By on November 11, 2013

12 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the US government decided Chrysler was too big to fail and bailed out the company with loan guarantees in 1979, American Motors was judged just the right size to fail and had to get bailed out by the French government. This led right to the weird history of the Renault Alliance, which included a Wisconsin-ized Renault 11 hatchback called the Encore. The Encore wasn’t a huge seller in North America and the car tended to deteriorate quickly under American conditions, so today’s Junkyard Find is a rare one.


Can you see yourself in, or maybe as an Encore?

Driverless, stretchy Encores bend lysergically about the nation’s mountain roads!
13 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car spent at least part of its life being towed behind a giant RV.
05 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s no telling how many of these miles took place under the Encore’s own power.
02 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin23-channel CBs had been obsolete for quite a few years before this car was built, so this Surveyor rig was an antique even in 1985.
08 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJanuary 10, 1985 was a fine day in Kenosha.
03 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinKenosha or not, this HVAC control panel has a suspiciously foreign look about it.

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74 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Encore...”


  • avatar
    Wacko

    how does the needle of the speedo break like that. was the car going too fast in reverse??

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      Perhaps. Lord knows it couldn’t go too fast in drive.

      • 0 avatar
        PaulWisc

        Ha Ha Ha Ha Da Ha Da Ha Da Da Da Da Da… Ingnorant comment. Did you ever drive one? What is the vehicle you drive? Looks like your pride and joy is some old 1980′s Mustang. My brother bought a brand new Mustang GT back in ’85 and I a Renault Encore LS 3 door. The Mustang had even worse fit and finish than my bastardized Renault/ AMC. My brother likes his Mustang but he agrees with me. The factory Mustang’s paint was a dull joke. Most of the body panels did not really line up well with each together. The sheet metal stampings were apparently worn out by that year because many of the body line folds were not very well defined and the panels looked wavy from viewing at a side angle. When you looked insde the car you could see lots of sheet metal exposed around the big gaps of the interior edges of the door panels. Great fit. Oh yes, the rear hatch along the middle of the side edge looked like some chimpanzees banged it out with a big hammer. My brother was so embaressed by that, a few years later he had a real body shop fix the factory “workmanship”. But it had a V8 5 speed baby! He took it up to about a 118 mph before the aerodynamics (or lack of) made it kind of wobble. What is yours an LX 5.0 automatic? Maybe you should have gotten one with the available base, (debased) ha ha 4 cylinder Mustang. A real screamer. On that one you did not even have to replace the factory 85 mph speedometeter like my brother had to on his big, bad 5.0. By 1985 or at least 1986 Ford could have introduced another generation of the Mustang but was content to limp along with the current for 6 more years. Where was the Mustang assembled? The ancient River Rouge plant, I think. It was about as old as the Kenosha plant that AMC assembled the Alliance and Encore models. But I will leave you alone with your “old5.0″. I have to admit it is crude, I do say again crude, but effective for straight line speed goobers like you. Just do not go around a corner or curve too fast.

        • 0 avatar
          beau1399

          Wow, where did that come from? I like the Alliance / Encore, and the “Fox” Mustang. But they were built for two different markets. And you’ve got to give Ford credit… the “Fox” Mustang never gave into the temptation of FWD or overseas production. It was a real, and worthy, Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      paulinvegas

      I had an ’85 Renault Alliance. The speedo needle did the exact same thing. The hot Nevada sun warped it inward against the the backing plate. Eventually it broke off and I finally had a speedo I could read. Granted the needle was now only 3/4″ long…

