Forgotten Sporty Cars Part VII: Renault GTA

Welcome back to Forgotten Sporty Cars at The Garage! In this space we recall an era where small, economy car-based based vehicles were sold with zippy styling. Whether there was any substance to the sizzle we’ll leave for you to judge.

1987 Renault GTA

87gtaconvertible

The Renault GTA was a limited production model based on the Alliance (which was based on the Renault 9). Built in the last full year of Alliance production, the GTA was available as a coupe or convertible. 

The GTA was distinguished from the Alliance by its more powerful engine, a 2.0 liter four cylinder rated at 95hp. A five-speed manual was the only transmission available. Externally, the GTA featured side skirts, front air dam, rear spoiler, no chrome trim and 15″ Ronal alloy wheels. Inside, the GTA featured full instrumentation, well-bolstered seats, and a steering wheel from the European-only Renault R5 Turbo.

The GTA lays claim to the shortest-lived Sporty Car profiled here in The Garage. I actually owned a red GTA coupe when I was 17 years old, until a UPS truck rear-ended me on I-95, which totaled the car. At the time, the GTA was sort of an eccentric alternative to a GTI, Civic Si or Corolla FX-16. The car looked the part, was quick enough, handled well and had quick steering, as I recall. Compared to the competition, fit and finish wasn’t even close; the GTA felt cheap and tinny.  When Chrysler took over AMC in 1987, the Alliance, and the GTA along with it bit the dust.

The Garage thanks AMXFiles for providing information contained in this article.

Comments

    • Joseph Wagner says

      Here it is March 2012 and I am still driving my GTA as a daily driver. There cars had their good points, quick handling, decent braking, well made interior seats. But they are aging. Somewhat easy to work on if you have the patience and done it already a time or two on an Alliance 1.7. Parts are mostly used now as new has dried up long ago. Lots of fun still driving my GTA to a dance, 100 miles to and from on a saturday evening. Just get in it an zip to it. Joe Wagner in Cincinnati Ohio.

  1. says

    All of these “Forgotten” cars are forgotten for a good reason. Having worked on them for years and now seeing them again gives me the willys. The majority of cars built during then were so “tossed together” that without a doubt all of them were the worst designed and constructed automobiles built since the beginning of mass produced automobiles not to mention unreliable.

    It’s important to put things into proper perspective as all that was going on during this period in time… First of all we had hostages in Iran which was on everyone’s mind we were bombarded with it daily in all forms of media. Then there was the oil embargos which led to long gas lines and rationing which also played on everyone’s emotions. These two factors led to racial tensions which seemed to anger daily life all the more.

    It was this very same political environment that caused the federal government to begin forcing the auto manufactures to start building “economy” cars and sadly it was all of this that was the beginning of the end to the muscle car era as we knew it. Furthermore the insurance industry jumped on the band wagon all but eliminating convertibles and all rates went up never to be lowered again.

    Then the “snowball” effect began. Because of the oil embargo which led to the gas shortage and gas lines all other forms of transportation rose such as all shipping and trucking. This meant that the cost of all products in stores rose. I can remember specifically when sugar not only tripled in price but even became rationed for a period of time directly as a result of shipping cost and it wasn’t long before coffee followed suit. I had to laugh when toilet paper was rationed. (No joke)

    Al, things considered, the bottom line was that during the period of time when the cars in this series were being produced the atmosphere America was at an all time low. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan came into office as President that Americans began to see a glimmer of hope. It was President Reagan that took the helm and gave Americans hope, soon after rallying everyone once again to realizing we lived in one of the greatest countries in the world. Soon after the oil embargo was lifted, gas shortage and lines ended and thank God cars began to look and drive like cars again.

    The next time someone mentions “The Good Old Days” to you, tell them to shove them were the sun don’t shine and do it in Le Car.

