Nicest One Left? 1984 Renault Fuego

I remember an old Jay Leno bit about GM naming their electric car the Impact and how that name maybe hadn’t been thought through too well. Some could say the same thing about the Fuego which means fire in Spanish. Cars and fire rarely go well together. I get what the marketing department was going for as this 1984 Renault Fuego is pretty hot. It’s listed here on eBay in Flanders, New Jersey and the bid is just over $1,400 and there is no reserve! That’s hot.

We have seen a few Fuegos over the years here on Barn Finds and they’re always interesting to see. Other than AMC, we didn’t really have wacky cars like a bubble-back Fuego here, at least ones made by American manufactures. The AMC Pacer may be as close as we got, other than the Aerocoupe Grand Prix or Monte Carlo maybe, but those were more on the normal side.

What isn’t normal is seeing a pair of aftermarket chrome extenders on a dual exhaust system for a Fuego?! Sacrebleu! This car was for sale back in 2018 according to the 8th wonder of the world: Google. I saw one other Fuego with dual exhaust and it’s sort of cool but I’d want to at least cut those back a bit, I’m not a fan of that look on anything but a V8 pickup, and even then I’m not. This car looks great, though, I don’t really see a flaw anywhere on the exterior.

The interior looks similarly nice and this one comes with a CB radio. I can’t imagine anyone actually using it but it’s unique none the less. The back seat, cargo area, and headliner all look like new, and the underside looks rock solid. US buyers could nab up a Fuego at their neighborhood AMC dealer in 1982 and until 1985. These cars had quite a few firsts, such as being the fastest diesel vehicle in 1982, it had the first use of keyless remote entry, and it was the first four-seat sports car designed using a wind tunnel.

This engine isn’t the 1.6L turbo which actually had fewer horsepower, oddly. This is a 2.2L inline-four with around 114 horsepower. This one runs and drives well and is up to date as far as the fluids go. They say that all major electrical components work. The only Renault that I have ever owned was a 1987 Renault GTA, that was a really nice car. Have any of you owned a Fuego?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I swear, you hang out here long enough, every car ever created will show up. In the mid-80’s, another driver at a company I worked for had this car, only more red. His license plate read “IMRACY”. I rode in it a couple times, didn’t strike me as anything special. It did have cushy seats, and probably the sportiest of the Renault/AMC’s. I’d have to think parts today would be a nightmare, and probably a car AMC fans would like to forget. For us, it was the bottom of the barrel. Shame, I think they were okay cars. Didn’t have a prayer here.

    Like 3
    • Superdessucke

      I bet he got a lot of offers to see what he was made of with that kind of a plate. And with a 0-60 time of 14.2 seconds, his self esteem might not have survived, unless he had a turbo model.

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Nah, no turbo, and he was kind of a doofus, but I worked there 3 years, and he made it to work everyday, and we had some wicked winters in the 80’s. These were the cars people loved to hate, but IDK, my brother had an Alliance, and it was an okay car, certainly not the “Yugo” status most people put on these cars. People can bellyache all they want, but it kept a lot of folks working in Wis. at an uncertain time. We knew the end was near, but this car kind of gave folks a little time,( not that they listened, union crybabies milked it to the bitter end) rather than pulling the plug all at once.

        Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        Maybe he was an early hipster with a strong sense of irony. Anyway, the Fuego was built in France and was a very popular in Europe. It was sold here from 1982-85. The Allliance (and Encore) was a joint venture between AMC and Renault and was built in Wisconsin. The cars were not related.

        Like 1
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    A lady I worked with bought a Fuego new.
    She had an accident,& told me that there was something
    like 28 bolts holding the front spoiler on.

    Like 2
    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      I had a very serious accident in one too. I lived, my brother and his friend too but it could have been a lot worse. Brakes failed and hit a huge tree at 30mph. The car has been in for new brakes with Renault that morning.
      Engine came through the dashboard.

      Like 2
  3. 370zpp

    Sorry, but this car, like the Encores, Alliances, Yugos, Chevettes and yes PT Cruisers, for me all simply come under the heading of; Who cares?

    Like 6
    • Jim

      I care…..they’re all a part of automotive history. How many Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes can one look at after all????

      Like 7
  4. MoragaPulsar

    I care about cars of all types, even ones that I may or may not want to buy. Thank you for posting interesting and rare vehicles.

    Like 27
    • Superdessucke

      Agreed, I cancelled my subscription to Hemmings’ Musclecars after they stopped featuring ’80s cars. Too many readers complained so they stopped. I mean, how many ’69 Camaros and Chevelles can you read about, sheesh.

      This Renault Fuego was a rather, shall we say, underwhelming car, but it’s cool to see one. So I agree, keep it up!

      Like 19
  5. Mark

    I owned one. Bought it brand new for my mother in 1984 on the same day that I upgraded from my VW Rabbit Carbureted L Model to a Wolfsburg VW Sirocco. The Feugo was not a bad car, actually, quite luxurious. No major problems. Really soft handling, long shifts offset by that full fold back roof. I’d actually like to buy this one for memories only.

