At $9,000, Will This Rare 1985 Renault Fuego Set The World On Fire?

Illustration for article titled At $9,000, Will This Rare 1985 Renault Fuego Set The World On Fire?
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The Renault Fuego was the first car sold in America with keyfob remote locking, a feature today’s Nice Price or No Dice ’85 may still have. Let’s see if its rarity, style and that cool keyfob make its price something you might be open to.

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You all threw some serious shade at yesterday’s custom blacked-out 2007 Cadillac Escalade. The seller asked $28,000 for the truck, and even with a turbocharger boosting the ponies on its 6.2 Vortec V8, that was way too much for the majority. In the end, the Caddy fell in an overwhelming 97 percent No Dice loss. We will not be contesting this loss.

Whether it be the night, a ring or those great balls of yours, setting things on fire has long been a valuable trope within the music industry. Fire itself goes back even further in time, once serving to separate us from the animals and then allowing us to eat those animals in a far more delicious and stomach-warming fashion.

When it comes to cars, the concept of fire and its power has long been employed as an indicator of power and dominance, used time and again in model names and engine designations. Flame paint schemes are also emblematic of the hot rod scene.

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Today’s 1985 Renault Fuego sadly does not display flames licking its silver and gray paint. It does however, carry the name Fuego, which in Spanish explicitly means fire.

Much like Volkswagen’s convention of naming its cars after winds to imply speed and ease of transport, Renault’s use of Fuego suggests that the 18-based coupe was a force of nature to be reckoned with.

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The Fuego entered Renault’s lineup in 1980, a replacement for the sporty 15 and 17 coupes that the company had discontinued the prior year. Strikingly different in appearance from its angular predecessors, it featured an egglike shape and distinctive plastic side trim that was ribbed for everybody’s pleasure. An expansive complex-curve glass hatch topped the rear end and added to the sense of airiness the tall greenhouse afforded. The door releases were reached through scoops set in the bodywork behind each opening.

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The Fuego’s interior may not have been as stunning, featuring many pieces from the more mundane 18 sedan and wagon. Perhaps making up for the sharing-is-caring attitude, it did offer fancy bucket seats and a sporty steering wheel.

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This Fuego has all that and, as it’s claimed to be a California car, it’s actually still running and not all rusted out. In fact, this 52,000-mile coupe could perhaps be the best-preserved Fuego in America. Seriously, go find a better-looking one. We’ll wait.

That’s not to say it’s perfect, however. The seller notes a bit of fading paint on the roof, and there’s a small ding in the driver’s door that should get some attention. Overall though, it looks to be a remarkable survivor.

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The car gets its marching orders from Renault’s 2.2 liter Douvrin four. That SOHC all-alloy engine offers up just over 100 horsepower and hangs over the front axle in a fashion similar to contemporary Audis. The transmission is a five-speed manual.

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The ad claims that a recent oil change and service inspection was completed on the car. Also noted are the replacement of both the turn signal stalk and the digital clock.

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That cabin looks just as well preserved as the exterior. There is a bit of rub-off exhibited on the outside bolster of the driver’s seat, but that seems to be the only notable flaw. The seller assures us that the ugly covers on the bottom cushions are there only for protection and not to cover other signs of wear.

Other plusses here include nearly new Michelin tires, the replacement of much of the exhaust system and a clean title.

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To make all that yours, the asking price is $9,000. Yes, that’s a lot of cabbage. The thing is, this is a very cool car and you are unlikely to find another in such good shape any time or any place. For fans of Renault (you know who you are), this is quite the find.

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OK, for those fans, what’s your take on this Fuego’s $9,000 price? Does that seem like a deal considering its condition and rarity? Or, does that price feel like just throwing money in a fire?

You decide!

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New Haven, Connecticut, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Pete Atkinson for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

smalleyxb122
smalleyxb122

It’s in remarkable shape, and is appreciably rare thanks to attrition and the fact that no one bought them when they were new.

But no one bought them when they were new. The years have not inexplicably made the Fuego a desirable automobile.

It might be the nicest Fuego left in existence, but it is priced an order of magnitude higher than the second nicest Fuego left in existence. Even a wealthy AMC-era Renault fan willing to spare no expense to complete his collection would balk at $9k for this Fuego.

No Dice.