  2. Tom Williams says

    Wow-not the response I had anticipated. First, It think it is a given that the cars built from any given era are a product of the social/political/economic forces that defined those times.
    Second, I want to clarify what the ‘Forgotten’ cars series is not. I’m not writing about these cars to remind people of the problems facing the world at the time they were built. I’m not necessarily celebrating these cars either. Each car that gets mentioned here was doomed for a reason, I and always explain why they failed. That’s why you won’t see GTI’s and Civic Si’s featured here-even in dark times, they were outstanding cars in their class.
    With that in mind, I’ll tell you what the ‘Forgotten’ car series is. First, to entertain you, The Garage reader. Since I assume we are read by all age groups, some of you used to own these cars, had forgotten about them, or may never have heard of them or knew they existed. It’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come. The hottest Renault at the time in the US couldn’t crack 100hp. A turbocharged Hyundai Scoupe only had 115hp. The most basic, inexpensive cars today would run circles around these so-called sporty cars of this era.
    It would be something entirely different if I called an automotive turd a great car. Or recalled the 70′s or ’80′s the greatest era in autodom.
    These cars are misfits. Failures, for any number of reasons-bad design. Bad engineering. Poor marketing. Passing fads. But they are unique and quirky in their own ways. I point out the good, the bad, and the ugly for each car. If anything, these cars were little glimpses of light in a dark time.

  3. says

    Whoa…interesting turn of events here! As a somewhat typical apathetic Canadian, I always find it interesting that a dinner party with Americans always ends up with at least one political conversation. It just doesn’t come up in our world, but always does in yours. Funny.

    As for the Renault line. I suspect much of the problem has to do with North America. The 5 (our Le Car) was loved (or at least sorta loved) in most other parts of the world. Here in NA, it was a rusty pile of crap with electrics so bad you might have been excused for thinking they were British.

    Except of course for the R5 Turbo, which was drool worthy just about everywhere.

    The Alliance was a pile of crap everywhere. The bright spot in the car’s history had to be as the “star” of a short lived Alliance Cup, an SCCA sanctioned showroom stock series. Ugly and unreliable, but fun. Perhaps proof that if it has wheels, guys will race it.

  4. says

    “with electrics so bad you might have been excused for thinking they were British”…That’s right Gary, have another pop at Mr Lucas and his famous electrical component company. Go on, I’ve heard them all…
    Why do the Brit’s drink warm beer, because Lucas makes refrigerators!
    Lucas-the inventor of the world’s first intermittent wiper.
    The three position Lucas switch – Dim, Flicker and Off.
    But his famous saying summed it up perfectly…”Gentlemen do not motor around after dark”.

    As far as Renault goes… I worked on several vehicles back in the UK and if you think that British products were badly designed, you should try working on a French car. I once had to change an alternator on an 80′s Citroen. It involved removing the complete bumper and the entire grille to gain access. Of course, that was after lifting the spare wheel from the top of the engine (The obvious place to keep it). Basically, they had positioned the alternator first, and then built the engine around it!
    The French have made some wonderful cars over the years, but they always seem to be strangely put together and difficult to work on.
    It’s funny but over the years I’ve come to this conclusion…Each country of manufacturer has its peculiar and individual way of engineering vehicles, and you have to be able to get your head around that to be able to work on them. I’ve found the best way to deal with French cars is to have half a dozen bottles of decent French wine before you actually start :-)

  5. says

    As bad as these cars were they did fill a important spot in automotive lore the “OMGWTFWTT” category which has fueled debates like this one and made many a party or garage BS session or “Remember the…” conversation more fun.

    I love seeing these cars as I had blocked them out. Keep the series going. I vote for Le Car next or maybe a USA entry like a… Pacer, Aztek, or AMX. Save the Chrysler 300, a brick on wheels, moderne version, for the future.

    The biggest joke car I owned was the Volvo 444! Gad it’s SU carbs never worked! Looked like and old ’40s Ford, handled like a Corvair, poor visibility, crappy paint and was in the “shop” most of the time because of the carbs. Owned it for one full year, in 1967, then traded it for a 1953 Chevy 4 door Bel Air. Loved that car and in 1968 it was still a kool car that many a Mexican fellow asked to buy. Sadly though, I had to spend time in the army and had to sell it.

    Gary… As far as a TP being rationed… don’t remember that and I’m 62. I do remember sugar going through the roof though but don’t remember any rationing of that either. I do remember those items being very scarce.

