Renault Fuego

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Renault Fuego
Renault-fuego front.jpg
Renault Fuego GTX 1982
Overview
Manufacturer Renault
Production
  • 1980–1986 (Europe)
  • 1982–1992 (South America)
Assembly
Designer Michel Jardin, Francois Lampreia, and Robert Opron
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 3-door coupé
Layout FF layout
Related Renault 18
Powertrain
Engine
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,443 mm (96.2 in)
Length 4,358 mm (171.6 in)
Width 1,692 mm (66.6 in)
Height 1,315 mm (51.8 in)
1984 Renault Fuego GTX
Renault Fuego GTX 1982 rear view
Renault Fuego TS 1.6
Australian Renault Fuego ad

The Renault Fuego (fire in Spanish) is a sport compact car that was produced by French automaker Renault from 1980 to 1992, replacing the Renault 15 and 17 coupés of the 1970s. It was marketed in the United States by American Motors Corporation (AMC), and was also assembled in several countries in South America. The official Renault website states that a grand total of 265,367 Fuegos were produced, with production in France from December 1979 to August 1985 making up 226,583 (85%) of the total.[1]

Development[edit]

The Fuego's exterior was designed by Michel Jardin,[2][3] and the interior by Francois Lampreia, both working under Robert Opron (who previously designed the Citroën SM, Citroën GS, and Citroën CX in the 1970s, and then followed with the Renault 25 in 1984). The Fuego coupe has been described "as the best design Opron produced at Renault."[4] Automotive journalist, L. J. K. Setright wrote: "It is blessed with a body which is not only roomy and aerodynamically efficient, but is also beautiful".

The Renault Fuego was heavily based on the Renault 18, sharing its floorpan and drivetrain, but featuring a new front suspension design developed from the larger Renault 20/30. The design kept the familiar double wishbone layout common with the Renault 18, but no parts were interchangeable and the design incorporated negative scrub radius geometry. The new suspension design would later be added to the facelifted Renault 18, and later, with minor refinements (larger bushings etc.), would be incorporated into the new large size Renault 25. The Fuego dashboard was added to the facelifted R18 in 1980 and then both updated again in September 1983 (LHD cars only) for the 1984 model year. European production continued until 1985 in France and 1986 in Spain, while Renault Argentina produced the Fuego from 1982 until ending production in 1992 with the 2.2 litre "GTA Max" (the final phase III facelift introduced in 1990).

It was the first mass-produced four-seat sports model to be designed in a wind tunnel.[5] The resulting drag coefficient (Cd) factor of 0.32-0.35 depending on model and year. In October 1982, the turbo diesel model was classified as the fastest diesel car in the world, with a top speed of 180 km/h (110 mph).

The Fuego was the first car to have a remote keyless system with central locking that was available from the 1983 model year (from September 1982).[6] The system was invented by Frenchman Paul Lipschutz (hence the name "PLIP" remote which is used in Europe), and later introduced on other Renault models. The Fuego was also the first car to have remote steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system (European LHD GTX and Turbo from September 1983).[citation needed] This feature became popularised on the new 1984 model Renault 25. While being well specified for a vehicle at the time, the Fuego was also available with options that included leather upholstery, multi-function trip computer, cruise control, air-conditioning (factory or dealer installed), and a full-length Webasto electric fabric sunroof.

A convertible version trimmed with a leather interior was unveiled by the French coachbuilder Heuliez in 1982 aimed at the U.S. market, but never made it to production[7] due to lower than expected sales in the American market - the R11/Alliance convertible taking its place. Three examples were built and finished to American specification (sealed beam headlights, enlarged bumpers, etc).

Marketing[edit]

Fuego GTA Max (Argentina)

The Fuego became the best selling coupé in Europe during 1980 through to 1982. Variants included: 1.4 litre TL & GTL (GTL LHD only); 1.6 litre TS & GTS (manual and automatic transmissions); 2.0 litre TX and GTX (manual and automatic transmissions). The TX was a downgraded version of the GTX, but differences varied by country. This model deleted alloy wheels, electric windows, central locking, air conditioning, fog lights, headlight wipers, etc. depending upon the market. A manual only 2.1 litre turbo diesel was also produced for LHD European markets in the 1982-1984 period.

