Breaking News

Let's not forget the Encore: Renault’s second act

The Renault Encore was intended to be the scorching ticket for 1984. The subcompact environment was not as well keen on 4-doorways.

The two-door glimpse Encore passed the litmus test… 4-doorway not so substantially!

American Motors dealers ended up ready for a wonder to carry passenger auto income in the early 1980s. At that time, the new-auto sector was staying decimated by a blend of a frustrated overall economy, fierce levels of competition from Japanese imports, superior unemployment and the worst inflation in a long time. AMC administration shipped that miracle in the sort of the 1983 Renault Alliance subcompact, a auto so much ahead of its rivals in technological innovation, gas economy and functions that it couldn’t aid but provide. And for an encore, it promised to introduce a different new line of small automobiles as a observe up. People autos arrived the next 12 months in the aptly named Renault Encore, a line of subcompact hatchbacks centered on the Alliance system.

This was typically a excellent go. Little hatchbacks have been extremely common in the early 1980s, accounting for two-thirds of sales in the subcompact current market, and the Encore was every single bit as highly developed a merchandise as the Alliance. Even so, the organization created a person maddening mistake when introducing the Encore it provided the new auto in equally two- and 4-door versions. The two-doorway was trim, eye-catching and sporty the four-doorway was odd, distracting and, in my humble opinion, homely.

There’s an previous indicating in the car organization: “It fees just as a lot to type an unpleasant car as it does to fashion a fantastic-searching a person, so you may as properly design and style your automobiles to be good-hunting.” The challenge was that, by 1984, AMC’s “partner,” Renault, was in comprehensive control of the enterprise and was contacting all the pictures. And the French assumed the four-door Encore looked spiffy. They licensed its production, and therefore the tooling funds that might have been expended on a much additional valuable product was instead put in generating a person of the sorriest-wanting cars and trucks of the ten years. You might get in touch with it “AMC’s Pontiac Aztec.”

The unhappy detail about all of this is that AMC stylists had created a new Alliance 4-doorway station wagon product, and it was a magnificence — and at a time when tiny station wagons were being providing very properly. But the Alliance wagon ended up a stillborn merchandise, and only a couple of grainy pictures stay of what may well have been a prosperous addition to the 1984 or 1985 product line. As well lousy.

The Encore debuts

The Encore was launched for 1984 as a abide by-up to the award-winning Alliance. In mechanical technical specs, the Encore was effectively the similar auto with front-wheel drive, a fuel-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder as the only engine made available that to start with calendar year and a preference of 4- or 5-speed manual transmissions, both of those showcasing overdrive, or a three-pace automatic transmission. Like the Alliance, it was assembled in Kenosha, Wis., household of AMC’s key automobile plant.

Also like Alliance, Encore boasted regular rack-and-pinion steering, electrical power front disc brakes, relaxed bucket seats up entrance and a nicely trimmed interior. Driving the exact 97.2-inch wheelbase as Alliance, Encore supplied good handling and a clean, controlled journey courtesy of its four-wheel unbiased suspension. Exclusive to the Encore was a rounded glass hatchback and a fold-down rear seat.

The roomy inside was rated for 5 travellers, which it could maintain with a good degree of comfort. There was a good deal of headroom, even though foot area was enhanced by the clever pedestal-mounted front seats that offered generous beneath-seat room for rear passenger’s ft. The massive greenhouse eradicated any emotion of claustrophobia.

You could possibly believe that a smaller, 1.4-liter motor acquiring a mere 55 hp would make for a incredibly sluggish vehicle, but you’d be erroneous. Now, I’m not expressing the Encore was a powerhouse — it absolutely wasn’t — but when equipped with both of the manual gearboxes, it was sprightly plenty of for just about any driver. Accelerating from -60 mph took 14.9 seconds, a little bit leisurely, although not uncommon for that period, but the trade-off was fuel financial state of 40-moreover mpg on the highway! Aspect of this was mainly because of Encore’s trim body weight — close to 2,010 lbs., which was about 40 lbs. much more than an Alliance. One more bonus was that the shifter was pleasantly clean to operate. I would think about efficiency with the automated transmission to be satisfactory, just like several other smaller autos of that era, and gas financial system took a hit, while it was nevertheless greater than a lot of other autos.

4 trim levels were offered: base, S, LS and GS. Prices ranged from a minimal of $5,755 for the 3-doorway foundation design to $7,547 for the three-doorway GS design. A distinctive high-trim, restricted-availability Diamond Version product showing up mid-yr was priced at $7,570 for the three-doorway and $7,770 for the 5-doorway.

