4,825 Miles: 1985 AMC Alliance Convertible

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Over the years, there have been no shortage of partnerships concocted between Chysler Corp. and foreign auto brands, usually in response to filling some gap in their product lineup. Like so many domestic manufacturers in the 1980s, AMC didn’t have a suitable small car to respond to the changing behaviors of customers, so it partnered with the French company Renault to quickly introduce a competitive small car – thus was born the AMC Alliance, and you can find this convertible variant with under 5,000 miles here on craigslist for $9,950.

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The Alliance came in a few flavors, but most fulfilled their intended role as basic but capable transportation. Now, I don’t necessarily speak from any experience with reliability in mind, but the editors at the time did find it to be a competitive package. The hot ticket was the GTA model, available in coupe and soft-top form, but this convertible is the more vanilla offering (both literally and figuratively, based on the white-on-white roof/body combo shown here.)

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With low mileage claims, one of the tell-tale signs of authenticity is often the interior. In this instance, it looks as good as you would expect for a car that’s practically new in the wrapper. This Alliance convertible has the added bonus of being a 5-speed, helping to stir that 1.7L fuel-injected four cylinder which became available starting in 1985. That year also saw increased competition with strong compact offerings from the Japanese makes.

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The seller is asking close to $10,000 for this Alliance, which opens the door to numerous compelling project cars. I suppose you could argue that it’s unrepeatable in this form, coupled with an attractive color combination and manual transmission. However, the GTA is the one to get if you’ve had an Alliance on your automotive bucket list – you’ll just be waiting a while to find one as clean as this example. Would you pay the asking price?

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Comments

  1. Bob S

    I had to fix a window track on my friend’s alliance. Worst built car I have touched.

  2. 68 custom

    pity the fool who spends 10 k on that. send it back to France, maybe they can keep one running! :)

    • Squad41

      They were assembled in Kenosha, WI.

      • bingb

        Charlie Nash would be ashamed.

  3. Bob Christiansen

    Why do these flippers leave the car they just bought on the trailer?

    • Steven C

      It drives me totally crazy when they do it, i would never buy a car with pictures still on the flipper trailer.

    • Horse Radish

      It establishes their attitude. :
      Why bother ? , I am kicking it to the curb and if I deliver it for a hefty fee, I don’t have to load it for a second time..

  4. alan

    Alliances were built in the USA not in France. Convertible Alliances were unique to the USA market. I would not pity the fool who spends $10K on it because it would probably not be his first foolish indulgence.

    • 68custom

      But I believe they were engineered by Renault?

      • Kevin

        Exactly. They were built/assembled in the US but all of the engineering and parts were Renault. One of the reasons (among many) they didn’t hang around long after being produced was that the normal US mechanic had difficulties working on them.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        I never buy into that “mechanics had difficulties” cliché (see what I did there ;)?).

        That would imply that mechanics don’t use the repair guides which they certainly do.

        It also implies that every mechanic would be lost every time a new model or engine is released.

        1
  5. dave

    worked on a few of these back when, typical of most smaller euro cars….junk.

  6. Andre

    I had a white GTA , fun little car till you hafta work on it, sold it to a surgeon for 1200 $ , i had it for ten years .I bought it because it was too hard to resist a rust free convertible for $1000. These car are on ebay all day for 400$, regardless of mileage.

  7. Sebastien

    Had one for 10 years and beside bad door handles and window crank handle. never replaced anything on that car….330 000km laters, i sent it to the junk yard after I got rear ended bey a F250….extremely simple and easy to fix.

    1
  8. Squad41

    American Motors was a stand-alone company until 1987. Chrysler has almost nothing to do with the Alliance, as the Alliance died three months after the merger.

  9. Blueprint

    Had a 1987 coupe as a winter beater. Great in snow, terrific heater, great visibility but very poor structure and build quality. The 2 doors and convertibles were engineered by AMC. Mine was a DL with the bigger 1.7 and a slush box. Felt like a Cadillac after 4 winters in a Mazda GLC!

  10. VR LIVES

    I had an1985 Encore that actually served me pretty well. I bought it for my wife for $500.00. It got great mileage, was roomy, and dependable. It was black with a tan interior that overall looked very good. Only problem was living in Michigan, the accelerator linkage would freeze wide open. I had to start it and shift fast and the heat generated would thaw it out. Sold it for the same 500.00, and the wife drove it for two years. Got lucky I guess.

  11. Howard A

    The Alliance was built in Wisconsin. Pretty sure the bodies were made in Milwaukee, and final assembly in Kenosha, like all AMC cars. Like I said on the 1980 AMX thread, there were a lot of disgruntled workers, and I have no proof, but I heard many were sabotaged on the assembly line. My brother had a 2 door Alliance, not sure the model, I do know it was the only car I saw with an oil “level” gauge. I believe it served him well. French designed good cars, and I’d blame the problems on the workers, not the cars so much. Yeah, 10g’s on the Alliance convert. IDK, I suppose, kind of an oddball, and that sells nowadays. Looks like a fun little car.

  12. Ajd0002

    Would like to ask one of those assembly workers……so, how did sabotage and don’t give a crap attitude work out for you

  13. Joe

    What a joke at $9950! Should be banned from Craigslist. Knock off a 9, divide by 3 and you have what this car is worth. Not a flipper—just flipped out. Can we see some cars that might be good or (at least) fair deals rather than wrecks, over-priced/uninteresting orphans and money pits?