      • 0 avatar
        PaulWisc

        I also had one. A brand spanking new 1985 LS 3 door. The 1.4L engine was mated to a 5 speed manual. No frills other than a rear defroster, tited glass and the beutiful Mica red clear coat exterior paint that cost me extra. I liked it! The car got great gas mileage, about 31 MPG in town and up to 48-50 MPG on the highway. I want to refute the idiots out there that claim it cannot reach more than 60 mph. Yes you morones, it did take a while to get up to speed, but with the manual transmission the engine liked getting wound up. When it was about 10 years old I figured I would see how fast it would really go. Well, I floored it and waited later than usual to shift and when I buried the needle in 4th gear at the stopper, the engine still had more to go! You have to remember the speedometers in cars only went up to 85 mph in those days. But the car still had 5th gear too. My new Encore finally met it’s end at 134,551 miles, (without 1 drop of oil used between changes), and 16 years later when I bagged a 10 point buck with the front end of the car on a cool November evening. What a waste of a fine piece of machinery. Not to say the car was built particularly well. The boys and girls in Kenosha assembled them with the same indifferance as they put them together in France. American quality was still a joke back in 1985. My brother bought a brand new Mustang GT that year too and it was no great feat of automotive engineering or the pinnacle of quality. The materiels used in the Renault were many times of lower quality and a little “cheap”. Example: broken door window cranks and speedo needle. But hey, AMC was trying to compete against the Ford Escort and even the ageing Chevette at that time. They had to cut costs somewhere. Maybe why mine lasted so long, and with so few problems, was that it did not have the B.S. automatic transmission and air conditioning to over tax the tiny 1.4L. I do not even know if they had them avaiable on the Renault 11 in Europe. The R11/Encore was a lot better of an automobile than most people give it credit for.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Which Encore was worse, Renault or Buick?

    Saw the Buick yesterday, impossibly unfortunate-looking and absolutely ridiculous in real life.

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      I would have to say the Renault is worse in every way possible

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Which Buick?

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Buick Encore.

        It may be a little dumpy looking, but the Buick is by far a better car.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Based on what people are saying, the Flintstones had a better car than the Renault Encore.

          Thx for the reply btw, my lazy self was just scanning and missed the original post, didn’t make the connection.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’m legally obligated by my own contract to say that the Buick may be better, but I’d rather have the Renault.

            I can’t speak for the DaewoodOpel based Buick Encore, but I’ve ridden in a slightly bigger compact CUV for a trip, a Chevy Captiva, cramped, inefficient, poor seats, awful door handles, I can’t see an even smaller CUV being that better.

            The Renault may’ve been flaky and unreliable, but I’m certain it’d be a bit more roomy, certainly looks much better.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Well, then advertise it for what it is. Buick created and now owns the Clown-UV segment.

          Ringling Bros. could use it and have 30 or so clowns come out of it, while the ad tie-in possibilities for Buick are many.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Why do an Encore when the original act sucked?

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Flashbacks. My dad bought a 1987 Renault Alliance coupe, the dealer’s demo. Odd, but fun car. Except for blowing the timing belt at 90k, and that he needed to keep a supply of clutch cables in the car at all times.

  • avatar
    ultrahertz

    Yep.

    I had one of these cars. I put about 150,000 miles on it. And about 5 alternators. Two fuel pumps. One starter motor. The intermitent ignition control module was a doozy – it kept on shutting off the throttle body fuel injector but the spark plugs worked fine! CV joints, but maybe that’s not so surprising for a car with so many miles.

    So the instrument cluster – after about 4 years the plastic needles would start to bend and rot. They’d jam up and the speedometer wouldn’t display the speed anymore. I replaced it once. The second time, I didn’t bother.

    The car did get 30 mpg in town and 40 on the highway.

    When the clutch went out, the voltage regulator was turning my battery into a sulfer pot, and the head gasket went all in the same week – it went to the junkyard. Probably way too late.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The parts quality could’ve been better, but how could a car like this get 40mpg on the highway? For ’80′s tech thats pretty impressive all things considered.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Didn’t weigh much, the engine is pretty small (1.4), presumably manual transmission, aerodynamics were OK by the standards of the day. Quite a few small cars back then could do 40 mpg US highway. My Civic certainly would. The Encore is a smidge bigger, probably doesn’t weigh much more, and probably has better aero.

        Most modern “small” cars are fat and flabby and overweight by 1980′s standards.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Weight means little on the highway, but that would explain the 30mpg around town.

