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Clenet

Clenet Coachworks made just over 480 automobiles.
Filed under:  Companies
 
Comment(s): 18
 
 

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.


clenet logo

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).


clenet icon

cover1

Alain Clenet on the cover of the April 1980 Santa Barbara Times Magazine. (source: Clenet Corner).

CLENET EMBLEMS
clenet badge1

clenet grill series 1 roadster emblem 78 sm

Front grill from a 1978 Clenet Series I Roadster.

clenet emblem series 1 roadster 78 sm

Emblem from a 1978 Clenet Series I Roadster.

CLENET CARS
clenet series1 146

Clenet Series 1, Number 146. (source: Clenet Corner).

whatis1

(source: Clenet Corner).

whatis2 specs

(source: Clenet Corner).

whatis3 cars

(source: Clenet Corner).

RELATED ARTICLES
Clenet ads   
LINKS
Clenet Corner   Clenet enthusiasts.
DiMora   Official site.
 
 
COMMENTS
Thomas Lorenz2377 days ago

dear sir,
i need to know what a jear is my clenet II.
Here ist the body number:16CCB211XB1000138
Pleace help me.
sinserely

thomas lorenz

CT2377 days ago

Thomas, I have no way to know this info.

Felix2314 days ago

I personally prefer the BUFORI cars..
I visited the factory and was amazed by the quality of their craftsmanship and the materials they use..
www.bufori.com

John2258 days ago

I have a Gatsby Cabriolet which is almost exactly the same car. They are both pretty much based on the 'Cooper' neoclassic made from an MG Midget and Ford parts.

Steve2121 days ago

These cars were synthetic mobile turds, more embarassing now than new if that's possible. Stupid + Money - Taste = Buyers who bought them. Now, Stupid + Money - Taste = Turd Worship. They didn't mean anything then and they don't mean anything now.

SAM2002 days ago

I've never seen one of these in the flesh, but I've wished I had one. I did see some folks with an Excalibur in Houston one time, and they let me take some pics sitting in the car, but I've always believed the Clenet was the finer of the two.
There was a poster for a give-a-way circa 1978 of one of these. I saw it at Radio Shack, and I believe the contest was sponsored by Pioneer. If one could be found that would be a nice piece of memo to add to ya'll collection.
Nice cars..........

Looker1990 days ago

This Clenet is sale 24.7.2009 from Finland , Vaasa

AJ1938 days ago

www.dimoramotorcar.com check this website out. Dimora own clenet planet and has a ton of info clenet cars. Take a look at his new car called Natalia SLS 2 V16 1200 hp

fun cars1922 days ago

Alain Clenet put the car company under. Alfred DiMora was one of the first to work there in 1976 and took over the clenet coachworks in 1980 and really built the best clenets ever. He had the touch see his new car and see for yourself ww.dimoramotorcar.com Alfred made clenet what it is today. DiMora's new ar Natalia rules 1200 hp $2 million V16. Check his website for all your clenet needs. Great info on all clenet cars.

cuyguy1826 days ago

DiMora owned clenet and now has clenet club go to www.clenetclub.com for parts,photos,clenets for sale etc.Also check out DiMora new car $2 million V16 WWW.DIMORAMOTORCAR.COM and dimora bikes.

craig sturgeon1634 days ago

i own no 63/150 series 1 i had it for 15 years , been in the family for many more , love it and have a hard time parting with it. this is a car that every one wants some time in their life , and i have one and loveing it , it's going to be tought parting , but some times one has to let go , and hopes it goes to some one like your self. thanks for the ride

Saw one at Hemmings Motor News, (in Vt) Cruise In (7/10). Was awestruck . It had Massachucetts plates, talked briefly with owner - he had other things on mind.

My impression, in two words, "God Damn". Such a style, such basic beauty, a refined opulence, a piece of art on wheels. I don't believe I'll ever be impressed as with this example of a motor car -- and, over the years a few have been sighted.

So glad to have had the opportunity to stare, dumbfounded.

