By on October 29, 2008

The fine folks at Quinn Automotive in Worcester, Massachusetts (that’s pronounced Woostuh) are offering a nearly new 1986 Renault Alliance Coupe 1.7 for a song – only $2500 (cough, cough, choke). For your money you get the finest in French engineering circa 1986, a 1.7 liter 8-valve engine, 78 raging horsepower routed to the front wheels, and a 3-speed automatic transmission. This particular example has only 39,322 miles on it, and it’ll look great parked next to your Chrysler Cobalt and HumJeep.

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17 Comments on “Buy A Piece of Another Failed Merger: The Renault AMC Alliance Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    And please enjoy this vintage Renault Alliance ad with my, uh, compliments:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0xMzez4B6-Y

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    In theory the Alliance was a somewhat interesting design for the time, but the execution left a great deal to be desired. Oh, the French. . . .

    Is there an equivalence between the Renault-AMC tie up and the proposed “merger” of GM and Chrysler? Eh. AMC, like Chrysler, was virtually dead. However, Renault wasn’t in critical condition like GM. On paper you could argue that Renault’s purchase of AMC made some sense, in that it gave them a foothold in the American market, and at that time the Jeep brand was valuable.

    Renault failed in the U.S. because French engineering and manufacturing capabilities were embarrassingly subpar. The merger itself wasn’t the problem.

  • avatar
    geeber

    I remember rooting for the Renault-AMC merger to work. I wanted the underdog – AMC – to survive.

    The Alliance sold well for its first two years on the market. If I recall correctly, it was the second best-selling small car in America – after the Ford Escort – in 1983. Early reviews were also good.

    But then the cars started falling apart. I remember looking at a Consumer Reports reliability survey, and virtually EVERY dot on the Alliance chart was solid black.

    Meanwhile, Honda and Toyota came out with revamped Civics and Corollas. Ford kept improving the Escort…and by 1985, the Alliance was toast.

    The car itself had some good features for the time. But the execution was terrible. Renault could not keep pace with the improved product being rolled out by Honda and Toyota; it never made regular detail improvements like Ford did with the Escort; and it didn’t have a dealer body with the strength that Ford’s possessed.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I believe that the successor to this car is the Nissan Versa, which will be particularly ironic if Chrysler still ends up selling a rebadged version of that car.

    Shame about the FWD, but if this thing had the 5-speed I might be tempted; it’s a clean looking little coupe.

    However, the right wheel drive Maserati BiTurbo is still higher on my list of boxy European ’80s coupes from failed automotive acquisitions/mergers.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    This was the slowest car I ever drove. The rear wheel fell off of it at 30K, the fuel injection unit on the throttle body died, a 350 dollar part that concluded it’s service to the community.

    Also voted car of the year by motortrend

  • avatar
    jwltch

    I remember when my aunt and uncle traded in their LeCar for one of these. They thought they were great. And cheap. After the Alliance they switched to Mercury Sables.

  • avatar

    56 MPG ain’t too shabby though, maybe buy one now, and then next summer when price spikes again, sell one as a fuel miser, muahahah

  • avatar
    scrubnick

    A 1.7L engine? No wonder it was doomed to fail! How many 1.7L engines are out there? Honda had one for two years before it realized that 1.7 was just a bad number for an engine.

  • avatar
    OhMyGoat

    Whoa, that dredges up some memories.

    Anyone remember the Alliance Cup? It was sort of a SCCA showroom stock support series from the mid-80’s cooked up by AMC/Renault featuring the Appliance… errr, Alliance. As I recall, tweaks were pretty much limited to a roll bar, Koni shocks, spec wider rims/tires, and they ran a Y in the exhaust so you pulled off a cap and had it run free flow though a side pipe (oh yeah, what a sweet, sweet sound…). You drove it to the track, popped the exhaust cap, slapped on the race rubber and went “racing”. At the time, I was helping a friend who ran one of these along with some clients of his shop. It was sort of fun driving to races in those things although in reality it barely had enough power to get out of it’s own way. However, they did somehow generate enough velocity to get pulled over by the CHP on I-5. Fun times…

  • avatar
    NickR

    No way man, I an holding out for another classic design of that era, the Renault 5, aka Le Cinq. A friend had one. Two things I loved about it. The 3 bolt wheels (in reality, a single 3/4″ bolt in the centre would have sufficed). The second was the superbike worthy body lean, which appeared at velocities as low as 30km/h. Fun times.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Uhm, no thank you. One of the unfortunate consequences of being old is that you remember (some) things…

    I remember the Renault Alliance Heater Core disaster. Legend has it that Renault had people who they paid to try and track every one of these cars down – even in the junkyards, where they would leave a new heater core in the box on the passenger’s side floor. Why, you ask? See the recall information below. Note that there were TWO problems.

    However, while I’m sure that this Alliance had the fix done, I don’t think that even those replacement heater cores were built to last 25 additional years.

    Used 1986 Renault Alliance Recalls
    Recall Date: 1992-04-10
    Components: VISIBILITY:DEFROSTER/DEFOGGER SYSTEM:WINDSHIELD…
    Cars Affected: 540,000

    Summary:
    THE END CAP CONNECTING THE HEAT EXCHANGER’S CORE TO THE ENGINE COOLING SYSTEM COULD RUPTURE AND ALLOW HOT COOLANT TO ESCAPE INTO THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT.