        • 0 avatar
          PaulWisc

          Right, my 1985 3 door only tipped the scales at 1,980 pounds. The single point throttle body fuel injection was a real fuel miser. I drove it from WI to VA and then NY and back in 1999 and averaged 48 mpg. Too bad a car of today cannot get the same fuel economy. Granted cars today have the added weight of airbag systems and much more electronics.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      I had the original Duccalier brand alternator in mine for 16 years and it worked fine. Was yours the Paris-Rhone model alternator? My original battery lasted 7 years. Never replaced a fuel pump. Head gasket was never replaced. The ignition module never failed. The same thing happened to my tachometer needle but a lot later when the car was about 14 years old. The only real problem were clutch cables. I went through about 4 in about 6 years and then finally started buying used ones that would last a lot longer. When my clock on my 1985 went out in 1989 I bought one also in a salvage and it worked 12 more years. My fuel injector failed in 1992 and the replacement,(the S-10 used the same one) lasted another 9 years. The rear brakes shoes needed replacement constantly though, at about every 20,000 miles. But a set of brake shoes were only $9.99 back then. Oh, the water pump was replaced once by myself, it cost $19.99. All in all the vehicle was not too bad on items failing even at 134,000+ miles. Replacement parts were reasonably inexpensive, I was younger, and I liked to work on cars more than I do now. That is “the truth about cars”.

  • avatar
    NN

    in the late 90′s in highschool four friends and i got together and bought one of these out of the newspaper for $250 ($50 each) just to go “rooting”. Of course it was never registered, and we parked it behind an abandoned firehouse. We’d get in it and go for a spin, driving through fields, construction sites, crashing into stuff for fun. Finally one day the police showed up while my friends were doing donuts in the mud at a home construction site, so the boys ditched the car and ran. We never saw the car again. Worth $50 for the all the fun, though.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    And let’s bring up the heater core recall issue – again
    (With props to lokki for the original post which descibes it well):

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/renault-alliance-still-on-the-scrapheap-of-history/#comment-1695196

  • avatar
    Wacko

    Fuck I hate autoplay adds….

    Play your fucken video if you must, but keep the sound off for fuck sakes.

    End of rant

  • avatar
    ronhawk62

    I used to get them from Hertz from time to time. They had nicer interiors than most of the cheap cars I rented at the time.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I’ve always thought of these cars as the final two nails in AMC’s coffin. (ie. the R9/Alliance and R11/Encore)

    And, of course, I wouldn’t want to miss a chance to take a cheap shot at the auto industry marketing arm/car rags, er, uh, the independent auto press. When they were introduced, these cars got a lot of rave reviews from a lot of media outlets. By the time I bought my first car in the early 1990s, it was common knowledge on the used car market that these were not good deals.

    Then again, were our expectations just way off? If you wanted a comfortable, 3-5 year throwaway car….

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Jim was sick of hand-me-downs.

    He was the youngest of four boys and spent his life being handed cast aside clothing, toys, and now cars.

    “You’re brother Frankie barely drove it” his mom said.
    “Mom its… dreck” Jim replied.
    “Dammit Jim, your grandparents barely drove it themselves it hardly has fifty thousand original miles, just some road dings from the RV” she argued.
    “Frankie had to duct tape parts of it back on, its crap!”
    “You kids have no idea what crap is, my 1965 Impala had holes in the floor and different colored doors, and it would only start with a screwdriver. Grow up Jim!” she said dismissively as she turned her back and headed into the kitchen.

    Seventeen was not shaping out as he had hoped. Granted, he only had about $800 dollars to his name, but still he just couldn’t been seen driving this… what was it again

    “George and Larry never had cars of their own Jim” his mother squawked from inside the refrigerator.
    “Yeah and Larry’s in jail for stealing one” he quipped, now sitting on the couch. She shut the door to the refrigerator and walked into the living room pointing at Jim.

    “You don’t talk about your brother that way, he wasn’t perfect and he made mistakes”. She walked back into the kitchen, reached onto the wall and handed a set of keys. He took the keys and they both heard the cries of an infant in another room

    “Go and pick up Lisa from the Co-Gos, I have to tend to your nephew”.