    Mr Grant… if you think we Americans are political try a party in France, España, or especially in The Netherlands. Gad the Dutch know more about us that we do! I, personally, have found since the crash in October I stay away from politico stuff all together!

    Crash… As a kid I loved your ranch out here in SoCal and loved to watch you ride that big white horse and shoot your pistol, Fort Apache was kool, I loved the rock candy you sold and the sarsaparilla. It was a fun inexpensive day, we rented a 1956 Chevy for the day as we owned no car… ;-)

    Crash… I’d say a full dozen pints would be best for the Riley and probably a quart of vodka for the Corvair would work.

  6. says

    I agree with RB, I love these trips down memory lane. Although I spent most of my youth in the UK so I’m a little unfamiliar with the U.S. iron. Mind you, my Mum had a few weird contraptions when I was a kid. I remember a NSU Prinz that she had. We lived in a hilly area of England at the time and if we had more than 2 or 3 in the car, we had to get out on some hills and climb back in at the top. We had the same problem with a Renault Dauphine that she owned, great downhill or along the flat, but a real pain in the butt on the hills!

    Mind you, before my parents divorced my Dad had a few nice machines…A Jag Mk11 3.8L stickshift, a Ferrari Dino, a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, a MB 500 SEC AMG. In fact, the year before he passed away (at 77) he finally sold his M3 (Quite a guy eh!) My favorite of his was a Ford Mustang Mach 1 convertible with a 356 Cleveland (is that right?) Black ram air hood, and 12 wide wolfrace wheels. It was silver with a black top and would literally stop traffic on the streets of London in the 70′s. I’d love to purchase one like it one of these days.

    I used to wholesale vehicles in the UK when I was younger and so I’ve owned a few strange beasts over the years…a Aston Martin V8 (I paid 4,000 ponds for it), a Fiat X19, a Bertone Volvo, Alfasud, Lancia Beta, an NSU R080, VW 411E and lots of Bugs! I also had a Mini van (Not the Chrysler), Land Rover series 1, a Mini Cooper 998, and a Morris Minor pickup with a 1275 twin carb in it, a 3.0L Capri and a Ghia, and just about every Cortina ever built. I’ve owned 100′s of cars over the years but those stick in my mind, although my favorite, and the one which I should have kept…a genuine ex-works Ford escort Mk1 RS 2000 rally car. I can still remember the license plate…LAB 22K. The problem was, I didn’t realize that it was an ex-works car until I’d blown the engine and sold it on!

    • Vince Pryer says

      Hi. I bought the exact same mark 1 escort in 1987. used it for 4years sold it to the old forge at stoke cannon near Exeter. Haven't seen it since.

  7. says

    I thought that he was more of a movie stunt man actually but here’s my story…My Father was in the British Paratroop Regiment and used to carry out test jumps for them (Apparently he was quite good). Obviously, with the Corrigan surname and his jumping skills the nickname Crash was a no-brainer. I inherited it later on when I raced schoolboy motocross and had bent a few cars on the family farm.

    Here’s an interesting one for you though…My father changed our family surname when I was around 6 yrs old. Why? Who knows. We think that it possibly had something to do with the Irish troubles and the Para’s (A lot of Regiment guys did that back then). Anyway, Corrigan is not my real surname at the moment but I plan top change it back to the original again soon. I resurrected it as a pen name when I started writing because it worked so well (If I had a dollar for every time a car company PR rep said, “should we be giving you cars to drive with a name like Crash”, I’d be a rich man). It does however get a little confusing at times, and as my wife uses her maiden name, the mailman thinks there’s a whole tribe of people living at our house :-)

    There, you asked, and now as they say…you know the full story!

  8. says

    Oh, and RB, Quasi-British might possibly be a better description. Born in England to a English Mother, and an Irish Father. My Grandfather was Welsh, my Grandmother Dutch, and her Mother German. I now have British & Canadian citizenship and I’ve lived in Canada for nearly half my life…well rounded is what I’d term myself, others might call me a Heinz 57 mongrel :-)

  9. says

    CC…….. Wow and I thought I had a fun upbringing, you take the cake!

    Crash, Raymond Benard, did lots of movies notably the series The Range Busters. Corriganville was in Semi Valley here in SoCal. But yes he did start as a stuntman back in 1930.