    Consequences:
    THE COOLANT ESCAPING INTO THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT COULDCONTACT THE DRIVER’S FEET AND INJURE THE DRIVER. ALSO, STEAM FROM THE HEATEDLIQUID WILL CLOUD ON THE WINDOW SURFACES AND IMPAIR THE DRIVER’S VISION ANDCOULD RESULT IN A VEHICLE ACCIDENT.

    Remedy:
    REPLACE THE HEATER CORE WITH A CORE OF DIFFERENT DESIGN WHICH WILL NOT RUPTURE AND LEAK IN THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT.

    Recall Date: 1988-05-31
    Components: VISIBILITY:DEFROSTER/DEFOGGER SYSTEM:WINDSHIELD…
    Cars Affected: 240,000

    Summary:
    COOLING SYSTEM PRESSURES DURING OVERHEATED ENGINE OPERATION MAY EXCEED THE STRENGTH CAPABILITY OF CERTAIN COMPONENTS DUE TO INADEQUATE VENTING CAPACITY OF THE SYSTEM PRESSURE CAP.

    Consequences:
    THE BUILDUP OF PRESSURE MAY CAUSE HEATER CORE TO RUPTUREAND DISCHARGE HOT COOLANT AND STEAM IN THE PROXIMITY OF THE DRIVERS LEGS.

    Remedy:
    REPLACE ALL COOLANT SYSTEM PRESSURE CAPS WITH ONE HAVING ADEQUATE VENTING CAPACITY.

    Used 1985 Renault Alliance Recalls
    Recall Date: 1992-04-10
    Components: VISIBILITY:DEFROSTER/DEFOGGER SYSTEM:WINDSHIELD…
    Cars Affected: 540,000

    Summary:
    THE END CAP CONNECTING THE HEAT EXCHANGER’S CORE TO THE ENGINE COOLING SYSTEM COULD RUPTURE AND ALLOW HOT COOLANT TO ESCAPE INTO THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT.

    Consequences:
    THE COOLANT ESCAPING INTO THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT COULDCONTACT THE DRIVER’S FEET AND INJURE THE DRIVER. ALSO, STEAM FROM THE HEATEDLIQUID WILL CLOUD ON THE WINDOW SURFACES AND IMPAIR THE DRIVER’S VISION ANDCOULD RESULT IN A VEHICLE ACCIDENT.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    My father owned an Alliance for a short time. Bare-bones model with a 4-speed. I think he bought it because he had a Renault 16 which had served him well.

    Was there anything that didn’t go wrong with the Alliance? He couldn’t unload it soon enough.

    I’m surprised this one made it to 39,322. If anyone pays $2,500 for this thing without doing a little research, they deserve what they get.

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    geeber: the Alliance actually survived into early 1988… and there was always the GTA version to be interesting.

    I have to admit something crazy here: I actually owned a Renault Alliance. Crazy but true. It was my first car in 1987. I bought a used 1985 Alliance (4-door) 1.7L OHC with a 5-speed manual. It was 2 years old, and I paid $2000 for it… really. It was white with a powder blue interior. We lovingly called it “The Appliance” That car was really frugal, fun to drive, rode like a small Cadillac, and for a high-school kid it was perfect. It had the skinniest tires I have ever seen, and they sliced through the worst snow! It was not a car you could get in trouble with either.

    I should also say that I lived in Wisconsin where it was built, so there were TONS many of them on the road there.

    Of course, the consumer reports were correct… they were appallingly made (thanks AMC in Kenosha) and the engine died at 90K. I cannot remember now if we junked it or sold it for parts.

    I do think that I would have kept driving it had it not died… it really was a fun car.

    I am sure I am going to get a lot of s**t for putting THIS out there… haha.

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    I had to check out YouTube for more… haha. This is a blast from the past.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DTxlFaYwgL4&feature=related

  • avatar
    davey49

    no slushbox- Renault Alliance= Renault 9 fb Renault 19 fb Renault Megane/Nissan Sentra
    The Versa is more related to the Clio. Though both platforms might be similar

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    scrubnick:

    1.7L is fine. My Aussie Ford wagon is a rebadged Mazda 323 with a 1.6L 4-banger automatic that runs great, plenty fast, and gets good fuel economy. I have no problems attracting heaps of speeding tickets, or keeping up with the fastest of traffic.

    Probably what kills it is everything you hang off a 1.6L motor… such as a crappy tranny, excess weight, and too many bells and whistles.

    My old Mercedes-Benz (W124) sedan ran fantastic with only a 2.6 liter fuel-injected motor clamped on to a 5-speed automatic tranny.

    It still blows me away when I am in the US at all the 3.x to 4.x liter motors I see on mid sized cars. I can’t help but ask “Why? What deficiency are they making up for?”

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    One thing I liked about the R9/R11 (as the Alliance and its hatchback version were called in Europe) was how the front seats were mounted on a single, middle rail. Thus, the rear passengers could placce their feets way under the front seats.

    Why didn’t any other car maker adopt this? With elevated front seats, it seems like a fine way to increase rear legroom.

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