    • Howard A

      SHEESH, I think this car IS worth it. Plenty of sites for “trailer queens”, but I’d ADD a digit in the front for them. There’s far worse things that should be banned from CL.

      1
  14. Daymo

    These were based on the European Renault 9/11 range which won the What Car? Car of the Year award back in the early 80’s.
    They were actually quite good cars. I had a R11 (hatchback version of the saloon/sedan R9). Comfortable, reliable and economic, I never had a single problem in 3 years of ownership.
    Actually, I still miss that car!

    1
  15. Jerry Koszut

    Hey, guys… I sold these brand new up in Oregon and if they were properly pre-delivered, they were sweet little cars. The main problem, as it was with all independents was the dealer body. The agency I worked for went by the car when it came to prepping and at the 1k inspection, they re-torqued the cylinder head bolts. My demo, a basic 4dr 1.4 with manual shift got an actual 52 on the highway at the illegal speed of 65 mph, and 36 around town… and if you ever rode in one, you’d be amazed at the ride. Unfortunately, they had a rash of bad computers and that pretty much caused them to fall from favor.

    • Nonya

      65 mph? I test drove a new one. Couldn’t top 60 on a flat highway. Didn’t hang around to find out why.

  16. RJ

    $9,950? That is probably close to twice what this car original sticker price for this car. Seller needs to put down the bottle. That said, my folks bought a slightly used 5 door Encore. This was after they had test drove a new Yugo and the window crank broke off in my dad’s hand during the test drive. The Encore served my folks well for a couple of years. My mother used it to drive over 100+ miles daily to work. It did fantastic in the snow. Which my mother loved most since she was and still is terrified of winter driving. Then the electrical systems started causing little fires here and there and my folks traded it off.

  17. angliagt

    The Alliance was doomed to failure from the beginning –
    A French car,built by Americans,………in Wisconsin.
    A French car owner told me that,when these were
    fairly new,one guy shipped one to France,where they were
    sought after,as they were never sold new there.

  18. Dayv

    I was working on the line at the Kenosha assembly plant when these little things were being built. I remember the rumors that hit the city about a possible convertible within the next year. There was a statement placed in the Kenosha News that said, “We (AMC) have no plans to build a convertible based on the 2 door Alliance. Two weeks later, the first one entered final assembly. I just laughed that the rumor mill was right all along.

    1
    • Jeff

      LOL, sounds like my company back in those days, GTE. “We are not closing this plant” two weeks later everyone gets laid off and the plant closes.

  19. stillrunners

    Yep – it’s cute and has little wear…..just like my ex girlfriend. Was that bad ?

    1
  20. Brian Joseph

    In 1984 I went to my local AMC dealer, the owner urged me to test drive a new alliance. drove it,I was underwhelmed with the performance, and pulled back in the dealership lot,.As I was standing in front of the car, the front windshield rubber moldings started drooping down, stopping when they hit the wipers. The dealers face turned red..what an embarrassing car..an unfortunate time for American motors

  21. Joe F.

    In the late 80’s I flew my family to Visalia, CA in my little Piper and rented an Encore (sister to the Alliance) from the Hertz outlet there and drove into the Sierra and the National Parks with my wife and three kids. We did that twice, renting an Encore each time. The car performed great and had great ride quality even when loaded with five people and daytime picnic gear.

    1
  22. Prowler

    Another weird way to drop the top
    I think this seller will get the money
    If you really had to have one of these and wanted a low mileage example your choices would be pretty limited
    The odd duck market of the car world is starting to show itself and the off beat stuff is finding buyers
    Who ever thought VW buses would be bringing 6 figures

  23. paul lehman

    I have one of these with 160,000 miles on it and it still runs just fine.

    1
  24. Fiete T

    “Kill it with fire…” -I’d second that emotion

  25. Manuel

    USA-built but they were branded Renault, not AMC…

  26. Jeff

    Is the trailer included? The buyer is going to need it.

  27. Joseph Wagner

    This new owner is total Bull Crabber. He probably got it for nothing at an estate sale, then thinks he can have people come running for it in the NON Running condition he got it in. So I called him from his craiglist add,(earlier this year) and “I”asked why a $ 10,000 car which is NOT running needs gasoline and brake work. He get’s all kinds of mad at me , then hangs up the phone. Moral of the story ? Quit buying other people boats because they say it’s rare and valuable. It’s not. Just another money grubbing guy trying to rip someone else off. Not Fair to me, you, or anyone else.

    • Dayv

      Might have been a type-o on the price. He added one too many 9’s there.

  28. Joe

    Overpriced, small market, low parts availability and uninteresting—Doesn’t get much worse than this in the “collector” aka used car market. Don’t need to give more free promotion to junk like this put on the market by small time peddler/flipper.

  29. billspringer

    Got 3 of these all convertibles for less then 5k all ran and one is a GTA if you want one try to find those in convertible now that is rare.

  30. Stephane

    Hi from France, in 2002 i founded the official “renault alliance club passion “, now we have about 75 convertible alliance in France and we are very happy with these cars because here in France they are a true collector , the adventure between renault and AMC was short … i think American owners like cars more strong and with engines more resistant , Alliance is an R9 (made in America)
    many people here ask us (did you cut it yourself?…..) because they never seen an R9 like this …. , here R9/R11 was very popular on the french roads

    1

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