  10. says

    I remember driving an Alliance back in the day – a dealer showed up at an autocross next Toronto with one and I took a drive for the heck of it. Handling dynamics were very… French. Not a good thing – a GTI would have been a far better choice (and the lucky Canadians had the originals way before they were imported into the states).
    But kudos to them for creating an SCCA series. That takes marketing chutzpah and a commitment to cash.
    -Jeff
    DrivingEnthusiast.net

  11. says

    Tom – one other thing you might find interesting to review: the Renault Fuego Turbo. Very interesting attempt to make a true hot hatch. I also got to drive one in Canada in the 1983 timeframe. Lots of fun, although I have to wonder if it even had sway bars ;-)

  12. Rick Williston says

    Stumbled across your page and my head is still reeling from all the posts. Getting back on topic. I bought one of the first GTAs when they first came out in Canada in 1986 so I can give a first hand account of these cars. Yes, they only had 95 HP but what you forgot to mention is that they weighed less than 2000 lbs. Also not mentioned was that there was no car sold in North America in 1987 that could outcorner the GTA. It came stock with 50-series Michelin XGT tires on 15″ rims, not unusual today but back then this was Corvette territory. A specially tuned suspension, thick sway bars and close-ratio gearbox allowed this car to handle and accelerate. My 2L car could out accelerate a 5L Firebird, and don’t even talk about VW GTIs in the same sentence, they couldn’t even come close. I could almost keep up with a 5L Mustang, which was sort of king of the road for stoplight racers back in the late 80s.
    Yes, it did not have the fit and finish of VW, but with the grey/black interior it looked sort of evil inside and besides it was $5000 cheaper than the GTI. I could drive it at any speed and it would get 35 mpg and the car was MORE reliable than most cars on the road. It would eat wheel bearings and motor mounts because the Alliance versions were not up to the extra power and G-forces, but if you did even moderate maintenance on these cars they were rock solid. The problem was not that Renaults were unreliable, the rest of the world had no issues with them, the problem was that North American mechanics did not know how to work on them. Miss a timing belt change and you would trash an engine that could run to 300K miles.
    I put 120K trouble free miles on mine before I got rid of it. I always missed it’s handling so I bought another convertible as a hobby car and resurrected it. You can see a photo of it on Wikipedia that someone took unbeknownst to me, search Renault Alliance and look for the white GTA.
    In general, kudos for your attention to the forgotten cars in general. I have always appreciated the underappreciated cars and used to own a Javelin as well. Most people who think that these cars perished because they were crap have never owned one. Cars like the GTA got lost because of what was happening when Chrysler bought AMC, not because they weren’t fantastic cars.
    I love British cars and orphaned marques because as an engineer I see that creating a competitive car on a budget can be more difficult than slapping a bigger V8 into a car each year. And trashing a car that was more fun to drive than any North American car outside of maybe a Corvette just because you have never driven one or seen one is an all too common reaction. Keep up the good work.
    To me the GTA is the most unknown classic going and that doesn’t at all diminish in the least the smile I get each time I take it out for a drive.

  13. says

    I would love to see pictures of GTA coupe if you have any. I never saw the coupe or convertible version before. But my neighbor had a Le car. 95 horsepower from a 2.0 liter is kind of funny. I know it was 1987 but Now a 2.0 liter is approaching double that. By the way your blog is a lot of fun!

  14. Rick Williston says

    Here’s a pretty good link for those interested

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x70ikf_amc-renault-alliance-gta-1987-usa_auto

    It’s an early promotional video for the dealers I believe. Shows lots of shots of the cars being driven apparently by little old ladies, these cars could do these corners at twice the speed blindfolded.
    Just looking at it I noticed the following differences between the prototypes and the cars actually sold here.
    - the sort of burgundy coloured red was never used, we got a brighter, more orangey red version
    - the grilles on the red cars were not black, but were body coloured. Only a little black was left outside the lights.
    - the closeup of the rear spoiler on the white car was not used, we had a straight spoiler over here that did not turn down at the corners.
    Incidently, the promotional materials all show the pictured rear spoiler and my original GTA did have one of them. My guess is that it was one of the originals, probably built as a demo. The fact that it was faster than any other GTA I have been in makes me wonder what other differences there were.

