Which car is fueling your obsession this week?
Almost all of us have a car that's within arm's reach that's sufficient, but what car are you infatuated with today?
As 2035 rapidly approaches, internal combustion engine cars will soon meet the same fate of the dinosaurs that fuel them. It's time to search the web and the world to find and drive the cars that will soon enter the history books.
This week, instead of going on to electric car forums and dispelling rumors and lies, I decided it's time to follow in the footsteps of Ash Ketchum. I found myself watching, yet again, old Motorweek videos. This week's goal is to find a 1987 Renault Alliance GTA-- one of the few, rare, and modern French-USA fusion cars in the United States.
The re-engineered Renault 9 and 11 arrived in the United States in 1982 and were produced by American Motor Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Alliance and Encore represented AMC's answer to the fuel crisis and increasing competition from other automakers to make small, fuel efficient cars, while fulfilling the alliance it had with Renault. According to a 1982 Renault advertisement, the Alliance/Encore was "the bargain of the year in the U.S.," with an MSRP of $5,595 US ($15,861 in 2021). The 1983 Motortrend COTY Award went to the Alliance, selling over 200,000 units in its first year.
The Alliance and Encore would save AMC in 1983, but it took a steep decline shortly after that. 1987 was the only year that the GTA was available. The GTA was essentially Renault's take on a Golf GTI and something they'd hope help boost sales stateside. A 2.0L four-cylinder engine good for 95 HP, five-speed manual, and Michelin tires with upgraded suspension components brought the MSRP just under $10,000. Motorweek tested the Alliance GTA with a 0-60 MPH time in 10.3 seconds, it passed the 55-0 MPH braking test at 100 feet, and returned an average of 25 MPG (9.4L/100KM). Designed by Robert Opron, the same designer for many French cars like the Citroen SM, CX, and the Alfa Romeo SZ, it was one of his best selling designs. Unfortunately, The GTA trim was a last ditch effort before Chrysler bought AMC and Renault left the shores of the United States. The Alliance and Encore were discontinued in 1988.
I think it's quite attractive, boxy, and love the GTA's wheels. Sometimes you just want some forbidden fruit. I'd love to buy or drive one of these just to taste the spicy croissant. It seems like good ol' analog fun, with everything mechanical available at your fingertips and ahead of the compact car frenzy in the 1990s and 2000s. This was that car that was a double edged sword for AMC, the one that saved it in the early 1980s, but the same one that was also responsible for the brand's death.
These are still fairly inexpensive, but only if there's one to be bought. One on Cars & Bids sold last month for $2,100 bucks out of Pennsylvania. There aren't any nearby in San Diego, Los Angeles, or even in California. I'd like to scratch this itch, but it's gonna take some elbow grease or until I lose interest find something even cooler next week.
I've never driven any French cars, so it's time to change that. What is your dream car of the week, let me know in the comments.