    Jim left walked out onto the porch and almost stuck his foot into the rotted hole on the deck. The briskly walked past the edge of the trailer and slid the key into the driver’s door of the Encore. The door opened and he thought about pushing the puke tan car right off a hill when he got back. He turned the key and the little car fired right up, although the steering column shook as he shifted into reverse an backed out of the gravel.

    The Encore slowly drudged along at twenty five miles per hour and Jim reached up to fiddle with the ancient CB mounted to the dash. The car started making loud thumping sounds as he tuned the CB controls almost as if to scold him for touching it. He turned his attention to the road, his hand dropped down from the CB but didn’t turn the radio on because he knew it didn’t work. Coming up on the next block was the Co-Gos, he slowed the car, made the right, and pulled the steering wheel hard to make the turn.

    Lisa saw the little car pull in, waved goodbye to her co-worker and pushed the heavy glass door open to meet the Encore. Jim was slightly mesmerized by his sister in law, 5’5, thin, blonde, nice rounded chest which became even nicer since she gave birth three months ago. He leaned over and unlocked the passenger door and Lisa plopped down in the tan seat. Jim leaned back on the furry seat cover and turned the car around, turning left seemed to agree with the car more. He briskly accelerated back down the lane, and when he had a moment he stole a glace at Lisa. She was about twenty one and made the unfortunate acquaintance of his brother Larry shortly before his incarceration. From what she has told him in the past, he was stealing cars to earn money in order to buy her a nice engagement ring. In the end, the justice of the peace was good enough for Larry and the pregnant Lisa. her bra was half hanging out and her bosom was clearly visible as she undid the few top buttons of her uniform.

    “Why do you keep looking at me perv?” Lisa exclaimed.
    “I’m not” Jim protested.
    “I’m hot ok and this POS doesn’t have any working air conditioning”

    She wound the window down and let the breeze hit her face as she felt a refreshing gust of wind down her shirt.

    “It’s not a POS, see…” Jim said as he accelerated the Encore. The little car started to shake as he went, Lisa punched him in the shoulder.

    “Jim this thing is going to fly apart slow it down!”
    “Ok, ok” Jim said reassuringly and the car slowed back down to twenty five.

    Jim had been sneaking peeks at Lisa since she moved in but this was the first time he could remember being alone with her like this.

    “So… how was work” he asked innocently.
    “Sucked” she replied.

    Jim was tired-of-hand me downs, but Lisa was one he’d be happy to get some use out of for a time.

    “There’s the turn” she pointed at the trailer park. Jim was so enamored with Lisa’s charms he almost missed the turn off. He slowed the car down and made a hard right. They heard what sounded like a balloon bursting and the steering wheel stopped turning. Jim hit the brake as hard as he could to keep from crashing into a neighboring trailer.

    Jim reclined into the faux fur seat and thought to himself… why do the hand-me-downs never work out for me?

  • avatar
    valvashon

    @ Wacko- the speedometer and tachometer (not seen here) needles were made our of a very fragile plastic which would start to deform even under the most gentle of heating from the summer sun. I got very good at pulling my dash out and straightening the needles (very carefully) with a heat gun. This needle has been painted red for some reason- they were the same color as the heat/gas gauge needles.

    This is a real stripper- no A/C, no tachometer package, no spoiler. Those wheel covers are aftermarket, of course, covering up stock steelies. As far as the dash, the tachometer package moves the heat/gas gauges into the middle, rectangular part and adds an odd oil level gauge with the tach taking the big round spot on the right. The oil level gauge was active only when the key was on but the engine was not running. You turned the key all the way on just before starting. After a moment the oil level gauge registered for about 4 seconds, then it went back down. Very odd, and I wonder how many Americans ever paid attention to what this gauge did.

    It also appears that this car was a victim of being repainted from its original red to a beige and having it done with house paint (look at the front bumper closeup). That’s a sad way to treat any car; however the body panels all look straight so on the off chance that somebody is restoring one there’s some good parts in here.