  15. says

    I’ve heard all the stories about those little Alliances being “junk”, but I owned one. Drove the Midwest and East Coast in it. After nearly 200k hwy, the repairs it needed were no more costly then an alternator and a set of tires. Considering the stable of vehicles available at the time, those Renault’s didn’t fair much worse. Though I admit that the “interference” cylinder head design must have caused many “headaches” when the timing belt went.

  16. Mike S from Ohio says

    I think it is sad. Someone goes out on a limb to make an informative site and the couch people with nothing going on in life try and take over with BS not even related to the topic. Come on. If you didn't drive or own one what could you possibly have to say? It must be something you heard or maybe you read Car and Driver? What gives you the right? As Americans we are spoiled with the amount of wealth and choice available in the type of cars we drive. Most can choose the type of statement they want to make with a macho sports car, hey look at me I am 61 and can afford this new Corvette. Yes feel 21 behind the wheel and look like grand dad. The lets save the environment people now have theirs with diesel or hybrid power. Then those who could car less and drive what ever and can afford what ever choose their car as they could care less on who their tyring to impress. This would be my catagory. I had a 1985 Renault Alliance convertable. It had the 1.7 air and everything else. I loved the car. It was fun to drive and got super fuel economy and would cruise 80mph on the interstate if I chose to do so. I later shed the 13' wheels and added 15X7 and a 50 series tire. It gave a great look to the car and handling put it in a different catagory. It was unique looking and got attention not that I wanted it. Several things here that are important. The car came with an owners manual and um… I read it. It was like a mini service manual. It didn't tell you to take it to the dealer when you had to wipe your ass. It spelled out its specific service procedures and how to do it, and when. I.7 timing belt issues? I think not. Transaxle issues no. It told how to drain the oil and change it. I did. My car had 250K on it and was still running fine when I traded it even up for a nice 1966 Mustang in 1997. I thought it would be fun to have a classic car. Not so and I missed my Renault Convertable as I still do. Which brings me to the GTA. What a unique collector it makes today. Valueable? No. Hemmings has recognized collector economy cars. Like the Dodge Omni GLH, VW GTI, How about a Cosworth Vega? What a car you say? Hmm. Lets see for twice the retail over a new Vega at the time and you got 20 more horsepower for your additional $3500. The better choice for $2995. would have been a Gremlin with a V8 @150hp and would be worth more today. The GTA today is an overlooked and misunderstood car that gets no respect. Look what has happened to this post! I bought a GTA used when it was just several years old. Again it was a reliable and fun car to drive. I took alot of heat when I would get it serviced. Which brings me to the last type of person. The one who can't afford a car but owns one anyway. Doesn't work and definatly doesn't raise a hood. Yes. It is easier to blame the car for poor this and that when it has no service history to speak of. The heater core issue you might chime in on. Was related to a supplier issue. AMC and Chrysler took care of the recalls. And here is a funny thing I remember. When I owned both my convertable and my GTA I would get letters in the mail from Chrysler wanting me to trade my car in. I was offered something like $1500. each to trade them in on a new Chrysler vehicle plus on top of what the dealer would knock off. I remember a Jeep/Eagle dealer in Columbus Ohio had some 30 Alliances in a holding area that were trade ins AND WERE NOT ALLOWED TO RESELL THEM. They were to be scrapped! Then there was another letter which was related to the first. There was a group of people that filed a lawsuite on Chrysler for the Renault. The suite claimed among other things poor resale value etc.etc. I wish I had it today as it would be a laugh. I in turn sent it back stating I did NOT want to be a part of their BS. I did not have a problem with my cars. So there it is. Today yes I still do have a Renault GTA and it is currently being treated to a cosmetic restoration. I say cosmetic. I have 140K on the clock and know I will be driving it for years to come. I have done nothing special to it to keep it going. Renault in France is the number one automaker. In Formula 1 racing you will note Renault is heavily vested in racing and winning. The poor Alliance was car of the year in 1983 and is really considered an American car. Built in Kenosha Wisconsin was so named for the Alliance between American Motors and Renault.

