The Fire’s Gone Out – 1983 Renault Fuego Turbo

Have you ever wanted to come into the turbo zone? There aren’t many 1980s sports coupes left that would take you there – VW’s Scirocco, Toyota’s Celica and Nissan’s 200SX didn’t offer turbo power, and few of those survive. The only car in the Fuego’s class to offer a turbo was the Subaru (Leone) coupe, and not many of those have survived. And even with a turbo, performance went from slow with the stock naturally aspirated four to decent – comparable to many other naturally aspirated cars – with the turbo. That said, it was remarkable for several other things, like fuel injection, a low-for-the-time coefficient of drag, and in the European market, the first remote door locking system and audio controls on the steering wheel. Check out this 1983 Renault Fuego Turbo for sale for $1000 in Beverly, MA.

1983 Renault Fuego Turbo left front

The year after this car was built, Renault followed the BMW 2002 formula to release the Fuego with a larger naturally aspirated 2.2-liter four-cylinder giving 110hp, more than the turbo offered. This particular example is said to have been parked in a barn for the last 25 years – since the car was 8 years old – which hopefully helps its condition, given its location in the salt belt.

1983 Renault Fuego Turbo interior

Surprisingly, the seller is willing to trade for a Porsche 928 of equivalent value, so he’s obviously a fan of cars with that general shape – maybe he’d take a Fox-body Mercury Capri or a Porsche 944 as well. As usual, the French were not afraid of being adventurous when it came to design, though at the same time they were offering the boxy Alliance. Designed by Michel Jardin under Robert Opron, who was also responsible for the Citroen SM, it has that interesting ribbed beltline separating the glasshouse from the rest of the body.

1983 Renault Fuego Turbo trunk

The condition of the interior is pretty good, both in the passenger compartment and the trunk, substantiating the claim that the car’s been stored since 1991. Remarkably, it’s said to show 130,000 miles, which translates to just over 16,000 miles a year. You can probably count on an expired turbo, given the age and mileage of the car, and given the barn storage, you’ll probably want to carefully go through the electrical connections.

1983 Renault Fuego Turbo rear quarter damage

Or perhaps the reason for the car being parked was this – a minor dent someone seems to have tried to fix with a dent puller. It’s rusted, of course, but you can just go down to your friendly Renault dealer and pick up an NOS rear fender, right? Kidding aside, this car seems to have some definite possibilities, even if the best one is as an interior donor for the Fuego you already have. If you’re still not convinced, check out this period commercial:


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4 Responses to “The Fire’s Gone Out – 1983 Renault Fuego Turbo”

  1. Dave Says:

    I always liked these cars, but I’ve never driven one. Perhaps we’ll see a return of the French cars, similar to Fiat’s return? I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

    BTW, not sure if it’s just a typo, but Nissan did offer the 200SX with a short-lived turbo option…the CA18ET. I lusted after one for years, but settled for a far cheaper XE hatchback with the SOHC CA20E. Performance with the 5 speed was adequate, but it handled surprisingly well. It was an entertaining little car, surprisingly resistant to rust. It was replaced with an S14 Kouki, but that never had the personality of the older S12 IMHO.

    • Chris Keen Says:

      I thought I’d heard of a turbo version, but couldn’t find any readily available resource showing a turbocharged S110 (in North America). The CA18ET was on the subsequent S12-generation cars, I think.

      It would be nice to see French cars back for variety’s sake if nothing else. I’m inherently biased because of where I am, but I’m always surprised any major manufacturer can decide to just take a pass on one of the biggest markets in the world because things didn’t go so well over 30 years ago.

  2. 1977chevytruck Says:

    The Renault “Turbo Zone” commercial is, hands down, my favourite from any era.

    It’s so over the top, so of that period, that you just can’t not smile.

  3. snowgood Says:

    These were incredibly pretty, but woefully unreliable. Having said that I’d love one. I had more Renault’s than any other marque.

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