    This is the 49 state version as evidenced by the round air filter. The California model had Multi-Point fuel injection instead of the 49 state throttle body fuel injection.

    My Encore was the California model and it became nearly impossible to find parts or air filters for it eventually. A late ownership repair was made using CPVC water pipe elbows. Aside from the hard to find nature of many of the parts, the Encore was an enjoyable car to drive, although with weak acceleration. Handling was great, MPG was outstanding and the cargo carrying capacity was outstanding. It’s just too bad they were made so daintily as compared to the cars Americans were used to. Mine is still in my driveway and it ran when parked. I do have a willing taker if I can get it started!

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      You know your Encores. They handled great, were rather roomy and comfortable and were tops for fuel economy. The only thing that would have been better when I was driving my new Encore from 1985-2001 was to drive it longer. Right after it met it’s end in a deer hit, gas prices started going through the roof. I can rest easier in the fact that I did save a lot in gas money in the years that I did drive it.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    That car was really setup for RV towing, stone chip guards on the headlights, auxiliary tail lights, tow bar painted to match the car, manual transmission. I’ll bet that engine has only run for about 30,000 of those 117,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    The towing accessories scream grandpa, the seat covers scream grandma. I bet the motor home has more miles than the Renault.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    My mom had one back in 1991. It was a white coupe, IIRC a 1987 5-speed (wait, maybe it was 4-speed??) with a red interior. My dad was doing landscaping back then and at one of the jobs he had it was parked out front for sale. Story went that the guy had bought it new for his daughter, but she hated the manual transmission (yeah right) so the car sat in the garage and wasn’t being driven. I can’t remember how many kilometers were on it, but it was basically still new.

    Yeah, he ended up doing the landscaping job for the car.

    Initially it was ok, but after a year or so it began chewing through front end parts. The timing belt snapped on us one night when just my mom and I were driving it, out of town. We had the local AMC-Jeep dealer replace the motor and when it came back we instantly put it up for sale.

    (Replaced it with a Taurus SHO – night and day!)

    A car flipper up the road bought it and sold it to a kid I went to high school with, he drove it for a year and then I saw it again in the high school parking lot owned by another guy.

    Last I saw it was sitting in our local wrecking yard around ’97 or ’98, fully intact while I was there buying parts for a car I was restoring.

    That should be a testament to how bad those cars were, basically bought in NOS format in 1991 and it was toasted (albeit rust free) just 6-7 years later….lol

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      Was that the 1.7L engine that the timing belt “snapped”? Because I seem to remember the 1.4L engines had a timing chain. And at 134,000+ miles my 1.4L Encore had no problems with that. Try to get your stories straight.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    52mpg?

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Biggest POS car ever…bought an 84 Alliance in 1992, and by then, in the deep south, no one knew how to repair it. (to make matters worst, I traded a semi-decent 82 Chrysler New Yorker for it. – WTF was I thinking in College?) A college buddy of mine from Palestine had to call his dad long-distance to help fix it.

    The dealer gave up on it. (back then the ‘Eagle’ dealerships supposedly were the heirs to fix Renaults. They couldn’t do it)

    Mine blew 3 heads in 1 yr of painful ownership when I was in college. I even memorized the tow truck phone number.

    Sure it did 52MPG with state of the art dual engine hybrid technology = Your busted renault engine + the engine of the tow truck pulling your car. By the way, the car only had 68,000 miles when I bought it.

    Car ran for 6-7 miles before crapping out. Thank God for the buy-here-pay-here dealer 4 miles away from me. Got the royal sum of $400 for a trade into a much more decent 83 Mustang.

    The few survivors have all the solidity of wet kleenex and the reliability of a Sober Charlie Sheen

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the late 80′s a wrecking yard that I would frequent had a separate area filled with Alliance/Encores. Mind you this is only 5-6 years after they were introduced. I did know someone who bought one when they were introduced. A red 2 dr with a stick, not much else. He got great service out of it and traded it in for of all things, a Hyundai Excel.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Sarge was military memorabilia.

