Hog Barn Find! 1987 Renault GTA

Update 2/19/20 – The hog barn GTA is back! After getting bid up to $1,425 the seller has relisted this Renault here on eBay with a $2,500 asking price.

From 1/19/20 – I’m serious, this Renault was found in a hog barn. I’m not sure that I’d advertise that aspect of this performance-oriented Renault but it is what it is and it’s definitely different. So, where does one find such a Cochon’ inspired specimen? Denver, North Carolina would be the locale and it’s available here on eBay for a current bid of $1,026, no reserve, fifteen bids tendered so far.

Many years ago, Renault, domestically, was pronounced with its trailing “T”; in later times, as a good car friend of mine stated, “Renault went upscale so you had to pronounce it as a proper French noun, like Reneau”. Whatever the case, Renault has a storied past with a significant European presence and had a solid foothold in the U.S. at one time. After Chrysler Corp. bought American Motors Corp. in 1987, Renault, which owned about half of AMC, started to slowly disappear from U.S. shores but not before they left the GTA performance coupe behind. The GTA was based on the “Alliance” model but had very sporting intentions. Production of the GTA was limited to model year 1987 and produced in both sedan and convertible form. Colors were limited to white, black, red and silver and GTA’s were further identified by ground effects with wider wheels and tires, among other features.

One of the unique features of the GTA was the 2.0 liter, four-cylinder, in-line, fuel-injected engine delivering 95 HP. The seller of this example tells us, “The car ran when parked, and the motor does turn over with a battery but does not have spark. It will need to be gone over/need a good tune-up before it can go back on the road.” Hmm… the old “ran when it was parked” story. All GTA’s came equipped with a close-ratio five-speed manual transaxle, 50 series tires and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, which the seller asserts in this case, are original.

The body and finish of this Renault have held up well; 25 years in a hog barn seems to have been to this GTA’s liking. There is no obvious corrosion, though I’d recommend checking out the underside considering where it has been stored. Additionally, there is no indication of collision damage either. The ground effects, which frequently are the first thing on a performance vehicle to take it on the chin, are intact and not cracked, at least according to the accompanying images. The seller references some surface rust present in the trunk but it looks just like that, surface rust and not the invasive type of surface rust.

The interior looks about how you would expect for a car of this age and mileage, a bit of wear but nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not sure why there are wires protruding from the right side of the steering column, a broken-off windshield wiper stalk perhaps? The grey fabric seats seem to be in nice, clean condition as well as designed ergonomically for spirited driving.

This GTA reminds me of Volkswagen’s GTI of the era or perhaps the Peugeot 205 GTI; small, taut coupes/hatchbacks with good balance and power to weight; fun cars with aggressive road manners. The seller tells us that this GTA is a lifelong southern driven car alluding to the absence of road salt or adverse environmental conditions that are the bane of so many old cars. There are 98K miles on the odometer so there is obviously going to be wear but other than the non-starting issue, it doesn’t seem that this Renault would need a lot of attention to become roadworthy again. The biggest concern at this point may be parts availability along with loss of Renault institutional knowledge. Six more days to go on bidding, but it’s only at $1,026; it seems like even with some continual upside in the bid, it could still be a good buy don’t you think?

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  1. Howard A Member

    Um, Scotty G’s? His was a lot nicer, but what are the chances?

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard. I don’t think that’s my old one, or I hope it isn’t.

      They’re fun little cars. This one appears to be missing the little plastic grommet pieces that surround the seatback levers to tilt the front seats back out of the way so passengers can get into the rear seat. Those little parts can be almost impossible to find – as well as the missing wheel cap on the right-front wheel. And, trying to find door panels to get rid of the _____ speakers in the doors won’t be easy. I’ll never understand cutting into door panels like that but to each his/her own. Nice write-up, Jim!

  2. Coventrycat

    Well, if you’re looking for a pig, that’s where to find them. Looks like a good un’

  3. Mitch Ross

    They would have sold much better if they used the Encore(R11) as a base rather than the boxy Alliance. Just one more in the long line of mistakes made by Renault and AMC with these cars

  4. JCA

    Lipstick on a pig…literally

  5. Snafuracer

    My Dad test drove one when they were new. Really FUN cars to drive and the handling was amazing! Would love to have one of these just for the hell of it. An Alliance or Encore? No thanks!

  6. Dave

    First thing I thought of were the lyrics to “Convoy”. After 25 years in a hog barn that smell is pretty much embedded into everything.
    On the other hand, if you own a hog farm or work at a wastewater treatment plant this car might be a great deal.

  7. CanuckCarGuy

    My first thought was, smell it before bidding…that smell ain’t coming out.

    • Del

      One Canuck to another…I agree

  8. Classic Steel

    This lil piggy 🐷 went to market and this car staid in the barn till one day someone left the barn door open .
    All I re-know is this was never a popular car.

  9. Classic Steel

    This lil piggy 🐷 went to market and this car staid in the barn until one day someone left the barn door open .
    All I re-know is this was never a popular
    car but looks fun to drive and smoke the bacon.

