Something Fun

January 18, 2012



Guess what. Remember the little car from our holiday photoshoot? Well, Ben Blair bought it! Apparently the seller lowered the price (it was already a bargain!), and he couldn’t resist. Even without the wreath, it’s so charming I can hardly stand it. I hope we can figure out how to get it back to the States — I’d love to see Ralph drive it when he’s old enough — and if not, at least we’ll get to enjoy it while we’re here!



I always love perfectly imperfect vintage cars. They have small price tags, big personality and don’t feel precious — so you don’t have to overly protect them or keep the kids away. So fun!

P.S. — These images were shot by Wendy of Blue Lily.

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren@BaylorSays... January 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

What?! That is so stinkin exciting…your Christmas pictures knocked my socks off! Yay for fun for the sake of fun. :-)

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2 betsy January 18, 2012 at 6:44 am

Oh, I love it! We owned a fabulous red Renault 4TL when we lived abroad. It was a bit like driving a marshmallow around town but I loved that car and cried when we sold it!

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3 LP January 18, 2012 at 6:44 am

My husband would never impulsively purchase because he’s be too busy weighing the cons….. Are you any bit concerned about the expenses involved in maintaining it?
I DO love it.

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4 Design Mom January 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

I think the thing that really clinched it for Ben Blair, is the the seller was a mechanic and included a warranty that basically takes us through the rest of our time in France. Of course, if we end up getting it back to the States, I have no idea how we’ll maintain. Crazy stuff!

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5 Damaris January 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

That is awesome.

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6 Melissa L. January 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

Awesome! That would be an amazing first car for a teen. Funky and fun yet functional. Our oldest son is now driving his first car. We hunted around for an older car that was practical in every way. He has had a few fender benders and bumps and his car is not pristine, but it has been a good object lesson for him and has built character in our son and the car :-). Congratulations!

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7 Christa The BabbyMama January 18, 2012 at 7:12 am

That’s fab! I was just thinking this morning about how I’d love an old vintage Mercedes – an impractical car around here, but so awesome. And I have to agree with Melissa L. above about it being the ultimate first car for a teen. Not much to worry about, but tons of class!

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8 Allison January 18, 2012 at 7:16 am

How fun is that? What a treat! That window is perhaps the coolest thing I’ve seen too! Fingers crossed for your getting it back to the states. That would be the coolest first car…ever!

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9 Ayme January 18, 2012 at 7:16 am

You guys are just so dang cool. I hope you get it back here too!

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10 Luciane at HomeBunch.com January 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

Wow! Really cool… I love older cars… so charming!

Have a great day, Gabrielle!

xo

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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11 Emily January 18, 2012 at 7:34 am

Ha! Fun!! Can’t wait to hear if you can get it back to America!

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12 Molly Winn January 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

SO fun!! Way to go Ben Blair!!!

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13 Sarah January 18, 2012 at 8:07 am

that is fabulous!!! good for him (and you too of course!)!

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14 r8chel January 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

What an awesome little car to tool around in!

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15 Chrisy January 18, 2012 at 8:10 am

What a fantastic steering wheel! Good for you guys! :)

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16 Giulia January 18, 2012 at 8:11 am

What a great car! I remember my dad bringing a red 1960s Mustang from the States to Switzerland. He put it on the boat and weeks later we drove to Amsterdam to pick it up…it’s a great memory.

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17 Amanda January 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

That is so exciting! I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous. I love seeing vintage cars around town and I always begin dreaming of where they have been. Can you imagine the stories that they contain?

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18 Haydee January 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

That is awesome! What a fantastic piece of memorabilia to take home with you:)

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19 Cecilia Madden January 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

Such fun!

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20 Jen January 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

That is super cute! My parents shipped a 60′s Land Rover back a couple years ago when they moved to the states. It’s quite pricey to ship a car, but they were able to pack it full. In the end I’m not sure it was worth it. He has not driven it once as it needs all kinds of silly things in order to pass safety inspection in Utah.

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21 Karen M January 18, 2012 at 9:06 am

LOVE it! I so hope you can get it back to the States. What a super souvineer that would be!! No need to worry about maintaining it stateside… so many import mechanics (and maybe a new hobby for BB and Ralph)! The perfect purchase in my opinion.

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22 Aidan January 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

I love your little car. How fun! I’m sure you can take it with you. It would be a shame not to….
What a nice surprise!
aidan

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23 Jadah January 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

That car has so much style. Congrats on the purchase!

