France’s Answer to the 911: 1987 Renault Alpine GTA Turbo

If you’re a weirdo like me, then you go out of your way to seek out the most bizarre and unique cars you can find. Corvettes and Mustangs are boring; they’re everywhere. DeLoreans are cool, but they’re so mainstream. What you need, fellow kindred spirit, is this 1987 Renault Alpine GTA Turbo. A large (by European standards) sport coupe, powered by a rear-mounted turbocharged V-6 engine driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Equipped with a racing pedigree from its ancestors, this Alpine is sure to provide a fun experience even just going grocery shopping. You can find it here on eBay.

You can, indeed, take it grocery shopping, if that’s what you’d want to do with an Alpine. It’s got plenty of storage space in the front trunk, a functional back seat, and a decently-sized parcel shelf under the glass rear hatch. Whether or not you’d actually want to store anything above a hot engine is up to you, but you are left with the option, should you so desire. Speaking of inside, the interior is remarkably well-kept. There is some noticeable wear on the driver’s seat, but nothing out of the ordinary for a car from 1987. Everything else is in good shape.

Come to think of it, the whole car is in good shape. Underneath, that rear-engine rear-wheel drive layout leaves nothing mechanical that’s really needed on the undercarriage, so you’re left with a large, aerodynamically-friendly flat panel between the axles. There is no noticeable damage or wear, and everything looks clean and free of any grime. The seller states it runs as well as it looks, too, so barring any unexpected mishaps, you should be getting a pretty decent runner for your money.

You’re pushed from a standstill by a 2.5-liter Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) V-6 engine. Related to what was powering the DeLorean, among dozens of other cars, but this Alpine benefitted from the extra oomph afforded by a turbocharger. Undoubtedly, being from the eighties, you’re going to have some turbo lag when you put your foot down, but that’s what makes it interesting. Few countries produce as many quirky cars as France, and fewer still have a respectable racing pedigree to back them up. This Alpine is the best of both worlds; it gives you something unique to show off to your neighbors, while also giving something you can accurately race against that other European rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, turbocharged, six-cylinder sport coupe: the 911.

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Cool car! I saw TWO of them at Duncan Imports
    in Christiansburg,VA.

    http://www.duncanimports.com

    Like 4
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I would love to go and browse their inventory some day.

  2. Alan Brase

    I think the Alpine turbo engine is actually quite a bit different from the PRV engine used in 604’s and Deloreans. All are 90 degree V-6’s but I think the Alpine one is even fire and got a splayed journal crank to get this even firing. Pretty neat engine, but the only one in town for most people.

    Like 5
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Looks more like a 924 or 944 killer than a 911 competitor. Cool car but I’d hate to have to chase an engine piece for it

    Like 3
  4. Peter k

    The Volvo v-6 motor is notorious gor failing. When they ran they ran great, when they broke is is big bucks. If I bought this car I would replace the engine with something from Subaru or Toyota. Then it would be a screamer.

    Like 5
    • Terrry

      That’s one of the reasons they didn’t “turbo” the ones used in the DeLorean. If not for “Back To The Future” and Johnny’s cocaine habit, that car would be long forgotten.

      Like 2
    • Leslie Martin Member

      My Mother was on her 4th Volvo when she traded her last 244 in on a beautiful fully loaded 1978 264 sedan with a 2.6L PRV engine. What a nightmare! After multiple induction and ignition failures that stumped the dealers techs, she took the almost new car to her trusted Volvo mechanic Sven (yes, really and yes he was a Swede). Sven summarily rolled his eyes and told her to get the dealer to buy it back. That engine was so bad compared to the Volvo I4s that came before and after it, it was obscene. Not only did the inherent uneven firing of the 90° V6 cause it to vibrate noticably, the fuel mileage was much worse than a 4 banger or any comparable V6 of the day. When Sven told my Father the Engineer that he’d have to grind the pushrods down to adjust valve timing, that was the last straw. The 264 got traded on a Mercedes C class the next week.

      The Alpine is a sexy car, and not something your going to see at evey cars and coffee. It reeks of 80s Euro cool. But the only thing I can think of to make a PRV V6 worse is to Turbo it. Whoever buys this car is going to want to swap the Engine day 1 or find two or three parts engines and a really good mechanic.

      Like 2
    • Jörgen Lundin

      Volvo’s engine and Renaults are not at all the same. really just the block that is common. Volvo’s problem was that it had a crossbeam that created two compartments in the oil sump. The oil pump had problems raising the oil pressure. So you do not have to worry about a bad machine in the Alpine.

      Like 1
  5. Terrry

    Finally! A “Barn Finds” that isn’t a Mustang, Camaro, Corvette or GTO, or a hopeless rusty lump of scrap. This car is interesting and would make a nice addition to one’s garage. My only worry would be parts availability, but who cares? You’d be the only person on the block to have one.

    Like 5
  6. Araknid78

    Item location:
    Fenton, Missouri

    Like 2
  7. John E. Klintz

    Agreed with Peter k; replace it with a Subaru flat 6. A V-6 is unbalanced to begin with, and even worse if configured as a 90-degree “V”. These engines literally tore themselves apart from the inside out. I had experience with Peugeots in the ’80s; their turbo four ran MUCH better than the V-6. Even Benz learned this lesson which is why they had to put dual balance shafts on their V-6 to get it to run half-way smoothly. They finally got smart and went back to an inline 6; inherently balanced, as is a flat six.

    Like 1
  8. Gerard Frederick

    Beautiful car, too bad it had such a lousy engine. It seems some manufacturers, no matter how hard they try, simply never – or I should say rarely – get it right.

    Like 2
  9. Kenn

    Help me out here. If V-6 engines are so prone to self-destruct, why are so many, many vehicles today powered by them?