  10. H5mind

    I bought a red one for $150 twenty years ago which had been T-boned in the drivers door jamb. A few pulls from a come-along and the door closed fine. Very fun to drive and best handling FWD vehicle I have owned. Those 50-Series tires were very exotic for the time. Shame they only made them one year. Hopefully this one doesn’t need a computer- those French electronics can react poorly to a jump.

  11. Steve Bush Member

    Sadly, although the GTAs looked hot, they were, like most Renaults, poorly assembled and unreliable. Car and Driver, in apologizing several years later for including the Alliance in it’s 10 Best in 1983 wrote; “The Alliance proved that Wisconsin workers could assemble a Renault with the same indifference to quality that was a hallmark of the French automotive industry. By the late ’80s, the sight of rusted Alliances abandoned alongside America’s roads was so common that their resale value had dropped to nearly zero.”

    • Michael Leyshon Member

      1984 Motor Trend “Car of the Year”…(Encore?) Visit your local AMC/Jeep/Renault dealer today !!!

    • Howard A Member

      Well, C&D can cram it with walnuts. I knew several people that had Alliances and Encores, even a Fuego, and they were all good cars. The quality control problems, allegedly came from disgruntled workers that knew the end was near. Those same workers assembled AMC’s for years, and they were proud of it. Some French car, not so much.

      • AMCFAN

        Agree Howard. Have had many. Interesting the owners manual was a mini service manual. Would show how to service the transaxle. Change oil and all the things needed. If one actually read it car would last.

        My 1.7 convert had a built in oil level gauge on the dash. Seats would go up and back but would also rock on it’s axis. Lots of quirky but cool features.Very comfortable driving car that got fantastic fuel economy.

        Had a buddy put on a new top and custom paint it. Had a set of Prime wheels. Most likely one of the best looking Renaults. Had it as a third car. Traded it off in 1997 for of all things a restored 65 Mustang. Yeah, It was that nice. Still miss the Alliance.

    • Stilbo

      The Encore and Alliance had only been out for maybe six months and I hadn’t read much about them but I test drove one and thought it was pretty good.. Unfortunately new ones off of the dealer lots made it ALL the way off of the lots after the buyer signed the paperwork.
      My next door neighbor knew that I was a motor head and asked me if I knew of a small economy car that would be a good pick for her to buy for her daughter and I suggested an Alliance.
      The daughter immediately moved 1,000 miles west to the left coast.
      Thank god..
      Her mom moved to Mexico a month later.
      Thank god again.

  12. Del

    No. its not a Good buy.

    Hogs are Beautiful tho

  13. Michael L Gregory

    My first brand-new car was an ’84 Alliance. I could only afford the base model, but I tricked it out with some semi-flat black louvers and the rear trim stripe like the fancier models had. I also painted the wheels the same white as the body and put white-letter tires. She looked pretty good. You still couldn’t pass anyone on the highway without lots of prayer and going downhill, but it was still better than my mid-sixties VW’s in that respect. These cars were fun to drive and got great gas mileage. I maintained mine myself, so after a couple of years it was still like brand-new, but it still depreciated at an alarming rate. I remember driving through a small town in Oklahoma a few years later where it looked like they had assembled every Alliance in America at a salvage yard. I had mine four years and never regretted buying it until it was time to sell. I always wanted the convertible version, though. Still wouldn’t mind having one.

  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    It’s been sitting in a barn since ’94, turns over with a battery but has no spark.

    It’s going to need more than just spark to get it to go.

  15. Bob C.

    Franco American, uh oh Spaghetti O’s.

  16. AMCFAN

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news here. If this is a no start it is most likely the timing belt or the computer. Both are a deal breaker.

    This is a one year 2.0 limited production engine = unobtanum and a Renault. Sad I have had a few and enjoy them but for someone on the outside trying to get in would be almost impossible.

    Getting JDM parts are easier and that is difficult but there is the USA, Japan and the UK sources.

    Parts car

  17. JimB

    I owned a 1985 Renault Encore with the 1.4L four and a four-speed manual. It was a fun little car for the 165,000 miles that I owned it. I sold it to a mechanic at the AMC dealer for $500. From what I heard, the 1.7L and 2L engines were practically bullet proof (The 1.4L ones needed a lot of service to make it to 165,000. I did most of it myself) . So were the transmissions. As someone pointed out, getting parts for these cars in the US can be extremely difficult. I heard a rumor that most of the Alliance convertibles were shipped to the south of France (Nice, France) after the original American owners traded them. If that’s true, then I would imagine most of the GTAs got shipped there too. The owner may have an easier time selling it by posting it on a French website.

  18. Michael

    I think this is a $1,250 car at best. The guy should have sold it for the high bid. Because that price illustrates how much people are willing to pay for this .

  19. Ryan Hilkemann

    I like that 65 ford truck in the background better than the car.

  20. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Makes sense. Bid up to $1425, so ask $2500.
    Quickest sale on EBay – ever.


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