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24 sony January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

We just sent our car from NY to Rotterdam in August. I wouldn’t recommend the movers since they were 2 months late with the car but it cost us 1300 (better than buying a new or 2nd hand car). You can always put it in a container with your stuff… if you end up taking a container.

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25 sony January 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

btw: love the car… esp the windows and dashboard.

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26 Jane Shaw January 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

You may want to look into what modifications the car will need to be legally driveable in the U.S. before shipping to back there when you leave France. I believe the emissions and safety standards are more stringent stateside and could be expensive to meet….

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27 Kathy Bodrero January 18, 2012 at 11:43 am

So true – I think that the windshields have to be changed – lots of things to look into!

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28 caroline January 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

SO FUN … SO BLAIR :) and probably a future big success for Ralph ;)
Can wait to see it !
Kisses
Caroline

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29 margaret January 18, 2012 at 10:19 am

How did you find this amazing car?!?

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30 Mags January 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

So. Awesome! What an excellent surprise.

My dad has fond memories of a trip he took to Europe one summer during college with three other friends, where one of the guys arranged in advance to buy a VW Beetle while they were in Germany. The four of them spent the summer tooling around the continent in it…and then at the end of the trip, he shipped it home without a problem. I always loved the idea of the memories he must have had in that car…I hope you’ll be able to take this little guy home with you as a reminder of *your* adventures!

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31 Cortnie January 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

Pre-kids, my husband bought a sweet butter yellow 1969 MG. It sadly sits in our garage because it doesn’t accomodate car seats but we’re hoping to keep it for when the boys start driving!

That Renault is TOO wonderful – enjoy!

xo
cortnie

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32 Stacey H January 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

Now THAT is a souvenir!

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33 Chi @ Carousel January 18, 2012 at 10:42 am

Wow!!! That looks like such fun to drive and what a great memory to have of your time in France! :D

I’ve been lusting after a pastel Nissan Figaro even though it (perhaps!) wouldn’t accommodate a car seat for my daughter.

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34 findingmagnolia January 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

I love it! Every time we’ve been to France, I’ve admired the little old cars. The Renault is a French classic, for sure. Hooray for Ben Blair!

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35 Ann January 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

How cool is that! Have fun with it – so cute!!!

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36 hitomineko January 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

lovely photos! vintage cars are awesome!

xoxo HitomiNeko xoxo
http://hitomineko-hn.blogspot.com

I’m hosting a giveaway ! xoxo

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37 Bri (like the cheese) January 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Is your sister completely jealous?!

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38 Ale January 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I don’t want to ruin your dream to take it to the USA, but when 2 years ago we were planning to drive (and to put on a ferry) an old (not vintage! just old!) motorbike to Italy from the Uk, we realized that only the registration taxes were so ridiculously high, that we gave up… :(

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39 se7en January 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Oh now that is darling!!! LOVE!!!

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40 Sara L. January 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I don’t comment much on here, but I’m a regular reader. Had to comment here, oh my goodness, you are so lucky. Awesome set of wheels, try to take it with you, it’s a little piece of France. Bigger than a breadbox, yes, but you must try to find a way!
And, you deserve it, as always, I love reading every honest and uplifting post you write. Congrats on your book deal, can’t wait to hear more !

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41 Eilidh January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

GO Ben!!

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42 carole January 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Can I offer another perspective?

The old saying, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” certainly apply to vintage cars. They are fun to look at and (make great photo props) and are great fun for short excursions on neighborhood streets when an experienced driver is at the wheel. But they lack the sophisticated safety improvements we now take for granted and rely on – most likely no power steering, antilock breaks, airbags. They have rudimentary safety restraint systems, hard edges, not much padding, certainly no air bags, etc. A car from the early 70′s lacks 40+ years of safety improvements. About 20 years ago I lived in a small town and an acquaintance’s daughter was killed driving a 1960′s vintage car. Tragically, the seat belt in that particular car was not sufficient for the load the accident put on it and it failed. It certainly became a cautionary tale among the parents of that small town.

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43 Amy January 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

thats such an awesome car. But the safety warnings are definitely true. My in-laws have a vintage mercedes. I don’t like to put the kids in it, but it was fun to drive before we had the kids!