    Like 3
    • John E. Klintz

      Please forgive; during my career in the auto industry I was a technical instructor for some years and I revert to that mode occasionally. All Current V-6 engines, to my knowledge, are built on a 60 degree angle, helping them to run somewhat more smoothly. They work okay in crossover vehicles which are currently dominating the market. Some have computer-controlled engine mounts to help mitigate the vibrations. I don’t like the noises they make and I can still feel the vibrations from them; IMO they are NOT performance or luxury engines and never will be. In my response, however, I was specifically referring to the PRV V-6, a 90 degree design, which vibrated and made significant unpleasant noises. Most of the higher-end manufacturers currently are switching to in-line sixes, including Mazda! I commend Porsche and Subaru (and Honda motorcycles) for sticking to their flat sixes; inherently balanced, and the vibration-canceling effect of the “boxer” design.

      Like 4
      • NHDave

        To supplement Mr. Klintz’s reply, and a further point for Kenn, one thing a V6 has over the inherently smoother inline-6 is packaging size. The engine compartment space needed for a V6, especially when mounted transversely for a front-wheel drive layout, is less than is typically required for an inline-6. That contributes to greater space efficiency/smaller vehicle dimensions and, potentially, increased passenger space.

        Like 2
      • Alan Brase

        Well, not quite current, but Audi 5 valve V6’s were 90 degree, pretty sure, like the 2.7 twin turbo and the 3.0 NA. I have a 2002 2.7, but never worked on it much. It is redlined pretty low, but makes 270hp about 5500rpm. Doesn’t beat itself apart.
        FWIW, some Ferrari V6’s were 65 degree vees. HUH?
        But like I said pretty sure the Alpine motor is NOT a normal PRV, but rather even fire. Finding parts motor involves parlez Francais.

  10. Derek

    I still have a brochure for this car…!

    Like 2
  11. Jcs

    Interesting car indeed.

    Appears that it is wrapped rather than painted. Always a ?? in my mind.

  12. John E. Klintz

    Exactly, NHDave, which is why they end up mounted transversely in crossover vehicles. While working in the industry I drove my share of crossovers which is why, as a driver, they cause a big yawn to come over me now. The only V-6 that was balanced was the VW VR-6; 15 degree angle and single cylinder head. Subaru has the best idea for crossover engines; a flat six mounted longitudinally. Equal-length half-shafts and virtually no torque steer.

    Like 1
  13. chrlsful

    like most french women some quirks but look good
    (NormanFrankish after all ~

  14. vlrd56

    I owned a Renault 25 V6 turbo which shares the same engine in a sedan .Even in France,expensive car to maintain ,they were the firsts cars with électronic and a lady’s voice to remember you to fast your belt .This car was excellent on highways,very powerful with a top speed at 235 km/h and always torque .The gear box broke at 70 000 km
    End of the story

    Like 1
  15. Philip Lepel

    On many ways i believe this very car inspired the euro look design of the Ford fox body from 79- 92

    • Mike Hawke

      Absolutely not. The GTA didn’t even come out until 1985. Interestingly, I remember Motor Trend and other monthly magazines writing that the GTA would be sold in the USA. At the time, Renault controlled AMC and Americans were offered the awesome Renault Appliance, a big competitor to the Yugo.

  16. HERVE GRUYER

    Many comments about the PRV in the Volvos, their issues and the uneven firing, but the engine in this car is completely different : this was the first PRV to be EVEN-FIRE with split crankpins, a different displacement, a turbo : to reminder the French were precursors in this field, different injection and ignition too.
    The PRV first versions were disappointing but it was a motor that was gradually improved. As for the performance, the power drawn from this V6 was up to 400 horses in a street car, the Venturi 400, and more than 600hp in race cars.

    Like 1
  17. Araknid78

    Ended:
    Jul 19, 2021
    Current bid:
    US $18,100.00
    [ 34 bids ]

    Reserve not met

  18. Alan Brase

    Not even 1/4 what it should go for. This thing is in a league with a Ferrari Dino. 206 Dino. ANYTHING Renault Alpine is a VERY big deal. I’d guess Alpine has more place wins at LeMans than any but 3 other marques:Porsche, Ferrari, (not sure of #3).

  19. Araknid78

    Car has been relisted

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/234097192150?hash=item368147acd6:g:h1IAAOSwybhg6K5J

    Current bid:US $16,600.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 13 bids ]

    • t-bone BOB

      Ended: Jul 27, 2021 , 11:30AM
      Current bid:US $17,199.00
      [ 16 bids ]
      reserve no met

  20. Gerard Frederick

    ok Al, point well taken – I stand corrected. Cheers and Beers, Ger

  21. Alan Brase

    Please understand, I don’t love the way it looks. I guess if you liked Citroen Cx, maybe this might look good, but Alpine has racing DNA, One year they beat Porsche OUTRIGHT at LeMans. Beat Porsche 936. that’s the 917 successor, more modern car. And everything others say about the PRV engine is true, they just never got the bugs worked out. But this one is an ALPINE. I suspect not a SINGLE part fits the sedan/ Delorean motor. Probably the crankcase casting mold is the same, but different cores.
    I’d still rather have either the 206 Dino or a 246 Dino. A 206 Dino is a half million dollar car at this point. Shoulda bought the 206 I looked at 40 years ago.

  22. HERVE GRUYER

    Sure Alpine has a true racing pedigree, but Alpine became a Renault subsidiary in 1973, and the 1978 LeMans winner was more a Renault than an Alpine. The best racing achievment of Alpine are rather all the Alpine A110 rally victories.

    • Alan Brase

      Certainly. I do not love this car, but Alpine has a pretty strong history and that engine even is well race proven. NOT a subject for putting a Subaru engine in it!

      Like 1
  23. Araknid78

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