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1988 RENAULT ALPINE GTA Turbo

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Seller

ratmangta

1988 RENAULT ALPINE GTA Turbo

  • Location: Langley Mill
  • Odometer Reading: 100000
  • Engine: 2458
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Color: Yellow
  • Interior: Black Cloth

Background

The Renault GTA, or Grand Tourisme Alpine, is the junior supercar you’ve probably never heard of. Based on the old A310, the glassfibre body was one of the most aerodynamic out there; the claimed Cd of 0.28 helped the 160bhp, normally aspirated engine push it on to a top speed of almost 140mph.

But the GTA was never about pure performance, because its forte was its handling, which is sensational. Its rear engine might make it a bit tail-heavy but it’s was a million miles away from the Widow Maker Porsche 911 with which everyone compared it.

However, if performance is your thing then you’ll be pleased to hear that the 2.5-litre turbocharged version gave it the performance to match its handling and roadholding. The 200bhp engine raised the top speed to within a whisker of 150mph while giving stunning mid-range acceleration, something its svelte 1180kgs weight encouraged.

The Vehicle

First registered in August 1989, this GTA racked up 70,000-odd miles – and 17 stamps in its service history book - in its first four years. The vendor’s father bought it in 1993 and enjoyed it more sparingly until he sadly passed away a couple of years ago.

The car holds such sentimental value to his daughter that she commissioned Lee at Renault Alpine Tuning Services to restore the car as a tribute to her late father. Lee, an acknowledged Alpine GTA expert, applied his considerable skills to the job which was finished eighteen months ago. She took the car home but the demands of a young family meant it just wasn’t being used. She has, therefore, reluctantly decided that would be better placed with someone who has the time to use and enjoy it.

On the Outside

The car was originally red, but a high-quality respray in yellow is holding up very well indeed. The panel gaps are as good as we’ve ever seen on a fibreglass French car and the overall condition is very, very presentable with straight, flat panels and an even glossy finish to the paintwork. It also still sports its original Renault main dealer rear number plate, which goes a long way to reassuring us that it hasn’t disappeared backwards into a hedge at any point in its life!

The rear light lenses are both in very good condition, which is just as well as they are selling for up to £800 each. The front indicator lenses are in similarly good condition, which is handy as we are told that they equally rare and almost impossible to find…

The alloy wheels are in reasonable condition and the rears are still shod with the original 255-section tyres, which are only available from Michelin at £400 each. All four tyres have good tread.

There are a few odd stone chips but these are relatively minor and could be resolved without too much effort or expense.

Oh, and the offside headlight was only loosely propped in for the photoshoot; it will, of course, be properly fitted before the end of the auction!

On the Inside

The black fabric seats are still supportive and firm. They show almost no wear bar a very small tear at the bottom of the vertical bolster on the offside of the driver’s side.

The rare Renault Philips stereo radio cassette with built-in amplifier and graphic equalizer (remember those?) is present and correct, as is the Alpine-branded jack.

The steering wheel could do with being refurbished and that there is currently no headlining, but that this should not be a problem to any reasonable trimmer. Lee also tells us that there are a few minor electrical problems to resolve like sticky door solenoids and a flickering speedometer (“they all do that, sir”) but he assures us that they’re all straightforward DIY jobs and well within the capabilities of a semi-competent DIYer.

A new speedometer was fitted on the 11th August 1990 at 39,409 miles.

Underneath

Lee stripped the engine down before rebuilding it using new parts as necessary, including a new turbocharger and water pump. He has been pottering around in it since then to bed the engine in and it is about to give it an oil and filter change, after which the new owner will be able to use it without reservation.

The GTA has a few known weak points, not least of which are rust in the front and rear subframes. Both are tucked away out of sight and bonded to the fibreglass body, making them a nightmare for the layman to inspect, much less repair. Lee used an endoscope to inspect them and found that while the front was reasonably sound needing only a small amount of work to bring it up to his exacting standards, the rear was in typically poor shape.

He set about cutting out any rot before welding in new metal and fitting new bearing and bushes throughout the entire rear subframe, which is no mean job as there are 12 bushes alone - and they cost £40 each… Most GTA’s will need this work at some time, rest assured this one is done.

The brakes were also refurbished and the calipers painted yellow to match the bodywork. A new aluminium radiator and heater matrix pipe were also fitted. Around £6,000-worth of work was carried out in total but it was money well-spent as the GTA is now fighting fit, having had all of the known mechanical problems professionally sorted out. (Please see photos for more details - we were lucky to have use of a hoist so there is a very detailed Gallery of the excellent underside)


History Highlights

The car comes with its stamped service history book and the owner’s manual.

The online MOT history shows absolutely nothing of concern, and the sort of problems that do plague these cars have all been sorted.

Please visit the ‘Gallery’ section of this listing where you will find a vast number of photographs as well as the stamped service history book, all of which support our claim that this is one of the very best Renault GTAs on sale today.

What We Think

Unloved when new, the GTA is a rare sight on UK roads, although things are slowly changing and demand is no such that we’re starting to see left-hand-drive cars imported into the UK to meet demand.

Prices vary wildly depending on condition; while eBay has more than a few in the £4-7,000 price range, these cars often need another £5,000 minimum spending on them to bring them up to a safe, usable condition. This means that the £9,500-12,000 we expect this car to achieve is spectacularly good value when you take into account its overall condition and the quantity and quality of the work that has been carried out.

Sounds expensive? We don’t think so because all the serious, almost-impossible-to-do-at-home stuff has been done for you, leaving only some minor fettling for the new owner. The investment of a small amount of money and a little bit of time would leave the car in almost unparalleled usable condition at a time when many are still being bodged to keep them looking superficially good but as rotten as a pear inside.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this car can be seen in Langley Mill, Notts; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.


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