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First Cars: The 1984 Renault Alliance

By Jim Schroeder, Owner Superior Auto


My first car was a hand me down Renault Alliance. In the late 70's and early 80's AMC was struggling with a steady decline. Beaten up by the big three American brands and the Japanese imports along with a track record of producing cars that couldn't compete, American Motors had a bright idea. Partner with the FRENCH! Everyone knows the French are the first word in automotive innovation, design and quality right?


The product of this strange marriage was the Renault Alliance. My dad had one. He ran the wheels off of it on his commute to Egg Harbor Township and then Trenton every day. Then he handed it down to me. I tried to keep it closer to home, Egg Harbor City, Galloway and my beloved Port Republic. I didn't want to get French too far from home in case I had to walk to a friend's house for help.


Like a fine French croissant, the car was flakey. It would often refuse to go into reverse but it was light as my favorite French pastry so I would just throw it in neutral and walk it out of its parking spot like a pony at the fair.


It had four doors but rarely could I convince anyone to ride with me. I finally killed ole Frenchy when I hit a log someone had dropped off the back of their truck near Port Beach. The motor, never the strong suit of the vehicle anyway, finally decided to dislodge from the rest of the car and refuse to communicate with the manual transmission any longer.


They say you can only have one first car. I said I wanted a do over...


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