EXCLUSIVE: Scotty’s 1987 Renault GTA Survivor!

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It’s always a sad day when a person decides to sell a vehicle, especially when it’s been trouble-free and is fun to drive. Such is the case with my beloved 1987 Renault GTA. This is a fantastic little car but it’s like a rabbit farm over here and I think my cars may be multiplying without my knowledge. I have too many vehicles and with a remodeling project looming, it makes sense to set a couple’three of them free so others can enjoy them.

I have only had this GTA for a couple of years, and I never knew that I wanted one until our own Jeff Lavery wrote about one and then I wrote about one and then I was hooked. The sad reality is that I’m somewhat of a car hoarder, there I said it. I see something that I like, I buy it, and then proceed to not really drive it that much and squirrel it away into a storage unit on a trickle-charger “in case” I want to drive it but I never do because I’m busier’n a (insert un-pc phrase here) from early-spring until late-fall and I don’t drive them in the winter, so they sit, and I keep paying those big monthly storage fees for cars that I don’t even use but just in case I want to someday. CCR said it best, “Some-dayyyyeeeeeeeayyy never comes..”

You can see how nice this car is in the photos and it’s even nicer in person. I wrote about this one in the fall of 2017 here on Barn Finds and I have driven it locally quite a few times but never really had the time to take it on a road trip or really enjoy it. Now that we’re building a new garage, I need to free up a double storage unit. There are a couple of small spots on the body that are curious, one is above the battery on the hood like someone forgot a tool on the top of the battery and closed the hood, and another one is a weird spot above the passenger side door handle. That’s a weird one as there is no rust on this car that I can see anywhere top or bottom.

The interior is just as nice as the exterior is other than a small hole in the driver’s side carpet under the floor mat from shifting, I’m assuming. I spent $1,100 at my favorite upholstery shop to have the bottom of the driver’s seat fixed as it had a cigarette burn hole in it. It looks like new now as does the passenger seat the back seat. They also put a new headliner in it because the old one’s adhesive had given way and it was annoying to have it hitting your head as you drove it. They also made a new trunk liner board and added some nice trunk carpet. It runs, drives, and stops perfectly and it’s really a fun car to drive, if not the fastest one in the stable.

The 2.0L inline-four runs like a champ and even though the previous owner put a new timing belt in it, I ordered a new one along with two pulleys and was going to attempt to do that or bring it in to have it done, just to make sure. I literally don’t have the time to tear the engine down (it’s reportedly around an 8-hour job for a newbie) and spending $800+ to have a shop do the work doesn’t make sense since I’m already in the car for over its book value. I also ordered a new turn signal cam for the steering wheel hub (one of the blinkers doesn’t turn off) and a new air filter which I do have time for, but I’m leaving all of those new parts ($80) in a box for the next owner to tinker with them. It really has been a great car and, as they say, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast and this is a fun car to drive, especially on corners. Give me a shout if you have any questions via the comments section! I’d like to get $3,700 and you can send offers/questions here via email.

  • Asking Price: $3,700
  • Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Mileage: 132,200
  • Title Status: Clean

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie PalmerStaff

    Oh for some more time and money. Sigh. Good luck with the sale, Scotty!!!!

    Like 6
  2. CCFisher

    “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast” is a myth invented by the same people who invented “size doesn’t matter” and “it happens to everyone.”

    Now, excuse me while I go have some real fun in my Mustang GT.

    Like 6
    • Jeff LaveryStaff

      Ahh, yes, “real fun in my Mustang GT,” brought to you by the same people who think real racing only goes in circles and straight line speed is the ultimate yard stick of a vehicle’s merits.

      Not that it matters, but the seller dailies a monstrous Porsche Cayenne Turbo that would give most Mustangs a run for their money in the quarter and outhandle it in the twisties, even at maximum ride height.

      Please refrain from thread-crapping someone’s listing. He wouldn’t do it to you, so I’m not sure why you felt compelled to launch an unprovoked attack on a listing belonging to one of this very website’s editors.


