Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Renault shares its name with one of the most famous—and infamous—video game series around: Grand Theft Auto. Let’s see if this hot coupe’s price makes it look like a steal as well.
So here’s a question for you: what auto manufacturer has tried to ‘reinvent’ itself in the market the greatest number of times? I’d wager that Cadillac is well in the running for this prestigious and just invented Mulligan Award, seeing as they seemingly have attempted to redefine their mission sat least once a decade for the past 40 years.
One of those attempts begat yesterday’s 1989 Allanté convertible. That Pininfarina-built car was actually a return to form for Caddy. In the late fifties the luxury car maker had engaged Pinin Farina (as the design house was once called) for a series of unimaginably expensive Eldorado Broughams. About 200 of those hand-built cars were released, making them today some of the rarest and most desirable of Caddy models. The Pininfarina-constructed Allanté? Not so much. But at only $3,000, yesterday’s 1989 edition came away with a desirable 80-percent Nice Price win. I’m thinking it was the hardtop caddy that really pushed it over the edge.
Speaking of edges, can you imagine living your corporate life on the brink of disaster the way Chrysler has for years on end? It seems that over the last four decades that the company has gone from one financial precipice to another, each time saved by either a government loan, or corporate merger.
Like GM and Ford, Chrysler has long been thought to be too important to let collapse. ‘Too big to fail’ is the oddball phrase that is used to describe the company’s apparent financial importance.
The same couldn’t be said for what was once America’s fourth-largest car maker, American Motors, and even a merger with one of Europe’s auto giants couldn’t save AMC.
You can’t say that Renault didn’t at least try to make AMC work, providing an influx of cash and vastly more modern models for the company’s U.S. production lines. Unfortunately, the French-sourced models proved an incohesive match for AMC’s Jeep and AWD Eagle lineup.
They also proved lacking in certain qualities that car buyers value—things like performance, durability and build quality above that of something made of tissue paper and warm brie.
Eventually the company came up with what was probably the best thing to come out of the Renault/AMC tryst, the Alliance-based GTA hotrod. In a move that would have made GM proud, they almost immediately thereafter folded their tent and went back to France. That left the GTA to be a one-year model that would be immediately cancelled by AMC/Jeep’s new parent, Chrysler.
That’s a lot of preamble as to how this 1987 Renault Alliance GTA came to be, but I think it gives you a better appreciation of what the car represents. On a sad note, this one doesn’t have still all the right bits from the factory, but the major one comes in a box so don’t get your panties in too much of a bunch.
Let’s start with what’s good on this 92,000-mile car. The ad says that it was a ‘barn find’ that has been brought back to life with two years of rehab under its belt. The seller describes the car as ‘fair’ which is I guess… pretty fair.
It apparently runs and drives and seems to present pretty well externally. The paint is a respray of indeterminate age, but it’s in the original red. All the Zender-sourced bodykit parts look to be intact, as are the sweet 15-inch alloy wheels.
The interior also looks to have held up pretty well in that barn. The model-specific sport seats and three-spoke wheel all look to be in terrific condition and only an absent brake pedal cover and some torn weatherstrip on the doorjamb detracts from the overall tidiness.
It’s in the mechanicals where this car’s shine begins to fade. The GTA was a direct analog to Volkswagen’s GTI, and came with a hotter mill just like the VW. In the Renault’s case that was a 95-horse 2-litre in place of the standard 1.7-litre, 75-horse unit the rest of the Alliance series received.
This car has a 2-litre head, but under that is a rebuilt 1.7 block. The fuel injected engine is said to run just fine, and is backed up by the proper close-ratio five speed with a new clutch, but it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast if you’re a stickler for originality.
The seller does say that a 2.0 short block will be included in the bill of sale if the price is right. In fact, there are a lot of add-ons that come with this car. Along with the headless horseman of an engine, those include a pair of new tires (another two are already on the car) and KYB struts and shocks, still in the box. That’s all included if the asking tops $1,500. Right now the car is listed at a slightly higher $1,900, and you need to decide if that’s a fair deal for this hail mary of a car.
What do you think, is this GTA worth that big a grab? Or, is this a Renault for which you would simply say no?
H/T to supernaturallyaspirated for the hookup!
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