? and who would do these mods in Brisbane? also down the track i would love some mags - saw some really nice orange/black ones on the web - woooohoooo - any suggestions which ones and where to get
    Jules

  17. #17
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Jules,

    A cross flow head has the inlet on one side and the exhaust on the other. Usually this means that the Carburettor (or fuel injectors) is on the opposite side of the engine from the exhaust manifold. A non-cross flow head has the inlet and exhaust on the same side. Generally speaking (but not always) a cross flow head is capable of producing more power than a non-cross flow head. In the case of the Renault engines the cross flow head is one of the nicest 8 valve heads ever designed and are capable of producing excellent power figures for the engine's size.

    I'm not sure how well the Renault automatics work with more powerful engines. I have heard of one R12 automatic wagon which had a standard R17 engine, but the performance was still not fast, although it was much better than the 12GL engine. The owner eventually converted it to a manual and that was the 1.6 litre R12 wagon which I drove. If you are physically able to drive a manual, then manual gearboxes are usually the way to go for performance in small engined cars. If not, then the best way to get performance with an automatic would be to use a supercharger (which would probably be expensive to do reliably- i.e. way over $2000 if you get someone else to install it), but I'm not sure if the Renault automatics are strong enough.

    Sorry I can't tell you more about using automatics for performance applications.

    Regards,
    Dave McBean
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
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  18. #18
    Simon's Avatar
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    Cross flow is the flow of the petrol/air mixture through the motor. On a crossflow car the carby manifold is on one side of the block with the exhaust manifold on the other, the vapour flowing across the motor in a more efficient manner. The normal 1.3 and 1.4 12's are non-cross flow motors.

    In my young and silly days of 12 ownership I found it could beat many cars this side of a 2 litre Escort, my best episode being a traffic light GP against a Weber equipped 1.6 VW beetle and a 1.7 411 wagon. They were trying and couldn't believe the 12 was stock. It has also harassed a 17TS and 17G while I retained my friendship with the motor on the other side of the redline. But I will admit top end acceleration is a bit lacking when you want to overtake. Also Tom Barr-Smith a driver of one of the works 12G's found the 12G understeered too much and preferred his 16TS rally car.

    My personal feeling is that the bigger motor upsets the nice balance of the standard 12, the only mods to my car being 5.5 inch 17G rims and suitable tyres, thicker rear roll bar and reset front springs replacing the rear springs. It certainly is no GTi, but performs quite well. I like the idea of using a 17TS 365 5 speed gearbox with the 12 motor, I reckon the close ratios would suit the standard motor quite well.

    The auto box with 15/17 power should be able to take some extra power, but it may stretch the friendship. Most of the problems with the auto are related to the computer, otherwise they are reasonably tough.

    With mags there are a number to choose from if you can get them. Beware that if the car is a late model Virage (mid '79 and later build) they were fitted with the rear axle from the 18 with a slightly wider track, the wider rims and tyres can just scrub the rear guards. Probably check out specialist Renault wreckers, the most common mags seem to be the Dunlop ones, make sure you get the appropriate nuts to suit.

    Simon
    1963 Renault R4 Van
    1964 Renault R4
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    1969 Renault 8 Gordini 1300
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  19. #19
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Hi all,
    First of all, the 15/17 motor is quite heavier than the 12, the alloy block is much lighter than the cast 12 block but the heavier crank, head, flywheel, clutch adds up to a much heavier motor and you can feel it when driving it, 5 speed 18 box is easy but you do need to modify driveshafts (which I can supply) best to use an auto body shell because of the larger transmission hump. If you wanted an auto don't even consider using a 12 auto (to late for you Julie because the trucks already picked up your transmission, you should see it in a few days), a 12 auto want bolt up to a 17 block, just use a 15/17 auto with computor, govenor and all matted to the motor, it'll fall straight in.
    I recon the best mod would be 5 alpine motor, there about the same horses as 17 with the weight of a 12, and still 1.4 litre so its legal but where do you get one. One advantage of the larger motor is more torque, all the wagons I have built are for people who need to pull small trailors, the 17 motor does it with ease. The sedans I've built usually end up getting the Gordini treatment for people wanting cheap thrills, throw on thick sway bars and decent springs/shockers and you've got a fun very good handling car.
    Now for really cheap fun, I once had a stock 12 with a stock 17TL motor which do you know has the same power to weight ratio as a 17G, a bloke round the corner had a Laser TX3 turbo 4wd and he used to fly past everyone in peak hour traffic, he got past me once so I took off after him and sat glued to his bumper all the way down the freeway, he was getting so pissed off he eventially took off down the emergency lane, I pulled up then,thinking I've prooved the cars as good as yours but I'm not prooving I'm as bigger idiot as you, so if you want some cheap fun a 12 will do it.
    Seeya's,

    David.

    David Cavanagh

    FRENCH CONNECTION / PEUGEO WRECKING / RENOSPARES / CITROWRECK

    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

    34 KING St
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  20. #20
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    David,

    Thanks for dispelling the myth that the alloy engine is lighter than the 1.4 R12 motor. I thought their was a couple of things which didn't add up (like the discrepancy between the weight of the 12 and the 12G), but I took these other Renault enthusiasts at their word because I haven't been able to measure the engine weights myself. Thanks.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
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    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  21. #21
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Sigh, all this talk of 12's is bringing back memories of my sedan and wagon. The wagon was a track yellow (orange to most) and was in excellent condition (till I sold it to my sister ), it would be perfect to do a hotted up motor in now. I even scored a set of 13x5 MOMO mags for it from the mechanic who used to work on it (they scrubed his guards with all his crap in the back). Took a bit to clean em up, but they looked great I bought the car back from my sis after she blew a hose and kept driving, fixed her up, and sold it to the mechanic previously mentioned. I saw this car the other day, lookin sad, and with the steelies back on. It brought a lump to my throat knowing I spent lots of dollars on it making it look schmick only to see it looking dog ear'd now.

    Thanks for the info guys, I shall file it alongside all my other dream projects although this one could come to fruition.....one day.

    Chipper

  22. #22
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Chipper,
    Ask him if he wants to sell the Momo's.

    Thanks,
    David.

    David Cavanagh

    FRENCH CONNECTION / PEUGEO WRECKING / RENOSPARES / CITROWRECK

    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

    34 KING St
    AIRPORT WEST
    VIC 3042


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  23. #23
    Fellow Frogger!
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    David,

    See what I can do for you, I have his number around here somewhere......

  24. #24
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    how many of you have seen Dave's R12. If you haven't I'd suggest checking it out. I sneaked a peak when he was restoring it, the motor was in bits and with those huge carbys and everything looked awesome. I've seen it since it's restored, just opening the doors makes you think it's no normal R12, you should feel the weight of them (anti intrusion bars??). The forklift battery in the boot and hard suspension, it doesn't 'feel' like an R12. But it sure looks like one... I bet he surprises a lot of people at traffic lights in that! Still, I think I'd rather an 8gordini as a 'toy' car (I love oversteer!!)

    seeya,

    Shane Leviston
    'Cit' homepage:
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    Proper cars--
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    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
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    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


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  25. #25
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Yeah, it would be great to see a photo....David????

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