By no stretch of imagination could Renault's pre 1980 coupe range be described as an overwhelming success. But things were about to change, with the release of a new semi-sporting two-door series which the big French manufacturer made great efforts to combine good looks with technical refinement.
The old 15/17 series was derived from the Renault 12 while the Fuego (Fuego, means, for some reason or other, 'Fire' in Spanish - which is better we must point out than the translation of Pajero) was based on the basic layout of the 18, but with differences.
For instance, the 18's front running gear had been displaced by the layout from the 20 Diesel, featuring a more compact stub axle, with negative camber. For the Fuego range Renault also adopted a new power-assisted steering system with pistons in the centre of the rack, instead of a separate ram mounted on the top. The power steering layout had a ratio of 16.4: 1 whereas the lower-geared non-assisted installation was at 20.8: 1.
The Fuego range offered an almost bewildering choice of engines from 1.4 to two liters, mounted well ahead of the front suspension in the Renault style: Models included the:
The 1397 cc cast iron ohv engine from the 18 TL/GTL, developing 96 bhp DIN (69 kW). Entry-level model, manual choke, & 4-speed gearbox, 155 SR 13' tires, heated rear window, rear fog light, split/fold rear seat, cloth upholstery.
Middle of the range model, as TL plus 175/70 13' tires, electric front windows, rev counter, height-adjustable steering wheel, front head restraints, analogical clock, central wheel covers, remote-adjustable drivers door mirror, laminated windscreen, opening rear quarter lights, H4 headlights, pre-installed radio kit, velour upholstery.
Fuego GTS and Automatic:
the 1647 cc light-alloy ohv unit from the 18 GTS and 20 TL, developing 96 bhp DIN (69 kW).
Feugo TX and GTX:
top-of-the-range models were powered by the 1995 cc light-alloy ohc 'Douvrin' unit from the 20 TS. Equipped with Renix (Renault-Bendix) electronic ignition the motor developed 110 bhp DIN (79.5 kW), and drive was through four or five-speed manual gearboxes, or a three-speed automatic. Equipment levels as per GTL, plus oil level gauge, power-assisted steering, optional 3-speed automatic transmission, plus rear wash/wipe, front fog lights, headlamp wash/wipe, 14-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel rim, gearlever gaiter, handbrake lever gaiter, digital clock, passenger side door mirror, bronze tinted windows, luggage cover.
the Fuego GTL obtained 5-speed gearbox. GTS got electronic ignition. GTS, TX and GTX got remote central locking. Optional 3-speed automatic transmission now available on TX and GTX. 1983: GTL got economy tune 73bhp 1647cc engine, 5-speed gearbox.
It was obvious to even the casual observer that
Renault had made great efforts to produce a good-looking commodious body with an above average aerodynamic co-efficient. That the model was very easy on the eye, seated 4-5 adults with impressive head-room, and had a drag figure of 0.347 gave a graphic illustration of why the Fuego would become a great success.
The low drag characteristics were aided significantly by the steeply-raked windscreen which had a pantograph wiper. Surprisingly, the Fuego weighed about 220 Ib (100 kg) more than the four-door 18 saloon, turning the scales at 2227 Ib (1010 kg) to 2381 Ib (1080 kg) kerb weight, according to model. Wheelbase was 8.02 ft (2.445 metres); length 14.30 ft (4.36 metres), and like the 18 saloon Fuego had seating for 4-5.
The luggage compartment was reached through a large hatch in the style of the Porsche 924 (with which Fuego bore more than a passing resemblance), but it was not cavernous.
Renault Fuego GTX Quick Specs
2.0 liter overhead camshaft engine, electronic ignition, 107 DIN BHP @ 5500 rpm
5 speed, fully synchronised transmission (automatic transmission option available in 1983)
Rank and Pinion steering (negative geometry),Front Wheel Drive
Servo assisted disc/drum braking system, dual diagonal configuration, double pressure sensitive valve limiters (anti locking)
Michelin low profile 200 x 65H 340 TRX wheels/tires x 5
Factory installed air conditioning (integrated with fresh air and heating system), laminated windscreen, electric windows (front), electromagnetic centralised door locking, velour upholstery, Pioneer KE 4000 AM/FM stereo cassette system, front and rear seat belts, heated rear window with rear wiper, quartz iodine headlights, remote adjustable external mirror and optional metallic paint.