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Renault Alpine GTA Turbo at Cars and Coffee Austin

by DrivingEnthusiast

While enjoying a walk around the local Cars and Coffee recently, much to our surprise we were presented with a Renault Alpine GTA Turbo. In North America, this is an extremely rare car…. while AMC imported a few during their brief fling with Renault, the bulk were private importations. Which isn’t easy – hence our surprise at finding this example. The last one of these we’d seen in person was 20 years ago! And we would have liked to have talked to the  owner, but unfortunately he or she was not to be found…

This 1986 model sports a 2.5 liter V-6 with single turbo, yielding from 197 to 210 HP depending on model year. The chassis is a steel-backbone with fiberglass and polyester (!) panels. Curb weight was about 3000 pounds. Period specs show a 0-60 time of around 7 seconds, with a 160 MPH top end.

These are not be original wheels, most of all of these cars had aluminum disks with a large flat center section surrounded with airvane-like spokes.

Note the headlamp covers by Cibie – making this a European or a European-ized car, rather than an AMC car with the Federally-mandated pop-ups and  yellow turning lights.

With the engine in the back, the front boot has plenty of room for cleaning supplies, which this owner used industriously. The car was simply immaculate. It’s probably the prize of a local owner’s French car collection.

We really like the back of this car, especially the large integrated spoiler. Note the functional grill between the taillights.

And the molded-in lettering. Subtle, beautiful.

The interior is also very handsome, and very very French. One concession to the ’80s is the graphic equalizer ahead of the 5-speed manual on the center console. You don’t see that anymore! Fortunately, unlike some of the most eclectic French cars, the steering wheel has three spokes instead of one big offset spoke…

Stepping around the back, we find a rear-mounted V-6. Same bad location as a 911… and as we remember from road tests of the age, same tail-happy handling characteristics.

With an intercooled fuel-injected turbo (found under the chromed box at the top), providing fairly good acceleration times.

The two large tubes lead to/from the intercooler, located in the grill between the taillights.


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