When the maker of a slow-selling car decides to tear off its roof in an attempt at greater profits and popularity, the result is usually not-so-good (think Yugo or Paseo). Such was the case with the final few runs of AMC/Renault Alliance, when GTA and convertible variants debuted. Poor reliability and and weak powertrain performance are not paths to sales success in the United States, but with satisfying chassis dynamics and good ergonomics, the cars weren’t without their merits; maybe that’s why this red convertible, spotted by S. Forrest, has been kept in such good nick.
Or, more likely, it’s because the car is a bizarre period curiosity. AMC’s final cars were rebadges of surprisingly conservative designs from one of France’s more-conservative marques. The 9 and 11 the Alliance and Encore were based off of don’t shout about their Frenchness, and neither did the very international-bland (that’s not to say unattractive) Medallion. But oddly enough, this chopped-up convertible better shows off some of the hallmark design cues of their stylist, Robert Opron.
What–can’t see it? Look at the very, very slight reverse cant of the beltline and the rear wheel opening. It’s a lot easier to notice without the severe roofline of the donor two-door sedan model, but still subtle. Slight similarities with the Fuego, in addition to even the incomparable Citroen SM, both styled under Opron’s watch, are evident.
That, of course, means this car is a nerd’s delight, with links to one of the grandest of French automobiles, in addition to the famously soft, fragile models from La Regie as well as the drama of AMC’s sad, sad final years. In other words, it actually makes some sense as a collector’s item.