  17. Rick Williston says

    Hey, that’s what I get for mentioning the picture of my car on Wikipedia. Since it’s open for anyone to edit, someone here has now posted the picture here at the top on Wikipedia and mine is no longer there. That when my car is much more original (for good and bad) with the correct body coloured grille and with the getting hard to find original hubcaps. I really didn’t point it out so that someone would write over it.

  18. Tom Gross says

    I have to chime in on this too. I have 2 GTA’s — 1 coupe and 1 convertible. Also my original 1984 Alliance DL. I’m in the process of getting the 84 back on the road – haven’t used it in almost 9 years and it has been at my mechanics garage for all that time – he starts it up about twice a year to move it — haven’t put gas in it in 9 years either and it STARTS and RUNS every time. Lets see any of these other vaunted cars do that! You either love these cars or hate them there doesn’t seem to be an in between line. My 84 is my measuring stick for other small cars. I haven’t been able to find a car like it that I can get in and out of without being a circus contortionist. For what they were these cars were very well equipped. My Alliance had keyless entry, 6 speaker stereo with 12.5 watts per channel – tweeters in the dash, woofers in the front doors and 2 way coaxials in the rear deck (most were only 3-4 watts per channel then), fuel injection, Child proof door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, Big trunk, and one of my favorite things- System Sentry. Never had to pull a dip stick on that car. When you turned the key off a little panel to the left of the dashboard lit up and had leds that indicated good or bad on the: engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transaxel fluid, windshield washer fluid and the wear on the front brake pads. It was a fun car to drive – I used to commute about 125 miles a day with it. It handled and rode better than my sisters 1984 Dodge charger. I could take sharp turns with that without blinking an eye and the GTA’s are even better. This car could get up on to highway speed with very little trouble. The mechanics couldn’t belive that mine only had a 1.4 in it. I think the difference was I RAN that engine. It used to see the dotted red line every day. (5500 RPM). Car got about 37 to 38 miles to a gallon so it was great on fuel. The car survived 9 kids learning how to drive stick with it. I have to admit I killed the original transmission in it though. Took it on some back roads and went airborn – 1st and only time I heard that car bottom out. Transmission started acting up on way home from Philly 1 night and ended up being able to only do 25 miles an hour or the car shook like drink mixer – but it made it home! These were also great snow cars – I made it home on the PA turnpike one time to Reading pa when Penndot gave up at Valley Forge – Snow was about 18 — 20 inches deep and could only do 25 put the car plowed through it. Part of that was the tires too – General Tire had come out with a new tire that year called the XP2000 – stuck like glue unlike the crappy michelans that the car came with. But if you knew how to fix the car they ran great. I had trouble when the dealer fixed it, since I started fixing it myself – very little trouble. Also mine had been in several accidents — It drove away – some of the others didn’t (Buick Regal, Honda civic) So sorry to say to some people – they were good little cars if you knew what they were.

  19. Deand says

    It’s nice to see actual owners defending the cars.
    I had a 1986 Encore GS 1.7L 5 speed. Of the twenty five cars I have owned, it remains one of my top three favourites, and I still regret the day I let it go.
    It was reliable and as tough as nails, and I drove it like I hated it ever day. Mine was getting on toward 400,000km when I parked it, and all I ever put into it were timing belts, alternator brushes, brake pads and shoes, wheel bearings and CV joints. It was far easier to work on than my VW Jettas or Toyotas, and it was more comfortable in every way. I finally had some issues with the dimmer switch, but otherwise there were no electrical problems. I really don’t know what anyone complained about. It made my VWs and Toyotas look pretty crappy in comparison.
    I’m still looking for a nice GTA, despite the lack of parts in North America.

