As far as we know only 26 were built and then the manufacturer went broke. Although basicaly 3 layouts were advertised by them, (right) none one of the Crestacrafts we have come across have exactly one of those layouts, they are all modified in one way or the other, so they were all more or less custombuilt.
Our Renault has a layout like the first one with the difference that our toilet/shower is less wide and has no vanity. The toilet is a Porta Potti since there is no room for a cassette toilet. An advantage of this solution is that there is an unblocked view to the rear through the rear view mirror and you can pull out the double bed somewhat more.
The backrest of the front bench of the dinette can topple over to accommodate 2 passengers facing forward. Its a rather ingenious construction. Facing forward one sits on the backrest while the seat is raised and acts as backrest. (no seatbelts however) Under this seat a 30 litre 2-way boiler is located which can be heated by 230V mains or by the coolant of the engine. A 15 minutes drive is enough to heat the 30 ltr. The only flaw with this construction is that the boiler is a rectangular container that cannot support the full pressure of the pump so they added a pressure reduction valve. Showering with with 2 different pressures for hot and cold makes the adjusting the temperature quite a challenge!
The other bench of the dinette contains a 70 litre watertank. so no storage there.
Grey water tanks were not supplied by the factory in the 80's. Grey water from the kitchen or the shower just poured out in the grass or at the most in a bucket. Nowadays you're are not allowed to camp free or to visit rallies when you're not self contained. Our NZ club (the NZMCA) and the NZ governement are very strict about this. Since the chassis is only about 12 cm high is difficult to squeeze in some holding tanks between the girders. Our solution is a 38 ltr, 15 cm high polypropylene tank in the rear supported by the towbar and connected to the shower. In the locker under the kitchen sink we have a 25 ltr water container used as a day-tank . This is enough for a 2-3 day use. When full it overflows into the rear tank. (I earned my selfcontainment certificate with this "Kiwi ingenuity")
There is a 2 burner cooker in the kitchen on which one of the burners can be turned over downward to act as a toaster.Underneath is a 3-way fridge. Both use LPG.
LPG is not a problem in NZ. Most fuel stations also have a bottle-fill station. The gas bottles are fully standardised all over NZ, only one type of connector and reduction valve. (I wished we had that in Europe). Power steering was not supplied in those days. In the meantime several Renaults have been converted to (electrical) power steering.
Ours is still "original", but if you know a used power steering system for right hand driving in the UK I would be very interested. (Contact via Webmaster)
3 Renaults at a NZMCA rally.
From left to right the serial numbers 006 (ours) 014 and 001.
Cars #001 and #014 are still owned by the first owners. I myself am second owner of ours. I bought the car in 2000 (16 years old) with only 20.000 miles on the meter.
#014 The guy that owns it has made so much modifications and additions that is now rather overweighted. Being underpowered allready he had to add a turbo on the engine and use front wheels with smaller diameter to keep up some speed.
#001 has a story of its own. In the first place its 30 cm shorter than all the others. Therefore the bed in the rear also needs the rear bench of the dinette for its only about 1.50 mtr long. Obviously the factory spotted this mishap and all the other cars have a (even) longer chassis and a 30 cm additional panel in the side panelling. For #001 the rear axle was used unmodified. Since the body is much wider at that point it looks somewhat wobbly. The later models all have a widened rear axle.
As you can see : the outside mirrors came from the standard van. They are far to short and you can't even see your own sides. I was amazed that this was allowed in NZ. Seeing anything behind the car is out of the question
I have now mounted the much longer pickup mirrors. I could get them in Holland as used parts and I supplied several to fellow Renault drivers in NZ. Getting spare parts for a Renault is a problem in NZ for those Renaults are the only ones in whole NZ.
If possible I take spare parts with me from Holland. A broken windshield takes about 4 weeks to get it replaced am I already have my third one, and it probably will be not the last one taking into account the condition of most roads in NZ. A large portion or the road network is unsealed or gravel roads, but you have to use them to get to the realy nice spots.
It is a good thing that the Renault was designed to survive the rough French country backroads Places like the photo on the right is not uncommon in NZ: gravel roads and no bridges;
I found the car in the top (left) picture in 2002 for sale in Christchurch. It turned out to be serial number 008 and was built as minibus (peoplemover as they say in NZ) for a school of disabled children. In 2004 I spotted the car in the lower picture and found out that it was the same car but coverted into a motorhome. It still had the nice wide entrance door that allowed wheelchairs to pass. The layout is self developed and completely different from the others.
The last 3 cars ever built had twin axles in the rear. The car in the picture (right) is the last one ever completed by the factory. The very last one was not completed and was sold as a chassis. I am told that that it was completed as a motorhome by an amateur.