Whatever happened to the Renault Fuego

As is becoming the trend for PetrolBlog, my earliest memories of this week’s forgotten hero stem from my childhood. Back in 1980, I believed that the world ended on the south coast of England and that English was the only language spoken. As such, I wrongly referred to the Renault Fuego as the Renault ‘Few-Go’. For years I lived in blissful ignorance of my mispronunciation whilst the motoring world pointed at me and mocked me for my foolishness. How was I to know that there was a land called Spain and in this land, the word Fuego translated to fire? But in a sad twist of irony for the Fuego, while I’m now old enough to pronounce the name, there are only a ‘few’ left in the UK today. So less ‘Few-Go’ and more ‘Few-Gone’ then?

Renault Fuego
Fuego – easy for you to say

A quarter of a million of the 2+2 coupes were sold across the world. In the UK, the car was available until 1987 when it was quietly withdrawn from sale. During these seven years, the Fuego competed admirably against the popular Ford Capri and Opel Manta and indeed outsold the competition during early years. However, it never really sat comfortably with the Renault stable and in a marketplace that was becoming obsessed with the hot hatch, the Fuego was always going to struggle to create a spark. It was the fresh and exciting Golf GTi, Peugeot 205 GTi and indeed the Renault 5 Turbo that set the world on fire.

The Fuego was launched with a mildly simmering 1.4 litre engine and a luke warm 2.0 litre variant. With 64 and 112 bhp respectively, they were hardly going to set pulses rating. Save this accolade for the ‘oh so 1980s’ Turbo edition, launched in 1984. Forget the 1.6 litre turbo-charged engine developing 132 bhp – this wasn’t the element that made it quick. Oh no. It was the huge TURBO decals that emblazoned each side of the Fuego that made it quick. Even Gene Hunt would know not to give chase after a car with TURBO stickers that big. Sadly, rumours of a Spanish version of Ashes to Ashes are unfounded. I would have loved to have heard Hunt shout “Fire up the Fuego“.

renault fuego turbo
Fire up the Fuego!

Eagle eyed petrolheads will have spotted that this was yet another PetrolBlog car to feature in a James Bond film. This time in A View to a Kill where two jodhpur wearing French ladies were involved in the death of a hapless Patrick Macnee at the wheel of a Rolls Royce. Always thought the Fuego looked good in the film and to be fair, I think it still looks good today. It has a unique shape and stance and the black plastic strip running the entire length of the car is a design success. The yellow driving lights give it an air of continental flair, whilst the glass boot lid complete with a further TURBO sticker added to the overall effect of sportiness. But rather unlike the Capri or Manta, should you wake up tomorrow and decide that your life is incomplete without a little Fuego in it, you’ll be hard pressed to find one. The closest car I could find for sale happens to be in Australia and although a trip to Oz would be nice, it seems an awful long way to travel for an 80s Renault.

So another common sight on our roads, now seemingly relegated to the archives. If you’ve got one – get in touch. In the meantime, here are two more ‘classic’ ads from the 80s. Check out the second ad where you’re invited to enter “The Turbo Zone”. You might be tempted until you see the excessive amount of blue smoke pouring from the back of the car. Dodgy valve seals perhaps?

Images courtesy of Wikipedia

© MajorGav’s PetrolBlog 2010.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

18 comments

  1. May 14, 2011
    shaun

    I own a Renault Fuego 1.6 GTS its been off the road since 1990 im hoping to finally get it sorted for a return to the road over the summer .
    shaun

    Reply
    • May 14, 2011
      MajorGav

      Sweet! 21 years off the road? Have you owned it for the entire time? Would welcome the chance to feature it on PetrolBlog if you’re interested?

      Reply
  2. June 25, 2011
    Ian W

    Nice looking car.

    Reply
    • June 25, 2011
      MajorGav

      Agreed. Good to see it again in the James Bond film last week!

      Reply
  3. September 7, 2011
    Mark

    Hello, I own a Renault Fuego Turbo, 1986, The nice ( I think) gold sort of colour in very
    good overall condition, 80,000 miles. Currently off road since 2006 for clutch replacement,
    I have all the parts but have been too busy to put it back together.
    I also owned a red one, identical to the picture above, also 1986 turbo but this was lost in a garage fire in 2007. This one was not as good mechanically but had perfect paint and body.
    I Love this car and bought the second one because I liked the first one so much.
    Maybe our roads down here suit it or something, but every trip was a pleasure.

    Mark
    Greymouth
    New Zealand

    Reply
    • September 7, 2011
      MajorGav

      Excellent. Thanks for getting in touch. Be good to get the gold one back on the road?

      Any pics?

      Reply
  4. September 24, 2011
    David

    I have 3 already one on the road, another under renovation, and a 3rd as a spare/parts car picking up another next week. These great cars deserve to be kept alive. Still havnt been able to find a modern vehicle that handles as well as the fuego. Thank god we dont have rust issues in ozzie

    Reply
    • September 24, 2011
      MajorGav

      Not sure if you saw the other post, but the number of Turbos on Britain’s roads has doubled from three to six recently. This is good news.

      Would like to know more about your fleet of Fuegos. Any more info online?

      Reply
  5. February 23, 2012
    denver ottewell

    I have just bought a Renault Fuego Turbo. Done 4600 miles.The car has been garaged for the last 20 odd years.In Black..the interior is immaculate.No marks or wear and tear in the interior.One OWNER from NEW.
    If anyone is intereasted in purchasing this vehicle please contact me on..07860 222646

    Reply
    • February 23, 2012
      MajorGav

      Wow! Excellent find. I’ll spread the word.

      Reply
    • February 26, 2017
      Howard

      It’s a long shot but I don’t suppose you still have that fuego do you?

      Reply
  6. July 19, 2015
    Kenneth Young

    I owned a Fuego, a 1984, had it for 2 years, every 6 months either the alternator would burn out or the battery would go, the catalytic converter imploded on me at 40k miles.

    worst car I ever owned,

    Reply
    • July 21, 2015
      Gavin Big-Surname

      Oh dear! A Friday Fuego, perhaps?

      Reply
  7. February 13, 2016
    mark sullivan

    I had fuego black one turbo in early 80s loved it i was around 20 and local kids called me knight rider i even had flash ll.e.d.s on grill wot decade
    Would love another one to restore relive my youth lol

    Reply
  8. April 30, 2016
    Phil Taylor

    I have owned a 1985 Fuego GTX for 12 years. It is used for weekend drives and generally having fun. I have always been amazed how well it handles and from traffic lights is very nippy. Does run out of puff at 100 kph onwards. Taught my kids to drive a manual car on it so it is forgiving. I am about to compete in some classic car racing with it. No it wont be a world beater but it will do itself proud. Prices in Oz, if you can find one, are on the increase. Definitely an investment as a future classic. Downside – those French electronics can keep you entertained for hours!

    Reply
  9. October 9, 2016
    vanessa

    hi – I am the proud owner of four (yes!) beautiful fuegos! three turbos and a GTL. All running and two in exceptionally good condition. I have been in love with this car since a child and they are a joy to drive and own!! love them! fuegos for ever..

    Reply

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