    The gate guard checked the ID for the housewife, and handed it back into the minivan. He hesitated as he did so, taking into account the strange appearance of the next vehicle. The protrusion below the bumper and “up-armored” headlamps gave the Renault the unintentional appearance of an M-ATV MRAP. The glare on the windshield obscured it’s driver, but he could make out the base sticker on it. The guard moved his hand down to his weapon in a “casual ready” position. It could just be some smart ass grunt. God knows he had seen his share of cars of this type of decor. Still, with the current events, it was wise to be ready for anything. The odd desert tan hatchback moved forward, and it’s operator provided his identity. “Thank you Sergeant.”, he said to the old man as he gave the card back. The guard watched the Encore with curiosity as it entered Fort Carson, it’s softly sprung hind end dipping down on each upshift as it accelerated away.

    Sarge watched the distressed needle climb up to 40mph. It amused him every time he looked at it, curled up like a leaf in the fall. It was such an odd problem for a car to have, but understandable since the the Renault spent it’s entire life parked in the near Colorado sun in front of a rapidly deteriorating and unused RV. He tried not to think of that RV. He had spent much of his savings on the big beast. The times he actually used it were relaxing and memorable, but few. Now it was in a state for which it would never return, infested with rodents. He reached back down to the volume knob on the Targa so the conservative talk radio could be heard again.

    As Dennis Miller blabbed, Sarge took note of the soldier’s uniforms on the base. They were nothing like his old standard issue fatigues. It made him feel like a relic. The PX was unusually deserted this afternoon. He easily parked the Encore close to the barber shop. Sarge wondered how long he would have to wait for a trim during the long process of extracting his war-weary and oblong mass from the double-covered seat. He envied the fit personnel around him. If he could join them for PT, he would. His hip didn’t allow for such things anymore. The booze and diet did the rest.

    The standard bell above the door dinged as Sarge entered. “Have a seat you old war-horse.”, said the barber, dusting clippings from the seat. He was good at his craft, and managed BS well with Army protocol. “Fresh sonofabitch.”, responded Sarge, easing himself carefully into the chair. After the cordial greeting, Sarge began the highlight of the month, chatting with the open ear. Gays in the military was brought up. The barber tread lightly here, only offering anecdotals, and various grunts of acknowledgement while he trimmed Sarge’s grey mane for the final time. The retiree did much of the heavy lifting during the conversation.

    “Piece o’ s#it”, Sarge commented on his new ‘do. The private put the mirror down, saying, “You said it. Like polishing a turd.” with a smile. The haircut was neat, and to code. Perfect. “Something going on? There’s nobody here.”, Sarge asked. “Oh, the commisary’s closed because of the shutdown.”, said the private. “They probably think we’re closed too.” Sarge looked slowly to the curb in disgust. “They’re running this country into the F&*$ing GROUND.”

    Sarge returned to his MRAP-themed Renault, carefully sliding into position on the threadbare seat covers. His afternoon was ruined, with the secondary mission of procuring a steak for dinner getting scrubbed. He could just go to Wally World. It was cheaper after all. But, he came here because he just belonged. It was the closest thing to a family that he had. The Encore’s meager engine droned out of the main gate, and made way to the Wal-mart. Axle grease silently spun out of the ripped boot in the CV joint on the return trip home.

    Sarge enjoyed his steak and a dram, and slipped away in his recliner. The Renault, lit by a security lamp outside, a good soldier till the end.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    There was also the high performance, no pun intended GTA version which had the 2.0. I once looked at one in the early 90′s, silver with most options but it was already blowing blue smoke out the exhaust. The rebuild can be quite pricey since you have to replace the piston sleeves.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Thank you Crab ;

    Memorable and on the right day no less .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    20000forachevymalibu

    I drove one of these for a while. The horn was on the tip end of the windshield wiper arm. Very French.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Ford Fairmonts had their horn button that same weird way.

