Sometimes the sum of the parts is actually less than the whole. This was the case with the 1982 Renault Fuego and the “performance” model, the Fuego Turbo. This was the car that was going to reverse Renault’s lagging fortunes in the USA, it was going to be boldly styled, it was going to perform, it was going to be a budget European car people could actually afford. It lasted basically two years in the USA as the brand it was attached to was fading quicker than a cheap lunch receipt. The chassis was weird, the styling was odd, the cars were slow, and here’s the weird part…or not. They were wildly unreliable. How about a potential recall for steering wheel failures. Seriously. Steering wheel freaking failures.
I don’t know why I am on this kick for the turbocharged cars of the 1980s but I am. This thing, with nearly 13psi of boost could barely muster 107hp. How is that freaking possible?! Output was marginally increased over the short life of the car and a more powerful naturally aspirated engine was offered as well, which made power that was within spitting distance of the turbo engine. None of this made any sense and Renault’s sales numbers tell the tale.
The company just reported general sales not by model. In 1982 37,702 cars, which was already down. In 1983? 33,229. Cringing face emoji. Skip 1984 because that year sucked as well. 1985? A blistering 7,256 cars. When Renault backed out of the USA the already crummy cars became lepers because there was so little parts supply to fix what was broken, let alone places who knew how to fix the junk.
You see very few of these because few were sold and the ones that were got driven by kids until they broke and were junked. Fuego turbo…not so much.