      Like 40
      • HoA Rube GoldbergMember

        Bound to happen on an unmoderated forum,,,

        Like 5
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie PalmerStaff

      Seriously? CC, there’s room for both in my world (I drove my 2013 Boss 302 to work yesterday after driving my Fiat 500 Abarth the day before). It’s a shame you close off so many wonderful driving experiences to yourself! I can have equal fun driving my 1967 1147cc Triumph Spitfire as I do in the Boss — it’s different experiences, sure, but there are wonders in both!

      Like 18
      • HoA Rube GoldbergMember

        I wouldn’t be too hard on ol’ CC, we are still entitled to our opinion here, at least I think. Fun is a relative term, and someone like CC, who has fun with their Mustang, wouldn’t look once at this car, except maybe in their rear view mirror, nor would they enjoy your 1147cc Spitfire. ( I would) To be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t grown up in Milwaukee, ( and watched AMC fade) I probably wouldn’t look at it either. Alliance/GTA was a regional thing, we, in Wisconsin, bought these out of pity, and anybody who was there, knows this is a pretty rare car, regardless of who might enjoy it today. That’s the allure here, not to sway Mustang owners to buy it. Try and find another, especially in this shape. I know for a fact, Scotty has no junk, he’s too nice a guy!

        Like 3
    • grant

      It IS more fun to drive a slow car fast, you actually have to drive the damn things to get any performance out of it.

      Like 16
      • Bobinott

        Plus you get to drive like you are in a race, without attracting any “unwanted” attention.

        Like 4
      • carbuzzardMember

        I had a Hellcat Challenger for a week, and I can count on one hand how many times I got to really open it up. On the other hand, I’m full throttle on my ’90 Miata all the time, and since I live in an area with hilly winding roads, yeah, the nimble Miata is a lot more fun to drive than a great chuffing Challenger.

        That said, take your GTA to a cars & coffee, and I’ll bet it gets as much attention as the Mustang GT it’s parked next to…although a Mustang GT really is rather common…

        Like 2
  3. Todd FitchStaff

    +20% at least for celebrity ownership! To echo Jeff’s thoughts I have (cough cough) multiple cars and drive them all to work occasionally over a favorite twisty road. A couple, including a V8 Mustang, can’t be floored for more than 2 seconds or so on that road without reaching foolhardy speeds, but the least powerful ones, even my 5-speed TJ, reward smooth driving and conservation of momentum, making the drive more entertaining at legal speeds, and frustrating drivers of faster machinery on that road while driving something like a TJ is even more fun. So in that sense I agree that “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast.” Just my opinion, though. Good luck with the sale, Scotty!

    Like 11
  4. Neil

    If only I could…I’ve always wanted one of those. I love the body lines on the GTA versions. I’m about $1800 short of the asking price and wont insult you with a low ball offer. The car looks exceptionally clean and should sell quickly. Good luck! And yes it is more fun to drive a slow car fast because the slightest amount of speed your scrub off is lost forever since you dont have the power to offset your mistakes.

    Like 2
  5. HoA Rube GoldbergMember

    It’s a sad day when you see one of your good friends sell a car, especially, a car that made the owner happy when it was bought. One of the good things about having a BF’s writer sell a vehicle, it’s going to be the best darn description known to man. So much has been said about these, and the Alliance. I know Scotty liked the car mostly for that reason, the end of one of the greatest American car companies and his favorite, AMC. I was offered the car 1st, but Scotty knows my situation and can’t do it. Coming from Wis. the Alliance was an ok car, certainly not any worse than any other econobox at the time, my brother had one, never let him down. What’s neat about this car, my brothers Alliance was as basic as a toaster, but this has some zing to it. Not enough to save an entire car company, but a significant car, none the less. If you have a flair for the unusual, and sporty, can’t go wrong here.