      • 0 avatar
        wibigdog

        That’s funny. Growing up my buddy’s mom traded her Fairmont station wagon (complete with fake wood trim) for a brand new powder blue 1983 Renault Alliance. Unfortunately (or fortunately), within a year it was T-boned and was replaced by a gently used K-car, which lasted them five years until they bought a Dynasty (I know, I know).

  • avatar
    April

    And I almost bought one of these new.

    (I still have the fancy dealer brochure)

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Looking these up I must ask, how on earth did the 1.7 engine get its “77.5 hp” rating? Thats literally 77 and a half horses!

    I’d also like to know how they got so good gas mileage for the time, gearing?

    • 0 avatar
      vwgolf420

      It probably weighed around 2000 pounds and small displacement, low horsepower engines as such got much better gas mileage. Look at figures for similarly sized cars like Honda Civic, Mazda GLC, VW Rabbit, Ford Escort.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I had an ’89 Tercel that weighed less than that with a 1.5 engine, I was lucky if it even got 35mph.

      • 0 avatar
        bill mcgee

        At the time , drove a 1980 Rabbit with the 5-speed manual and the fuel-injected 1.6 L gas engine and it was quite capable of achieving over 45 m.p.g. with sunroof wide open , particularly with the idiot 55 mph speed limit of the time. I would often hypermile it , following closely behind semis at 62 m.p.h. . Had gotten so many tickets , sometimes for not even going 65 m.p.h. in a 55 zone that I didn’t dare speed .Low weight ( less than 2000 lbs. ) helped . Bloody awful to have to drive so slow on wide-open boring trips ,in Texas for godsake , I was making back then .San Antonio to Dallas , San Antonio to Austin or Houston , as boring a drive as Kansas . Reagan had his faults but at least he raised the speed limit ( at least I think it was him ). What you saved in gas you wasted in time back then .

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      My 85 Encore 5 speed was geared rather “tall”. It only read abot 3000 RPM at 68 mph. That is why it would get 48 MPG at that speed all day long.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Seriously, watch the second video and pause it at key points, there doesn’t appear to be a driver in the shots.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    In the early 80s I was transferred to San Antonio . The company I worked for used a rental car company for work-related rentals and as company employees we received a substantial discount from the rental agency when we rented cars for personal use . If you were willing to rent a subcompact car with a manual transmission the price was really cheap – as I recall maybe less than $15 a day on the weekends with unlimited mileage. At the time I had a GF in Dallas and another in Houston. I had 2 coworkers who also had long-distance relationships in both cities so we would split the cost of the rentals . The oddball , independent agency – it wasn’t Hertz or any of the big ones- had an odd collection of cars . The subcompact ones were mostly Renault Alliances or Encores , some with sticks but mostly automatics , all a year or two old. Even stranger , they had a handful of the larger Renaults , think it was the Renault 18 if you wanted to pay more ( we didn’t, but one time they ran short of Alliances and “upgraded ” us to a Renault 18 Sportwagon- wierdest rental choice I can remember ). I thought the Renaults actually were an attractive car for the era ,esp. the Alliance , compared with the Detroit competition . The pedestal front seats I found more comfortable than the Rabbit I owned back then and they got good mileage , 30 m.p.g. or more , the stick -shifts were fun to drive and even the automatics were no slower than the other malaisemobiles .But maybe the cheapskate rental company didn’t maintain them so well . Once one of the ones with the sticks had IIRC the alternator go out , we push started it and luckily got back to the rental place . Then another time , about halfway to Dallas our Encore broke down . The buddy and I were able to push it about a half a mile to a gas station , called the rental company who advised us to leave it there . We took the bus back to San Antone . The company promised us a free rental .Next trip the air conditioning on our Alliance broke down during a sweaty , 100 degree weekend after we had barely cleared the San Antonio suburbs . Didn’t rent from them after that . Years later , worked for an engineering company that had a 1985 Encore as a shop car I drove sometimes to pick up plans . It was derided by everybody who drove it and I remember it too breaking down and having to get a county employee to give me a lift back to our office after we tried-and failed- to jump it . Not a bad little car tho just like the earlier rentals – when they ran . As I recall it had the same warped and broken speedo needle . mentioned above .