  20. Steve Fruge says

    I know this is an old thread, but I could not resist the chance to chime in. I bought a 1987 GTA coupe right off the showroom floor. It was priced @ $ 7,250.00 !!! It was a steal of a deal. This car has to be the most underrated cars ever known to man. This car could handle corners better than any other car in its class, and it had plenty of zip w/ the 2.0L engine. The braking was also top notch, the skid pad numbers were unreal. I truly loved this forgotten gem and might try to find another one to restore. Simply Amazing !
    Steve

  21. Bill says

    Old thread, but I enjoyed reading it. I worked at a Renault/Peugeot dealer in the mid 80s in the US. The R5 and Alliance were beaten up a lot for reliability issues, but they were generally fun cars. I drove one of the first GTAs off the boat in the US, and I was quite impressed with how much the performance and handling were improved over the standard 1.4 and 1.7 Alliance, but wasn’t impressed with the zipper on the rear window falling apart the first time we moved it. It always seemed Renault had great designs and poor manufacturing.

    They were fun cars, though- the GTA, the Fuego Turbo, the R17 Gordini, and the R10 contribute some of my favorite memories from that time.

  22. Dutchy says

    Interesting read. I have had a silver GTA convertible. Sold it to finance a Alfa 75 V6 project. In all honesty, always regretted it. It was the only known GTA convetible in Holland.
    Saw it back up for sale a few years later, but was too late. It has now found a new home with a collector in Spain. If I can ever buy one again, I will.
    One might call it ugly, underpowered or whatever, but if you try to see it for what is is, these cars are great cars to own and ride.'
    I have had several Renault 9's and 11's (the Euro versions) and always in GTX spec, so 1.7 engine fed by a 2-stage carb. These were actually quicker then the GTA (118 mph indicated in a straight line) and handling is maybe not 'GTI-like' but ok, and very important forgiving. You can throw it about within any worry, it will give signals very soon of when speed will exceed grip.

    Again, overlooked, but that's no problem, leaves more choice for the people in the know

    • jack myers says

      If still interested in a silver 87 gta convertible,let me know as have one that is a rust free california car with 75000 original miles on it.Has been in storage for past 13 years and just now working to get it back on the street.

  23. Rob says

    I bought a brand new 1987 Alliance 2-door (base model) in bright Sebring Red in late summer, 1987. This was after the sale of AMC to Chrysler when the AMC/Jeep/Renault dealers were trying to get rid of their stock asap. It was a 4-speed manual and the only option on the car was cloth seats. The build quality of the car was pretty horrendous and it was very, very slow with the 1.4L engine. But, it was very comfortable to drive, handled well and got incredible fuel economy. I drove that car for three years and only put 38,000kms on it before I traded it in on a 1990 Dodge Shadow. It really didn't give me any problems other than the shocks leaking oil and the muffler rotting out. I still think about my Alliance to this day. They were unique little cars, but were long-in-the-tooth and should have had a complete re-design in 1987.

  24. Michael D'Antonio says

    I read the posts listed here and agree with Rick (Williston). It's important to remember that the Alliance was an economy car so comparing it with a Corvette, or (in the case of the guy with the rich father) a Rolls Silver Shadow is just plain stupid.
    I say "BRAVO" to the guys that are restoring GTAs, as I am doing the same with my 1986 Dodge Omni GLH.
    I was always a rear wheel drive big block car lover but now I always go to a car show hoping to see cars like an Alliance GTA, a Vega GT, a Cosworth Vega, a Pinto Stallion, a Gremlin X, a Cavalier Z24, a Sunbird GT turbo, a Cimarron, a Shelby Charger, a Rampage, a Scamp and an Escort EXP at a car show. I can hope, can't I?

  25. Jared says

    Back in 1985-86 I worked for an AMC/Jeep/Renault dealer in Hawaii, and we saw the introduction of the first GTAs into dealerships, though at the time that it was first sent to dealers it was simply called the Renault Alliance, Western Sport Edition, did not have "GTA" on it, and was marketed as just a regular Alliance with a better suspension, and new body/interior trim.

    The GTA seats were an odd feature: they were called "Rocker-roller seats, and rather than have the seat back pivot front to back from a point at the bottom rear of the seat, when looking from the side, the entire seat "rotated" front to back, so that when the seat back was moved down and towards the rear the the part of the seat under your legs came up, as if you were in a carnival ride and about to be spun in a backward somersault.