NYOB1574 days ago

"A car that every one wants?" Please. Park one next to a real '30s classic, and it's apparent that the Clenet is just a bunch of styling cues slapped together in a disproportionate mess. Let's not forget the egregious fakery of the non-functional external pipes and the hood which is literally twice as long as the engine underneath.

It was also an insult to the engineering of the classic cars it apes. When you bought a '30s Stutz, Cadillac or a Packard, in addition to beautiful bodywork, you were getting top-notch, state of the art mechanical components. You would not wind up with a run-of-the-mill asthmatic Ford V8 in what was at best a middle-of-the-road production frame shared with millions of "lesser" cars.

R. Rob Andre1341 days ago

I own a Series-1 Roadster, #48 of the 248 produced, buying it from the original owner in 1991. Of course I'm prejudiced, but I happen to think that the Clenet Roadsters of 1977 thru 1979 were the most stylish of the three type series cars manufactured. There are two Clenet Clubs here in the States, (1)- the 'Clenet Cluster', http://www.clenetcorner.com/index.html which is a very informal group of owners, including Alain Clenet, and they try to put on a get-together once per year. (2)- The 'Classic Clenet Club', http://www.clenetclub.com/magazines.html previously mentioned by others. Clenets were recently inducted into the Antique Automobile Club of America as 2nd Generation Classics.

Ron1325 days ago

Owner of S-1, #229 / 250.
No matter what your thoughts are, if the car brings a smile to a face, let them enjoy it! I wanted a S-1 Clenet since turning 16 in 1979, just a few years after the initial introduction at the LA auto show. Just a few years ago, the “right” Clenet came on the market and we jumped on it. I enjoy my Clenet and understand the design process Alain meant for the car. To the people making snide comments, you need to see the car in person to understand the high quality materials and workmanship that went into these cars. To the Gatsby owner, I too believe the Gatsby and Corsair are near rivals, however once you've sat in and driven a Clenet, you'll then understand the difference between the vehicles. These are factory-built vehicles with their own Federal VIN assigned to the company. The leather seats are Recarro, the steering wheel is Nardi. Dash fascia is burl walnut as the carpets are Wilton wool. Even the trunk is lined in leather and wool! The frame is fully box-welded with additional cross members. Local mechanics have worked on the car and all comment how solid it is. A neo-classic is just that… a “new classic” that provides the styling cues of vehicle from decades past with the reliability of modern (1970’s) mechanical components for everyday drivability. We enjoy the car…immensely!

Tony Ferguson1296 days ago

i worked at the clenet plant in the early 80s.location was 50 rose lane carpenteria ca. our cars were produced from a variety of parts taken from other vehicles.primary donor was the ford crown victoria, from this vehicle was taken the frame which was sliced down the middle length wise w/6-8 inches taken out. the frame was then lengthend.engine &drivetrain were used in original condition and carryed a full factory warrenty, serviceable at any ford dealership. carefull observers will notice that the cowl and winshield pillars came from a vdub super beetle convertible, as did the door shellls which were cut down from the bottom ,fitted with custom window lifts.all wiring harnesses were produced in house.by the way do those tail lights look familiar to any harley enthusiasts.

CEO1292 days ago

The Clenet is one of the most beautiful cars every produced. I have a 1979 Series II with 13,920 miles on it. It needs a little work, however, I am willing to sell it to the right buyer. I can be contacted at carleorr@verizon.net

John1052 days ago

[Stupid + Money - Taste = Buyers who bought them. Now, Stupid + Money - Taste = Turd Worship.]

That is similar to a comment I heard from a stuck up individual I knew. He was talking about a Chevelle SS and all other American cars (he only likes Volvos and Saabs).

These are fun cars. Just like all kit cars and hot rods, they are silly and I don't see anything wrong with that. If we all have to be so intelligent in our car choice, there would only be Toyota Camrys and Volkswagon Passats out there.

I've looked at a Clenet Series I and would love take one for a test drive for a day. I wish there was an outfit in my area that I could rent interesting cars from.

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