Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The not-so-fiery Fuego..

A closer look at something I posted on Le télégramme instantané late last week..

..a no-longer-so-fiery, early-80s, French-made sporting coupe. A two(three)-door, four seat liftback, introduced in 1980; with a small four-pot driving the front wheels, and an overall design that's bumper-to-bumper... err... 'French'.

September 1983 build, March 1984 compliance, Renault Fuego GTX.
The Foo-aygo.
The Fway-go.
...The French Mitsubishi Cordia...?

Came across this one at the wreckers at the start of the year; sadly (..? Yeah, I'm happy to go with that) the the only time in recent-ish memory I'd actually seen one of these damn things.
I'd always remembered them to some extent, after having a quirky local relative who'd strangely been eager enough to own a medium blue one. LONG since moved on though, as seemed to be the case for everyone else; so not being part of any European (let alone French!) car clubs/communities, it's just not something I'd really ever get to come across again...

On a vehicle that I loosely remember as a Cordia with interesting detailing; it's pretty safe to say that the detail that MOST stands out, are those slatted/grooved trims that split the car at the belt-line. It's certainly something different, and works well..

Inside, interesting again. Shame it's overall so grubby, as the white on tan combo would've been quite sharp when new.
No console between the seats is a pain, and those pedals look very offset to the centre... but the carpet up the doors? That's a plus. The large buttons on the sides of the gauge binnacle? Bold *and* practical. Great fabrics, and unghf.. the two-spoke fighter-pilot-ey wheel is very nice...

Factory fit, port install, or era aftermarket; Pioneer AM/FM cassette unit. TONE? Yep. VOL? Yep. TUN? You mean TUNE? Ohhh, think of allll the time saved leaving that 'E' off..

..as for the HVAC unit underneath, I'm going to have to assume the text/markings there have just thoroughly (impressively!) worn off, as there's certainly not a whole lot in the way of identification!

Under the Fuego GTX's clamshell bonnet, it's certainly not the first word in performance. The single-cam, two litre, four banger...

...longitudinally-mounted well ahead of the front wheels. Think shopping trolley full of bricks.
I have no idea why so many of these European manufacturers thought this was a good idea (have seen similar layouts in Saab, Audi...) but ho-ly-hell this thing would get some ferocious understeer. All that weight it just hanging out so far in front of those driven wheels, even quick changes in direction would be frightening: a slalom getting well out-of-hand by the second turn!

Unfortunately that's all the photos I took of this one, and it's very likely long been pancaked now.
So I may be up for another long time between Fuego-sightings.
It's not something I'd ever dream of owning, but something I always love to see. Genuinely. I'm so glad people (somewhere, surely) could still be driving these things; and it is likely.. thanks to what are really just basic underpinnings wrapped up in that stylish package.

So Fuego-away, Fuego-enthusiasts! Please keep at it...

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