One Owner GTA: 1987 Renault Alliance

The Renault Alliance was a homely economy car that experienced short-lived success in the U.S. Unfortunately for the brand and enthusiasts alike, the hotted-up GTA didn’t become a staple of the sport compact scene, only appearing for short time before the brand shuttered operations here. This example here on eBay seems to be for sale by the original owner and other than some cosmetic bruises, looks like a strong runner for $2,850. 

The GTA was a manual-only model, which offers some indication as to the target buyer Renault was shooting for. A complete aerodynamics kit, sport bucket seats, firmer suspension with bigger sway bars, a close ratio gear box and more added up to form a tantalizing recipe that any GTI or CRX driver would have a hard time ignoring. Road test editors of the era heaped praise on the GTA for its lithe handling, which overcame its economy car roots.

The GTA here is in solid condition, with a few cosmetic bumps and bruises as its biggest sins. The seller claims to have bought it new in 1987, and there can’t be too many of these Alliances in any trim configuration still residing with the first purchaser. Among its few noted issues are a leaky sunroof that was apparently dealer installed, some cracks in the plastic underbody trim and a dent near the passenger-side headlight.

The seller says he drives the GTA approximately 10 miles per year, which is validated by the mileage of 82,931. Truthfully, project cars of this vintage need more exercising than that to stay in form, so the next owner will likely want to ensure this sporting GTA gets more road-time in the future. And while you’re at it, find a set of OEM Marchal stone shields for the OEM fog lights – a must-have for period-correctness.

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Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    That is one tempting find, Jeff! If a person likes unusual (oddball) cars this one is towards the top of the pile.

    6+

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      I agree. It also passes the essential litmus test of, “Is it from the 1980s? Does it have turbine wheels and factory ground effects? If yes, you are cleared to purchase.”

      3+

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Sometimes it scares me how much the three of us like the same cars. I LOVE GTA’s. Would like to try racing one in LeMons — the judges love French cars…

        5+

      • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Soooooo, $1,000 each and we have a LeMons car, is what you’re saying, Jamie?.. (wringing hands)..

        5+

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Ha! Cage would push it above that, but yeah, that’s the idea. I’d start with a worse one, though, there are plenty out there! I’ll keep my eyes open, you two…

        4+

  2. Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

    The pairing of this with the Subaru in your garage, Scotty, would be pretty tough to beat, in my opinion…

    3+

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      It’s probably a good thing that the seller isn’t getting back to me with my questions, Jeff. I have a feeling that I’d do something dumb and impulsive.

      3+

      • John T

        Moe, Larry, the Cheese!
        WOO, WOO, WOO, WOO!!!

        1+

  3. KevinR

    I always liked these cars. Of course I was driving a 1984 Jetta GLI in 1987, so my car needs were taken care of quite nicely. Plus my parents’ 4 year experiment with a Peugeot 505S left me skeptical of French engineering.

    With the body work required by this car, I would look into removing the sunroof and patching the roof. I’m guessing finding the proper headliner would be problematic.

    I had almost forgotten about these cars, as they are almost non-existent in my area of the country. With a bigger garage and more disposable income, I’d love to have something as quirky as this car.

    1+

  4. XMA0891

    These weren’t your worst option for purchase in 1987. IMO, the cars just could not overcome the lack of direction at the dealer-level amid the AMC/Chrysler acquisition. Took a real leap of faith to stroll into an AMC/Jeep/Renault Dealer circa ’86 – ’88…

    4+

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Sort of the same thing that’s happening with Alfa Romeo now….

      0

  5. Car Guy

    Have not see one of these in a long time. Back in 87 I custom ordered a new Trans Am GTA with the Tuned Port 5.0 V8, 5-speed manual, and 3.45 performance axle ratio. Fun car to drive, and pretty peppy. Funny story. I was actually challenged to a race by a guy driving a new 87 Renault GTA. As nice as the little Renault looked, it was no contest………..

    1+

  6. Wayne

    I have a GTA Convert in my driveway right now. I snagged the engine and gearbox for another project. And sold the car to a guy in Indiana. Bill, will you come get your car please!

    0

  7. alan

    I bought one of these with 10 k miles on it that was traded in because of noisy wheel bearings which it did not have. The problem was that as Michelin XGT tires wear out their tread blocks wear unevenly and howl like bad bearings. I ran them until they really wore out. It was a really nice tight driving car but paled in comparison to a GTI. The major shortcoming of the design was that the 2.0 liter engine was not treated to multi-point injection instead a single monoinjector feeding unequal length intake runners did not make for even power delivery. Aside from that I had it for several years and enjoyed every minute of it. Renault really stepped up with the trim by using nice sport steering wheel, nice gauges, Ronal 15″ rims, and a factory spec’d Zender body kit. I have since graduated to a real Renault GTA but still would be tempted to add one of these to the stable again.

    1+

  8. AMCFAN

    The main factory colors were White, Red and Black. The Silver color was an option. This was a nice package and something Renault should have been working to introduce much earlier. None the less would handle as good as a (then) new Corvette. The 1.7 and 2.0 engines have a timing belt. It is an interfering valve engine. Not surprised to see the car being owned by it’s original owner. Very unique and a pleasure to own. Good for him!

    4+

  9. Chebby

    I’ve always heard these were crap, but I really like the styling of them.

    1+

  10. alan

    George C. Scott advertised the GTA for Renault back then.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlSrTooyo5c

    Surprisingly this car was brought out while Renault was in negotiations to sell out AMC to Chrysler.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBwSwrhNW9w

    1+

    • AMCFAN

      AMC wasn’t on the market. Chrysler came courting but was refused. It would have never been sold to Chrysler had it not been for the CEO of Renault being gunned down in front of his house. He died before he hit the ground. A very sad end indeed. AMC/Renault as a company was never stronger. I believe the GTA was a start of more interesting things to come. Sadly we will never know.

      1+

  11. Tim Rusling

    We had two first-year [’83] Alliances, both 5-speeds, one two-door, one four. They were great cars and, no, they aren’t homely – just trim and conservatively-styled. Loved them both.

    2+

  12. GP Member

    I had a few of these cars and was happy with all of them. Had good gas mileage and at 150,000 plus, never used any oil. I think this price is good.

    0

  13. Bill T

    I had a 87 GTA Rag top from new. For me it was a cross between a slot car and go cart. Drove it hard and other than having to put tires on it every 12K miles… it served me well until it was time to start a family, then I had to trade it in… (get ready to cringe) on an BRAND NEW EAGLE SUMMIT…I will never forget the look on the dealers face (same dealer I bought the GTA from.. back then Eagle and Renault were under one roof) when I came to trade it in… he shook his head and told me “we all have to grow up someday”. I still miss think about that car from time to time. No matter how hard I would throw it into a corner.. it would not break loose. Did I mention I went through a lot of tires 😉

    4+

  14. Marshall

    Well blow me down! After reading about the positive experiences that some of you previous owners had with these cars, this gives me a new world view of these cars. And that is this,…

    “Just because the 1987 Renault Alliance that I test drove back when it was new had the doorhandle falling off, don’t assume that all these cars are lemons”.

    0

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