Alain Clenet on the cover of the April 1980 Santa Barbara Times Magazine. (source: Clenet Corner).
Clenet is arguably the most beautifully styled automobile series ever built. Each limited-production model was conceived, designed, and produced by a small team of dedicated men and women in Santa Barbara, California in the 1970s and 1980s. The automobile's distinctive 1930s styling and meticulous hand craftsmanship turned heads wherever they went. Clenets boasted the latest in drive train and suspension system technology under a body of steel giving them superior reliability to go with their beauty.
Features such as Italian walnut burl dashboards and etched glass accented by Waterford crystal ashtrays brought many Clenet models under Alfred DiMora's leadership in at over $100,000. In those days, you could buy a nice house for that price tag. That didn't stop an eclectic group of buyers ranging from Farrah Fawcett, Rod Stewart, Ken Norton, and Sylvester Stallone to King Hussein of Jordan.
Mr. DiMora's Clenet was selected as the Official Centennial Car in 1986, the year that President Reagan declared the Centennial Year of the Gasoline-Powered Automobile. This put Alfred DiMora and the Clenet into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Michigan. Clenets were called "Drive Art" by Automotive Age and the "American Rolls-Royce" by Fortune.
This section provides a history of this beautiful series of cars. It includes a sampling of those who bought and loved their cars, the rave notices of the news media, and the factories where these timeless classics sprang to life. (source: dimora).
Clenet produced 248 Series I automobiles (#1 and #2 were never made) plus one prototype often called the Clenet Continental. Production was at the original Goleta airport location from 1977 through 1979.
Clenet produced 182 Series II automobiles from late 1979 - 1982 and then continued at Carpinteria 1984 - 1986. It is not clear if any of the Carpinteria cars were new production or just construction of parts left from the original Coachworks. Most sources agree that Carpinteria cars begin with number #175 where the last cars, #181 and #182 were not completely assembled. A telltale sign of where the car was built is that the original Coachworks cars have a plaque xxx/250 whereas the Carpinteria cars have xxx/500. This is just a "rule of thumb". Exact records have been lost.
(source: Clenet Corner).
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