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44 Nanda January 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Luckyyy! Gosh, that’s fantastic, I’m so happy for you and your family. I’m jealous! I used to own a 1964 old-school style Land Rover. It was this burn red with chipped paint and a true work horse. It was beautiful. I live in Boston, so it was an odd appearance to many people here. I had to sell it (one of my worst regrets!) – but will get another vintage car someday. My husband adores them too (AND is a Parisian) so it’s in our future for sure. (I’m forwarding this post to him now… he’s going to be beside himself!) :)

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45 Pascal January 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm

The best choice! Have fun + good trips!

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46 robin January 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Lucky you! MY dream car has always been a Fiat 500. Years ago I test drove one stateside being sold by a car collector. I wanted it SOOOO bad, but it only went 45mph had no windshield wipers and NO gas gauge!!!! I’m one of those drivers that waits until my tank says it’s empty and then I drive 30 miles more – no gas gauge was the deal breaker!!!! Also as a stylist I really do need a car I can actually fit stuff in…When my kids are grown though I hope to own one – or a vespa…..

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47 This girl loves to talk January 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

yes is your sister jealous? she’s been blogging about scrolling sites for tiny vintage cars. Trumped by her older sister??? grrrrr lol.

cute car. you could rent it out for photo props when you get back home, if for nothing else….

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48 Janelle Chapman January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

So much advice on your beautiful vintage car!! If you do end up taking it home enjoy it!
I have just bought a French 19872CV Special from a Frenchman here in Australia. He gave me lessons as the gear shift is in the dash! He also gave us lots of advice and websites for parts if needed.
Ruby is RED!! and perfectly gorgeous and quirky! If you can find a mechanic who works on imported cars and drive it respectfully it will bring your family many hours of fun and pleasure. Good luck and good on you Ben Blair!

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49 Sylvie January 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Love it! Very well bought Ben. My Mum had a teeny tiny Renault, just like yours, when I was younger it was the absolute best. Easy to drive, or learn to drive in ;) super dooper cute and easy to push if it broke down (which was rarely). Enjoy it!

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50 Rebecca January 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

A friend of mine married a guy from Canada and his family sent a car that he restored all the way to Australia. How much it cost i am not sure but it is possible!

I hope you get to keep the car, it is simply precious!

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51 Jen January 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Fun! Pre-kids my husband had a 69 yellow mustang bought from the original owner a 60 something retiree who’s children convinced her to sell it for a safer ride.. we loved driving around in that car! We eventually sold it to an artist. Hopefully she’s still driving it!

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52 Rita Sunderland January 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

My goodness that is the cutest little time travel device! Forget new cars they just don’t have the style and flair that classic cars used to. Why is it the European style license plates always make a car looks like it should be tooling through the countryside happily zipping along? Congratulations on the sweet purchase and now you have to find a vintage outfit to go on rides with!

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53 Mau January 19, 2012 at 12:22 am

I love it! You can still find a lot of vintage cars in our streets on this island. When I was younger I used to dislike them but now I have a whole new appreciation for them and the little history they carry with them. I hope you manage to get it over to America!

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54 Kate January 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

Rad!

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55 Mary Carstens January 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

That’s awesome! Enjoy it and have fun!!

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56 ines January 19, 2012 at 9:19 am

4L is a classic. Citroen Diane or an original VW Beatle or the 600 or 500 series Fiat. I’m sure I’m forgetting many other great classic (and small) European city cars….

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57 Dee January 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

How fun!

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58 Lisa January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

That’s awesome! I love that little car from your pictures. I really do hope there’s a way you can bring it back to the States. Your boys will thank you for it when they’re teenagers. :)

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59 macarena January 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

we had the same one when we lived in Brussels with my parents, only in red. 30 years later we always comment about the small car we had (4 kids) and we even went to Spain and Italy for a summer, so it’s not bad at all for a large family car jajaja

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60 Angie January 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm

What a wonderful souvenir! Call the Mayflower agent you worked with in the past. Mayflower moves items all over the world. They’ll definitely find a way to get it back to the states for you!

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61 bdaiss January 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Oh goodness that IS something fun! I so hope you can bring it back to the states…and then I’m going to come visit so we can take a spin in it! Wouldn’t that be amazing to learn to drive in!

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62 Cath March 13, 2012 at 4:28 am

I love Renault 4s! A good friend of mine had one in Italy that didn’t have a handbrake – spent quite a lot of time chasing it down slopes!

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