    Like 7
  6. CanuckCarGuy

    Beautiful car, for me the GTA was love at first sight…there’s something very appealing in its lines when married with the sport cladding, and it’s also one of the more tastefully done monochromatic cars IMHO. Very cool and sure to turn heads.

    Like 5
  7. James Schwartz

    I had a GTA Convertible in black, and it was a really fun car to drive. Surprisingly good handling for what most considered to be an “economy” car. I’d certainly own one again if the right deal came up, and I happen to be only 20 minutes away from this one……..so maybe???

    Like 2
    • HoA Rube GoldbergMember

      Scotty goes overboard when it comes to having a car right, he repairs things most sellers wouldn’t, because he doesn’t want the next buyer stuck. He’s not out to gouge someone either, which is refreshing in today’s market. Give him a holler, I don’t know what he has into this, but give him a shout, you never know, plus being so close, he’d probably deliver it, saving hundreds right there.

      Like 2
  8. scottymac

    One has to wonder if the fate of AMC/Renault would have played out differently if this model (at least the 2.0 liter engine) had been offered at the beginning of Alliance sales rather than towards the end, showing Americans fun CAN be had in smaller cars. The 1.4 liter engine was a miscalculation of our market, even as a price leader, Americans don’t have the concern of Europeans’ gas taxes. Ford North America made a similar mistake with the Contour/Mystique (Mondeo for Euro readers). I mean, come on, my Escort had more interior room. Despite the companies striving to build a world car, the two markets are distinctly different in the expectations from their cars.

    Like 1
  9. eastlex91

    I had a 1.7L Alliance in college and grad school. I drove the snot out of it and it never complained. Still to this day, the most comfortable seats I have ever expereinced in a car. Drove it through snow and passed stuck Jeeps – yes, really. I have fond memories of my old Alliance and always loved the styling of the GTA especially. If you drove these cars the way the French intended, and did the regular maintenance, they were fun and reliable. Mine also had over 130,000 miles on it when I sold it to a mechanic friend. If I lived closer, I would snap this up in a heartbeat and give it a good home!

    Like 1
  10. Daymo

    Find a Turbo engine from a European Renault 9, as they were here, or the 11 (same car with a hatchback) and fit that. If you want smiles for your miles… Or maybe even the engine from the R21 Turbo, If you can find one…

    Like 1
  11. JC

    Finding someone to competently work on a Renault where I live is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack… never happen.

    Like 1
  12. FlyingDrumstick

    Fun Alliance facts, Alliance had their own spec pro cup series for several years here in the states. SCCA also developed the Sports Renault Spec Racer that ran the 1.7L version of this motor. Those motors while not powerful were smooth and took tons of abuse. Both series were tons of fun with exceptionally close racing.

    Like 1
  13. eastlex91

    FlyingDrumstick: I forgot about that! And I actually drove one of those spec racers on a track once with the 1.7L Renault engine – as I recall, they had a higher redline than the street tuned versions. The fact that those engines could withstand track abuse speaks highly of their overall design.

    Like 1
  14. Ted

    AARGHHH………Why is it the cool and nicely priced cars are always a million miles away from White Rock BC?

    Darn you car seller peoples, can’t we have some cake for sale in WA or OR for a change? ;)

    GLWTS Scotty, this shouldn’t take long to unload….

    Like 2
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Ted, I got this car in Portland and paid $700 to ship it back to Minnesota! The Pacific NW is my favorite/favourite place to find vehicles, they aren’t rusty and they aren’t burnt to a crisp like desert cars can be. You can always make an offer… you never know, I hear that he’s a motivated seller.

      Thanks to all of you for the great comments!

      Like 2
  15. Don nunez

    Shouldn’t have sold it!

    Like 3
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      DON!!! Say the word and it’s on a trailer headed back to your garage. It’s because of you that it’s so nice, I just put some money into the interior and trunk, that’s about it. It literally could not run and work better than it does, it’s a fantastic car.

      Like 2
  16. Chris B

    This car still for sale?

    Like 0

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