The Renault Sport Clio V6 ticks every box on the list of what makes a neat car. It's French and was unobtainable in America, but more importantly, it's a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car, one based on what's otherwise an economy city-dweller. If one were to come up for sale in the States, it'd be worth some hubbub.
And one has.
Clio V6 number 28 has just come up for sale on the North American continent, meaning that the car is from the first production run of Clio V6 road cars. "Phase 1," as it was known, was preceded by a car called the Clio V6 Trophy, first offered in 1999 as the vehicle of choice for a Renault-run spec racing series. Road cars arrived in 2001, all 1,513 of which were prepared by multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning race team Tom Walkinshaw Racing.
Despite outward similarity to the Clio supermini, the two cars share little in the way of parts or sheet metal. Renault deleted the road Clio's front-mounted one- to two-liter engine, and hoisted a 2.9-liter V6—reworked from its initial appearance in the Laguna sedan—into its rear, mounting it and a six-speed manual where the passenger seats would normally be. Its 227 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque may not sound like much by today's standards, but zero-to-60 in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 146 miles per hour weren't small peanuts for a European sports car in the early 2000s.
Naturally, with Renault being gone from the U.S. market since 1991, the Clio V6 was never sold here. But somehow, one made its way over to North America, and is now for sale in Quebec on AutoTrader Canada for $60,000 CAD, or just under $45,000 USD.
And that'd be the catch. The Great White North only requires that a car not originally sold in its borders to be 15 years old for importation, while the U.S. of A demands a 25-year vintage. That means that while some Quebecoi might have taken this 2001 Clio V6 home as long ago as 2016, it won't be legal to import to America as a normal road car until 2026. There are a couple loopholes, of which you're probably aware if you have a fat stack set aside to buy an imported car, but odds are a Canadian Francophile will snap it up long before you can get papers in order for this Clio.