Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1986 Renault Alpine GTA

We came this close (put your thumb and index finger about 1/8 of an inch apart) to officially getting this car in the US. The GTA was designed with the American market in mind. It was to be Renault's flagship in the US.

After some initial encouraging numbers, sales of the Renault Alliance and Encore started to slip, due mainly to reliability concerns. Renault finally had to accept the fact that a public that was reluctant to buy $5,000.00 Renaults, sure as hell weren't going to buy a $30,000.00 Renault, no matter how good it was.

And the Alpine GTA was good... The engine was a 200 HP, turbocharged version of the PRV V6. It could get to 60 MPH in 6.9 seconds. It's top speed was limited to 155 MPH.

As with any car, styling is a matter of personal taste, but I find the Alpine GTA to be drop-dead gorgeous. The interior design is typical French quirky, but everything is where it should be and the GTA is said to be a very comfortable car.

This car is a 42,000 mile car. It appears to be in very nice shape. Being a 1986 model, it's completely legal to import this car into the US. The seller has sold some cars on eBay before and has a 100% feedback rating.

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, click here to see the eBay listing.

How close did Renault come to importing the Alpine? Very close. There were several US spec cars sent to the US automotive press for review. A number of grey market cars made their way here, too. The rumor at the time was the Renault was responsible for bringing in some of those grey market cars. That's quite possibly true. I was visiting my parents in Fairfax, VA, back in 1986 or 1987 and decided to go for a drive. I passed an AMC / Renault dealership and spotted a GTA on the showroom floor. I did a quick u-turn, went into the dealership and snapped the picture you see below. If you enlarge the picture and look really closely, you'll see staple holes in the top center portion. This picture hung over my desk for many, many years. It was sort of my motivation for working harder each day. (I guess I never worked hard enough though, as I never got to buy an Alpine GTA!)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The 80s kid in me wants that. Badly. Not this year though.

Of note - the pictures are all date stamped Dec 2010/Toronto hasn't had snow on the ground like that in 2 months.

-G___

Jon said...

I'm not sure that is a photo of a GTA/A610. The front end looks a lot like an earlier A310.

Just A Car Geek said...

I believe you're right, Jon. It's been a long time since I've looked closely at that picture!

Max Power said...

I believe that in the end, the decision not to import it in 1987 had more to due with the impending sale of AMC to Chrysler who had almost no interest in selling any Renaults. Other than the lame duck Medallion and the not yet released Premier, Chrysler immediately discontinued the Alliance, Alliance hatchback (formally Encore) and Alliance GTA.