    At that time we sold the last Jeep CJ-7 and large old-style Jeep Wagoneers/J-10 pickup trucks, and the very first Jeep Wranglers (which we hated) and 4 door Cherokees, which were only made in order to compete with the new and much publicized 4 door Isuzu Trooper. Joe Isuzu had made quite an impression on Jeep by pushing the 4 door point across in his ads.

  26. says

    Hi, well it saddens me to read the first few comments.. (didn't read through the rest as there is too much off topic..) but being French a big fan of Renault, I'll be honest.. I love the Renault 9 and 11… (Alliance and Encore…), however I do understand that they don't measure up to standards if you like muscle cars.. or just classic 50s, 60s and 70s US cars (which I like too)… But you can't compare a fancy mule to a wild stallion.. right? The sad thing is that most of the engines mounted in the US where the 1.7l petrol which was indeed unreliable.. in France we also had the 1.4 and 1.4 turbo and they are rather reliable.. they rock even.. many of them still on the road.. FYI Renault 9 was car of the Year in Europe in 1982.. Yeah sure the finishes isn't so great but the car feels good / is fun to drive, it's economical, and quiet frankly, it's rather comfortable… and when you look at the interior of an Alliance compared to a Renault 9.. what the hell are you guys whining about..!? it's great! lol And made in USA too.. Hell I'm hoping to buy a nice Alliance convertible one day, do the work on the engine to make it reliable (problem was fixed on this engine on the Renault 21 / Medalion..), and I'm rolling.. :) Long Live the 80s! from which I'll keep all the good things.. and forget the bad.. Hell.. a Renault of the 80s can go 100 and 100 of thousands of miles, and if you can actually fix it yourself for not so much money… we'll see how long cars from the 2001+ era last.. today's car may be nice and confy and secure.. but after 15 years of use you'll probably just throw it away … (and that's if it's a good one)… or spend a fortune and spare parts and labour… or just buy another one.. lol I wonder if the GTA's engine was a Renault Block or an American Motors one.. I'll check.. ;)

  27. RES says

    I own a red 1987 Renault GTA Convertible. It has 26k miles (yes 26k miles!). I still love to drive the car. This summer I took my kids for their fist ride and they are hooked.
    R

  28. brian says

    my mom had a 1983 renault encore two door 5 speed standard it was a good car intell the timing belt broke at eighty thounsand miles and bent the valves it had a interference engine. renaults arent really that bad of cars as some people make them out to be there just very tempermental you really have to keep the maintence up on time or youll pay the price in the end. they will last a very long time as long as maintence is done reugulary especially timing belts and hoses.

  29. teresa broom says

    Anyone interested in purchasing a GTA convertible? Body in good shape. runs but needs new battery. Will need a new top. Has a new brake line and tires in good shape. Has about 60,000 miles on it. If interested email me at dizziebabe@msn.com with an offer. Put GTA in th subject line! Thank Terry Broom

  30. Joe Wagner says

    Still driving a USA Made Renault Alliance GTA w/2.0 factory engine everyday as regular transportation in OHIO for last 7-8 years with this car, along with other Alliances and one Encore to boot. The 1.7 is more desired in the long run than the smaller base 1.4. which is very reliable, but I always had my foot in them. if the world does not end this month, DEC. 2012, I plan on driving these Renault Alliances and my Encore til 2025, or till I die. Yea, they were decent and good cars for the 80's, but they are still very functional cars today with regular servicing, of which I can repair them . I like that I can see out of the windshield easily, and handling is super, brakes are V-good when tweaked to perfection. Once the bugs are worked out, Alliances are good -cheap-decent transportation still tday, some 26 later. Even though I don't have air bags, the body is very strong, and handling avoidance very good. I got the value out of my Aliances, and enjoy the heck out of them…. The 1987 GTA being my Zip car, and the Alliances being transportation to and fro. Long distances are no problem with the proper preparations. Joe Wagner in Cincinnati ohio area. BTW– I have 195-50 -15 series on the factory GTA Ronal rims, and handling is great.

  31. alan says

    Anyone interested in a very good conditioned '87 GTA with rebuilt engine, new frnt struts, rebuilt alternator, new water pump, timing belt plus mant extra parts that I secured from a same vintage parts car? My email address is abspyder555@live.com.

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