The Fuego Turbo (1.6 litre/1565cc with a manual transmission) was added in 1983 to coincide with the facelift. This facelift included a new front grille, plastic trim on the bumpers, revised dashboard on LHD models, new wheel design, modernised interior trim and fabrics - sepia (coffee brown) with dark brown/white striped velour seats; or ash (grey) with black/red striped velour seats for the Turbo, and ash or sepia for the other models sold with European specifications. Interior colour now depended on exterior colour, eliminating the large choice of customised options of the previous models. The facelifted GTX was also offered with the 2.2 litre EFI engine from the Renault 25 in certain LHD markets (generally where the Fuego Turbo was not sold).

The Fuego was sold in the United States through American Motors Corporation (AMC) dealers from 1982 to 1985 inclusive. It was offered with a fuel injected 1.6 L turbocharged (1565cc) or normally aspirated version (1647cc) in 1982 and 1983; for 1984 and 1985 it was offered with a 2.2 L engine with manual or automatic options, plus the 1.6 litre turbo version. It was "a nicely executed sports coupe" and was to be Renault's "halo" car.[8] The car featured distinctive styling, comfort for four passengers, delivered superior fuel economy (the U.S. EPA rated it at 39 mpg‑US (6.0 L/100 km; 47 mpg‑imp) on the highway), affordable (a base price of $8,495 at its introduction), and the model received good reviews in the automotive media.[9] However, it did not achieve high sales and turn Renault's fortunes around in the United States.[9] By 1984, AMC dealers were eligible for rebates of $300 and $1,000, respectively, on each imported Renault Fuego and Fuego turbo model they sold.[10]

Renault sold the Fuego in the UK aiming it at the market segment occupied by the Opel Manta and Ford Capri. It became the top-selling coupé during 1981 and 1982. The available trims beginning in 1980-81 with the TL, GTS, and GTX, before increasing to the TL, TS, GTS, GTS Automatic, TX, and GTX manual in 1981-82; TL, TS, GTS, GTS Automatic, TX, GTX, GTX Automatic in 1982-83; TL, GTS, TX, GTX Automatic, and Turbo in 1983-84, and down to just two (GTS and Turbo) during 1985 and 1986 as sales declined.

In Australia, the 2 litre GTX manual was the main model from 1982 to 1987, fully specified with factory air conditioning, TRX alloy wheels, a passenger mirror with remote control, but no trip computer. There was also a limited run of the more basic TX models. The Australian specifications included side intrusions beams in the doors and emission controls to meet Australian Designs Rules.

In New Zealand the UK specification GTS and GTX manuals were delivered from late 1981 into 1982; GTS, GTS Automatic, GTX, GTX Automatic in 1983; GTX, GTX Automatic, Turbo in 1984; GTX Automatic & Turbo in 1985; GTX (end of line Australian specification GTX's transferred from Australia), GTX Automatic, and Turbo in 1986.

Timeline[edit]