  • avatar
    hawox

    dind’t even know they sold it in the us!
    this car in europe was called R11 and the sister was R9, they sold quite well but i never understood why. were more expensive than ford escort, opel rekord, austin montego, fiat ritmo. from what i know it used to cost a little less than the more refined and bigger citroen bx.
    i remember i rode in the R11 turbo, was quite fast for the days but nothing special, the peugeot 304 gt was more practical and better buildt (maybe also the rover 200).

    the models sold in europe had black resin bumpers, after 1 or 2 weeks they were complitely grey due to sun discoloration.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You know all things considered, this looks very modern outside for 1985. The design of the back end is particularly nice and uncluttered.

  • avatar

    TWELVE CENTS A MILE. Hands down, the cheapest car I’ve owned. Purchased for $200 freshman year of college. The water pump was bolted to it’s engine’s brittle, aluminum head. It lost it’s prime at the slightest loss of coolant. A water pump was $90 but a second (or third) car was only $125. An endless supply of pars. Gas milage = 35 miles to the dollar (’94 gas prices).

    With the French beaut on the lift, the inspection mechanic (Annual PA safety) demonstrated the extent of the cancerous rust. The car could rock corner-to-corner by two inches. “…Next set’a railroad tracks…er whatever…you go over you’ll be sit’n on the road.” So I welded the unibody solid. Then I rear-ended a Ford Ranger (even snapped the motor mounts). So I replaced the front clip with parts car #1. Wheel bearings, alternators, speedo cluster, axles, calipers, various odd bits and pieces internal and external… I knew just about every placid square inch of my ’83 Alliance–Motor Trends car of the year. Profoundly odd and inconceivably cheap.

  • avatar

    When Chrysler purchased AMC (in whose factories the AMC/Renault Alliance–hence the name ‘Alliance’–was built) it acquired the liability for the little French CSO (Car Shaped Object). And since there were so many of these derelicts recalled, but never fixed, Chrysler created an incentive program to encourage owners to get them to the dealers.

    The heater cores were located interior of the firewall and would burst boiling coolant on the drivers leg often rendering a car accident (following the 2nd degree burn). And since most of these CSO’s were also a POS, Chrysler found for just a little more cash they could convince the owner to give up their flimsy little explosive liability issue and maybe sell them a new Neon or something.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      Were Neon’s (Plymouth or Dodge) really any better? When Crysler bought the company it was named Renault/Jeep. Thankfully there were no actual American engineered AMC models left by that time.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Two experiences:

    One was a lady at a former church who was sitting in the passenger seat of their ’84 Alliance when the heater core blew its top. She was showered from knees to feet in coolant, and spent several months in the hospital and rehab. Don’t know what her ultimate outcome was or if she and her husband were able to recover any damages.

    Second was when I was a passenger in my buddy’s ’86 (I think) Alliance after having had dinner on a bone-chillingly cold night. As he was making a left turn (at a light, in the left lane of two), the door flew open!! (The latch had frozen!) If I hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, I would have been deposited right onto the roadway, likely under the wheels of whatever happened to be next to us!! He replaced, IIRC, a clutch, both CV joints, and the HVAC control panel (which cost a pretty penny)! I think that car nickeled-and-dimed him enough that he decided to trade up to a fairly decent Mazda 323; there was no big problem for which he junked it.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulWisc

      Are those true stories or did you make them up? Pretty sketchy details. But if you found it on the internet, it must be true. The VW Golf/Jetta had the same plastic and aluminum heater core construction. My Encore heater core never “blew”. It was replaced by the Jeep/Eagle dealer slack jaws though in 1992, on the only recall of it’s life, and the heater did not work after that. They left a vacuam hose loose (after scratching my shift console). You should wear your seatbelt or maybe not. It should be the survival of the fittest(smartest), in your case anyway.


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