    Like 1
  6. irocrobb

    I really enjoy seeing cars like this as well. I remember seeing them on the road when they were almost new. As I recall they did rust fairly quickly in our snowbelt. It would be a cool car to own and I doubt it will hit 2500 bucks

    Like 7
  7. Doyler

    I grew up in Ireland in the 80s. As a kid, I’d see these occasionally, and I loved them. They just looked so sport and modern compared to all the other pieces of rusty crap on the road that you can expect and see from a country that is borderline 3rd world and almost bankrupt.

    That said, it was owned by a Christian Brother in my local primary school. It did not match the profession…

    Like 5
  8. Jasper

    Screw the haters. Neat car. Designed by Robert Opron, designer of the groundbreaking and unconventional Citroens.

    Lose the deely bobber foglights and the dual exhaust. Find a set of Cibies and something a little more Pacesetter-like for the exhaust. Oh and some mesh basket weave wheels…the devil’s in the details!

    My cousin, a muscle car guy and drag racer, had one with a Turbo and wired up wastegate as a beater. He was always extremely hard on his cars, and spoke highly of the Fuego until he blew up the transaxle flogging it. He replaced it with one out of an 18i, but the ratios were all wrong and it wasn’t as much fun after that.

    Like 6
  9. That AMC Guy

    The book “The Last American CEO” by Jason Vines and Joe Cappy tells the story of what a disaster this car was for AMC. The Fuego had severe electrical problems that would leave them dead on the side of the road at random, and at least at the time the factory could not find the cause in order to fix it.

    Renault even tried to force more Fuegos into AMC’s distribution channel after the car’s reputation landed in the toilet. (This is a great book for anyone who wants the inside scoop of what went on inside AMC at the end.)

    Like 4
    • Bruce

      The biggest problem was the aluminum used in the fuse box and the metal at the lights and other connections. They would corrode over time and if you used an eraser on the connections they would work just fine. The fuse box was another matter. I would replace that aluminum buss with copper and all would be good.

      That was the reason I sold mine. I had a very pregnant wife and it was our primary car. I did not have the time or inclination to fix it so I had no choice but I had to replace it.

      I really liked it. Especially the rolling sun roof which was wonderful. Otherwise it did not rust thru, no engine problems. Other than the tail lights and fuse box nothing every broke on ours. The critical thing is how you treated this car. Assume that it is fragile and you will have no problems and a very fun drive in a very good looking car.

      Like 2
  10. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    My first and second cars were Fuegos.
    I have a soft spot for them.
    Leather is rare over here.
    I like this one but would lose the exhaust. They make decent money in Europe. That would sell for at least $6k

    Like 3
  11. SANDY LEA

    If I didn’t have 3 other Renaults (A gta convertible, an Encore 5 door, and an R15 (YES, an R15!) right now I’d buy this one in a heartbeat! Great car! Great club scene and parts are easier to get than you might think.

    Like 4
  12. K. R. V.

    Never owned one, but I did get to drive one a few times. Not very quick, or quiet. But rode very well and handled pretty well, even though there was a bit a lean. But what a ride! I remember trying to get the suspension to bottom out, but like every Renault I’ve ever been inThe suspension was almost magical in the way it absorbs bumps!

  13. PairsNPaint

    Scotty-
    As for bubble glass backs, don’t forget the Fox-bodied Mercury Capris!

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    I don’t get this constant “’80s malaise” (well – I kinda do…) but I C
    plenty I can appreciate. Here’s nother…

    (still lookin for an affordable ’83/6 LTD/Marquis waggy).

  15. Genemak1

    I drove one as a dealer demo car for several weeks. One weekend on a trip I heard a high pitched whining sound. The car was hesitating on acceleration and did not want to keep that 2.2L going as it was mated to a slovenly automatic tranny. The kind of engine and tranny combo, of where if you stood on it at anything over 60mph, all it would do is make noise without any forward thrust, kind of like a blender. Simply pathetic. I finally pulled over to inspect the car with the ignition off. I traced the whining to the rear of the car, opened the gas door and cap and was baptized by about a gallon of hot unleaded regular. I guess the car had served it’s karma. The turbo was the only one to seriously purchase at the time. Nice to see this one is not an auto tranny. Good luck to the seller.

  16. Louis Chen

    An old high school friend had one of these. it was a decent car handled decently…somehting about French cars though, their suspension are cushy and compliant and their seat are good as well. I might be a rare? Frenchy/Frog car to have but how costly or readily available replacement parts whether here or in France? I remembered the Renix Fuel injection system worked fine on my friend’s car! The price is ok.

  17. John K

    After two LeCars I “graduated” to ’83 Fuego Turbo. It was a blast to drive once the big turbo (K04, I think) spooled up, above 3000RPMs.
    Seats were super comfy, and it handled well for early 80s car. One winter morning after washing the car in a carwash, I closed the rear hatch, which promptly shattered and neatly fell into trunk! lol I remember standing there in the back of a car, bewildered, trying to understand what just happened.

    Fuel relay kept burning up and finally some unknown electrical gremlin doomed the car. Multiple mechanics, including Alfa, coulldn’t find why it wouln’t start.

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