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Car Memories: 1984 Renault Alliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Renault Alliance
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Car Memories: 1984 Renault Alliance

Bill Crittenden
November 6, 2009

What kind of car is it?

1984 Renault Alliance, dark green with a beige interior.

Why did you buy it?  When did you get it?

I didn't buy it.  It was my family's car that I drove to school when my Oldsmobile wasn't running.  It was actually my grandmother's last car, and my parents got it when she stopped driving.

What did you think of the car when you had it?  Likes and dislikes?

What a piece of crap!  Really, I can think of a good thing to say about nearly every car I come across, and I'm having trouble with this one.

Dislikes?  Where shall I begin?  The top speed I ever got from that car was about 73, going downhill with a tailwind.  Otherwise top speed is 65 mph flat out, foot to the floor on the highway.  It took a long time to get to 65, too.  Handling, even for such a small car, was horrible, its little tires screeching around almost every corner not taken at idle speed.

Maybe it's a French car thing, but you don't honk the horn by pushing in the center of the steering wheel.  In the Renault it was honked by pushing in the turn signal stalk.  Now, there's something I liked about the car.  Once I figured out how to honk the horn (it took a while), if you honk it twice it had that perfect roadrunner "beep-beep."  It was quite funny considering the complete lack of speed the car had.  I should have yanked that horn out of the car when it went off to the junk heap, but all I got instead was one of the Alliance badges.

1984 Renault Alliance 1984 Renault Alliance
Photo © Bill Crittenden
View photo, 41KB

Was there anything you found really interesting about the car?

I was driving the car to UTI while studying to be an auto mechanic.  One of our worksheets had our group of three or four students pull a car into the shop and answer questions about its cooling system.  Of course, mine was picked as an interesting subject.  Funny thing is, not even our teacher, ASE certified and over a decade of experience, could even figure out which direction the coolant flowed in the system or where all the hoses went to.  Foreign cars from the 80's are generally a bit confusing, but the underhood of this car was just a mess on an epic scale.  But it's not like it was a luxury car with a boatload of extras and features, it was a cheap little piece of basic transportation.  How complicated did it need to be?

Did you have any problems with the car?

The fabric of the headliner fell out soon after I got it, which is a common 80's car problem, but in this case it wasn't my car so I couldn't tear the pad out like I did in my '85 Cutlass Ciera.  So I brushed as much of the adhesive off as I could, but it would still leave me with what looked like orange dandruff when I got out of the car.

Why did you get rid of the car?

It got passed on to my sister when my Oldsmobile was running again.  It died of overheating that, of course, nobody this side of the Atlantic knew how to fix.

What do you think of the car now?

I do not miss driving that car.  Of course, it did make a nice conversation piece, being a rare (in the U.S., anyway) French car and one of the last things AMC built.  If I had a chance to get a clean one, and I had a place to park it, it would make a nice display.  It is, after all, an interesting contrast to the Formula 1-winning Renault race cars, and I like anything unusual or related to AMC.  And, as a 1984, it qualifies as for antique vehicle plates in Illinois now, which would be very funny on the econobox Renault.

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