View Full Version : 1982 Renault Fuego Turbo

Valentine One Radar Detector

08-22-2009, 08:30 AM
Some things don’t translate well—French-designed cars and Gérard Depardieu being perfect examples. The Fuego sports coupe was supposed to buck-up the tottery AMC-Renault partnership; it was going to be the “image car” so desperately needed by a company beset by crashing sales and one design flop after another.

The ad copy said the Fuego boasted “racy good looks that can up the pulse rate on sight,” though it may have more accurately described the heart flutters induced by the Fuego’s frighteningly rapid depreciation rates. Running examples are almost worthless today—if, that is, you can find one that’s still running. Most have long since been smelted into garden shears or put to some other useful purpose, such as building a barrier around Gérard Depardieu.

The car had an ungainly mollusk-like appearance—rounded in a way that reminded one of a slug on a wet spring morning. The windows were too big, the wheels disproportionately small – and they were metric. Only one specific type of tire could be used on the factory wheels, and many buyers found it was less expensive to simply replace the oddball metric-sized wheels and tires rather than pay the exorbitant price for the one-of-a kind Michelin metric tires specified by Renault.

Acceleration capability matched the mollusk-like appearances; 0 to 60 took 10 seconds, assuming the peaky turbo was working, which it often wasn’t. Top speed was barely into the triple digits—again, if all was functioning correctly (and the car was being chased with a dish of garlic butter sauce). Of course, other cars of the period were no great shakes in the acceleration department, either, but at least when they broke down it was fairly easy to secure the necessary parts or find someone who knew how to duct tape them back together. But the Fuego, being French—and thus full of design eccentricities—was not only unreliable, it was often agonizingly difficult to find parts for, let alone a mechanic who knew how to fix one. The parts and service problem became much more acute when Renault fled the United States for good after the1987 model year, leaving Fuego owners to figure it out for themselves.

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