  • February 1980 - Introduction of the Fuego three-door coupé. Available as TL and GTL with a 1,397 cc engine (rated at 64 PS (47 kW; 63 hp), with manual choke), and GTS with a 1,647 cc engine (rated at 96 PS (71 kW; 95 hp), with automatic choke), with a four-speed manual gearbox on the TL and GTL, five-speed manual or three-speed automatic gearbox on the GTS. The TL has a basic equipment level with 155 SR 13 tires, heated rear window, rear fog light, split-fold rear seat, and cloth upholstery. The GTL adds 175/70 13 tires, electric front windows, tachometer, height-adjustable steering wheel, front head restraints, analog clock, wheel covers, remote-adjustable drivers door mirror, laminated windscreen, opening rear quarter windows, H4 headlights, pre-installed radio kit, and velour upholstery. The GTS adds an engine oil-level gauge, power-assisted steering, and an optional three-speed automatic transmission.
  • 1981 - Fuel reserve warning light standard on all models. GTS obtains a modified gearbox. Introduction of the TX and GTX with 1,995 cc engine (rated at 110 PS or 81 kW or 108 hp) and five-speed manual gearbox. The TX has the same specification as the GTS, with the GTX gaining front fog lights, headlamp wash-wipe, 14-inch alloy wheels (185/65 HR14), leather on the steering wheel rim, gear lever gate, and handbrake lever gate, as well as digital clock, optional passenger side door mirror, bronze tinted windows, luggage cover, and airhorn.[11] The optional three-speed automatic transmission now available on the 2 L TX and GTX in addition to the 1.6 L, beginning in September 1981.[12]
  • 1982 - The GTL is upgraded to a five-speed gearbox. The GTS gains electronic ignition. The GTS, TX (depending on country), and GTX gain remote central locking. The 2.1 L turbo diesel is introduced to certain LHD European markets. The 1.6 L fuel-injected and turbo versions are introduced in the United States through Renault/American Motors dealers.
  • 1983 - The GTL gains economy tuned 73 PS (54 kW; 72 hp) 1,647 cc engine and a five-speed gearbox.
  • 1983 - The new 1984 model year facelift (From October 1983) involved consolidating the range but included adding the top of the range Turbo model to the European lineup. The facelift included a new grille, bumpers, wheel design, and interior trim (as well as a new look dashboard on LHD vehicles).
  • 1984 - A limited production run of turbos fitted with EFi produced for the Swiss market to meet their emission controls. A 2.2 L EFi version of the GTX is introduced to certain LHD markets. Models sold in the United States are equipped with either the 1.6 turbo or 2.2 L engines (manual or automatic) and an updated interior.
  • 1985 - Production of the Fuego ends in France, with the introduction of the Renault 21.
  • 1986 - Production ends in Spain. Production lines transferred to Argentina and Venezuela.
  • 1987 - Production continues in Argentina (where it now features the 2,165 cc engine as the only available powerplant with 116 PS or 85 kW or 114 hp) and Venezuela.
  • 1990 - The final phase III GTA is introduced with new bumpers, white front indicators, and charcoal tail-lights. The higher performance GTA Max, an improved version of the GTA, is introduced in Argentina with a 2.2 engine and 123 PS (90 kW; 121 hp) by Berta Motorsport.
  • 1992 - South American production ends.

The Fuego was not directly replaced by another model in the Renault range. A Fuego II was planned, similarly styled as the new Renault Alpine GTA, but the development of the new model was canceled at the last minute due to a combination of Renault's financial problems along with the declining demand for sports coupés in the marketplace at that time.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Renault Fuego". fuego.net.pl. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Ernst, Kurt (11 December 2013). "Lost Cars of the 1980s – Renault Fuego". Hemmings Sports and Exotic Cars. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "La nouvelle Renault Vel Saltis". Action Auto Moto (in French): 24. 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2015. C'est l'un des thèmes esthétiques chers au designer Michel Jardin, aujourd'hui responsable de la cellule concept-cars chez Renault et initiateur de la bulle sur feu la Renault Fuego et la Renault 25. 
  4. ^ Chapman, Giles, ed. (2016). The Classic Car Book: The Definitive Visual History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 293. ISBN 9780241287477. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Renault blends art with wind tunnel". Automotive News: 26. 5 April 1982. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Chapman, Giles (20 February 2007). "Classic Cars: Renault Fuego". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Vann, Peter; Asaria, Gerald (1985). Extraordinary Automobiles (Second ed.). Motorbooks International. pp. 10, 158. ISBN 9780879382018. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Tegler, Eric (11 July 2002). "1984 Renault Fuego TurboRenault's "halo" car". Auto Week. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b LaChance, David (May 2010). "1982-1985 Renault Fuego". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "AMC plans cuts in production of subcompacts". Plant Shutdowns Monitor. Data Center. 1984. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Costa, André; Fraichard, Georges-Michel, eds. (September 1981). "Salon 1981: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French) (14 & 15): 71. 
  12. ^ Salon 1981, pp. 118-119.

External links[edit]