Base versions had been offered only in the three-door configuration, and offered great excellent vinyl upholstery. The S and LS designs, which could be had in 3- or 5-door edition, did furthermore, but also presented cloth trim as an selection. Fabric upholstery was normal on the GS, which also highlighted leather trim as an more-expense selection. Exterior colour options have been limited to just five on foundation automobiles, though the other folks experienced an prolonged colour pallet from which to pick. The upper-vary versions also had added trim on the exterior, together with bright wheel hub handles on the S. The LS and GS experienced shiny windshield moldings, grille bars and bumper strips dazzling belt moldings and entire wheel covers, together with greater tires. Alloy wheels, air conditioning and up-degree radios ended up common choices.

The Alliance experienced been Motor Trend’s Car or truck of the Year for 1983, demonstrating how really impressive of a small automobile it was, and the Encore was just as good, however it won no awards of fantastic importance. No subject the public responded nicely, making Encore a profits achievement in its 1st 12 months, with some 87,000-in addition units generated for the product 12 months, whilst it did cannibalize some profits from Alliance, which was to be anticipated. Each and every road tester who drove an Encore appreciated it, though compliments about its styling weren’t as effusive as had been the scenario for Alliance. I never recall any writer praising the four-door Encore’s seems to be, but the two-doorway did appear in for some awesome remarks.

The Encore with 4-doors failed to garner any praise for its styling.

Encore’s encore decades

For 1985, Encore ongoing to offer you the 1.4-liter engine as conventional products on most versions, but also released an optional, new 1.7-liter, fuel-injected four-cylinder motor of 77 hp for a great improve in efficiency. The 1.7-liter mill was regular on Encore GS and further expense on other folks. The new engine served remedy any buyer considerations about efficiency, although, by natural means, the gas overall economy wasn’t rather as excellent as the more compact engine. It represented a fair trade-off, even though.

Meanwhile, the subcompact market place in America was shrinking speedy. The superior gas costs that had ignited tremendous demand for smaller cars had now abated, and men and women were being at the time a lot more looking for greater, more-highly effective cars and vehicles. The sudden curiosity in stick-shift autos, also a consequence of the motivation for greater fuel financial system, also slackened, which harm Encore and Alliance, because they had been most desirable when outfitted with the guide transmissions. To counter slowing desire, AMC introduced a new Encore Spring Unique design that involved a incredibly attractive two-tone coloration scheme, unique stripes and graphics, rear spoiler, colour-keyed wheel handles, fog lamps, front air dam and upgraded interior trim. These attributes represented $581 worth of optional products at a specific cost of just $281 on the Spring Special. It assisted somewhat, though Encore creation fell to 58,000 units for the 1985 product 12 months, the consequence of the shrinking of compact-motor vehicle marketplace.

For 1986, Encore moved upscale, dropping the foundation model, and introducing a techie-oriented “Electronic” three-door product equipped with a Liquid Crystal Screen (Liquid crystal display) instrument panel, a brilliant, obvious display with Lcd readouts for speedometer, tachometer and fuel amount, and a comprehensive vacation personal computer. The cheapest-priced Encore, the 3-doorway S, was now $6,710, when the Digital was $7,498. Generation fell considerably this year, to just underneath 20,000 models, as fickle American buyers continued to keep away from compact, affordable vehicles.

When the curtain dropped

That marked the Encore’s close. For 1987, AMC made the decision to re-badge it as an Alliance hatchback in an energy to cut down advertising prices. It seems that someplace all around 5,000 1987 “Alliance Hatchbacks” had been created before output ended for superior. Also in 1987, Chrysler Corp. created a deal to get AMC from Renault, and it experienced no use for the now-getting old Alliance they ordered the line dropped. Prior to that decision, there had been chat of providing a worth-priced Alliance “America” product equivalent in principle to the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon “America” models (i.e., properly-geared up automobiles offered at a discount price), but very little came of that. There would be no encore for Encore. It was finis!

If you like stories like these and other common car or truck attributes, examine out Aged Cars journal. Simply click In this article to subscribe.

Want a flavor of Outdated Cars and trucks magazine very first? Sign up for our weekly e-publication and get a Totally free complimentary digital situation obtain of our print journal.

View the initial article to see embedded media.

*As an Amazon Affiliate, Aged Cars and trucks earns from qualifying buys.