Thursday, February 24, 2011

1988 Renault Medallion (21) - Bargain Euro Sedan

When was the last time you saw one of these?

The Medallion was meant to replace the underachieving Renault 18i and the antiquated AMC Concord in the Renault / AMC lineup.

The Medallion never sold well. By the time Renault introduced it in the US their sales were free falling. Chrysler took over AMC within a few months of the Medallion's introduction. They had little interest in selling it. It was re-badged as an Eagle Medallion, but within 2 years it was dropped from the lineup.

Based on the European Renault 21, it featured a 2.2 liter 4 cylinder engine. For all around drivability, this was the best 4 cylinder engine Renault ever sent to the US.

Like most of the Renaults we received in the US, it was very well designed and engineered, but not very well put together. It would most likely never leave you stranded, but you'd be forever replacing small items.

As most of you have figured out, I'm a fan of Renaults. I test drove one of these shortly after they were introduced. I remember it being quicker than any other Renault sedan I had driven or owned and extremely comfortable. All-in-all, I'd describe it as "pleasant". And that's the problem...

A company like Renault needed something better than "pleasant" in the US. It needed something exciting, it needed something quirky, it needed something, anything, to make it stand out from the crowd. The Medallion didn't possess any of those qualities. It was just one of a great number of pleasant sedans being offered in the US. It, rightly, got lost in the crowd.

This car is pretty amazing. It is a 1 owner car. That one owner was a 91 year old woman who put just 52,000 miles on it. (Normally, I would be skeptical of the 91-year-old-woman-owner story, but that's the type of person who often wound up with these cars. They'd go into the dealership where the bought their Hornet 10 years before and their Rambler 10 years before that, looking for a new, comfortable, car. "Joe", the salesperson they'd been dealing with since the 1960s, would put them in a Medallion. He didn't have much else to sell them.) It needs some minor work (of course), but is being offered for the absurdly reasonable price of $650.00.

Located in Raritan Township, NJ, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

A big thanks to JaCG reader, Blair, for sending me the link to this car.

16 comments:

kashgar216 said...

It really looks like the "big" Hyundai at the time, the Sonata. Any connection?

Richard said...

Bargain? I'd say that is the deal of the century! If that was on the West Coast I'd be driving right now to pick it up, at that price its worth the hassle I'd get from the wife showing up in another car.

Blair Russell said...

Oh, I never knew that you have ever test-driven a Medallion. But, I'm glad I was able to stumble upon it earlier this week, as it sounds like a hell of a deal for people like us.

Enmotors said...

I'm with Richard. My wife just said no way. If it was close I'd own it already.

rrshadow2 said...

I had one of these back in the early 90s it was truely Awful! and the crazy thing I had several Reanault Le Cars and R-16s prior to this Medallion and Loved every one of Those! This car just rubbed me wrong, there didn't seem to be much French about it. It's like AMC took all the Coolness out of the R-21 and sent it over

Max Power said...

For the even more truly ratet...there was even a wagon version of the Medallion

Max Power said...

Whoops...I meat 'rare'

Angel said...

Hey guys...Im the new owner of grandma's Medallion. I found it in the central Jersy Craigslist. Ive recently been in the market for a cheap and fuel efficient commuter. This one seemed to fit the bill. After talking to the seller by phone, I took a 25 minute ride over to check it out...After a few jokes, I agreed that it fit the bill, so I bought it from the autoshop owner who was selling it dor the old lady. Just took it for a test ride. it needed a battery which ive already installed and seems to have an issue with either the brake booster or vacuum to the booster. Car is surprisingly clean for it being 23 years old. Gonna need some tires and a good vacuuming, but considering im getting at best 15 mpg on my Tahoe, it should pay itself off within a few months (so long as it stays together). With 51000 on the clock, im hopeful. In closing, I have to say that I have had the good fortune of meeting good people on Craigslist and this was no exception. The two guys at the shop were complete gentlemen and I hope life pays them back tenfold for the good they have done and continue to do for Helen.

Jason said...

It seems like the consensus here is you got a great deal. Good luck with the car.

Angel said...

Well thats certainly reassuring considering Ive never owned such a car and since there arent many others out there, its hard to gauge what the car is worth. Besides the Tahoe, I have 13 others (mostly muscle, tri five Chevys and a couple if 47 Plymouths) so going French was something very foreign to me...And thanks, keeping my fingers crossed!

Matt Cotton said...

That really was a good deal, I couldn't jump on it fast enough!
As far as what it's "worth", apparently it's worth $650, lol!
But, I had one new in 1988, and it was and continues to be the best new car I ever owned. I paid $10,200 at the time, when I could have had a Corsica or Tempo for the same money, and I can't imagine I would have enjoyed one of them at all! I think the Peugeot 405 was on sale at the time for around $14,995, and I think the Medallion was it's equal. Sublimely comfortable and, OMG, so roomy!! It was my 4th Renault and I do miss it!

rengta87 said...

Hey there Angel, if you ever decide to sell the car let me know. Also if you need a mechanic that works on these there is a guy located in Hamilton, NJ that used to work for the dealership way back then. Here is my email address rengta87@yahoo.com. Thanks again for the update on the car. it is a beauty. good luck with it. Regards, Hector

Angel said...

Hey guys, after putting some money into it, Ive had a change of plans...Its now on Ebay for those interested. Thanks and a good day to all.

Anonymous said...

I have owned one since 2004...bought it in San Fran. Only trouble was a rubber issue (cooling hoses, CV axles) because car was not driven. Parts are dirt cheap on Ebay and car runs like a champ. It looks like new and still looks pretty good in a parking lot next to newer shapes. I get 32mpg on Highway and regularly lock the speedo needle...and I still have a couple thousands rpm to go. Really roomy and comfortable and a huge trunk where I can fit a honda 50 dirt bike! It is a good car if driven and maintained...It is a Renault 21 with the 2.2 liter engine of the Renault 25 for the US market. Built in France! There is a wagon that sold here too. DL is reg and DX is luxury with remote locks, sunroof, electric windows...too bad the Turbo never sold here!

Anonymous said...

I purchased one of these new in November 1987 - a gray metallic DL model in a 5 speed stick. Out the door price incl 7% sales tax - $10,350. The engine was smooth, reasonably peppy, and delivered GREAT fuel mileage. On a trip from Long Island to Boston, I got about 38 mpg. typical highway mileage was 35 - 37 mpg. This was no small car - it had 99 cu ft. of interior space, with a 17 cu ft trunk! The praise I have for it - roomy, smooth, quite, economical, and VERY comfortable. The downside - this car would literally CHEW UP front disc brake pads; I replaced the front brake pads twice in the first 23,000 miles, and the only source for the pads was the dealer - EXPENSIVE! Unfortunately, my wife wrecked the car with about 35,000 miles on it. Chrysler really dropped the ball on this car, as well as the Premier/Monaco.

Anonymous said...

I bought mine in 2000 in San Francisco...a 1988 DL....my daily commuter since and the most comfortable ride for long hauls.
March 2016....still going strong around sacramento!