18 and Life – 1984 Renault 18 GTL

What does Renault mean to you? For some, images of classic Gordinis spring to mind; some remember the infamous Alliances, for some it’s all about the Clio RenaultSport V6. I’m partial to the gawky hotness that is the Fuego; you know, the geeky chic of a gangly nerdy chick is there, present in the slim-tired coupe that was slim in the engine department, too. But it’s the 18 that underpinned the Fuego, and today’s Renault post is about the 18. Humble bronze transport, but increasingly more rare.

The 18 was introduced in 1978, and originally came with a larger helping of chrome than the ’84 car I spotted in the old town. It was the midsize car for people who wore cardigans, and it does look like it could have effortlessly blended into its surroundings in Paris, 1985. It actually looks like it could be driven by someone’s mother in a French teenage drama of yesteryear.

I’m not sure if there’s actually supposed to have been a chrome diamond in the grille that’s come off or worn away, or whether Renault figured the car would need to be so unremarkable it would do with an unpainted black one. Same goes for the mouse-grey bumpers that remind me why bumper care products were invented.

There’s a diamond-shaped indicator standing up for the unassuming badge. As befits the car, there aren’t even wheel trims but just rusted-out steelies. To be exactly honest, I can’t remember seeing the Renault driving around but can remember seeing it in the same spot. Maybe it’s only there for going ’round the block.

The Renault is powered, when it is powered, by a 1647cc four with 74hp. The turbo version of the 18 was quite a bit briskier with all of 125 horses, and I’d definitely be interested in seeing one in the metal.

Bodywork-wise, the Renault is fairly good. There isn’t much rust other than on the rockers and a few spots here and there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the odo reading was under 150 000 km.

However, there is a deep dent on the rear panel, above the bumper, that looks like someone’s reversed into the Renault. Maybe it’s too convincing with its camouflage.

The droopy side mirror finishes off the slightly unhinged look of the Renault, especially when there isn’t one on the other side.

I’m also fond of the soft-looking rear spoiler, which is quintessentially ’80s.

The 18 was phased out in 1986 in the favour of the larger 21, which made it Stateside as the Medallion. Despite the jump between the cars being akin to the leap from E28 to E34, from rounded slim lightweightedness to straight-lined mid-’80s aero styling, the Medallion probably sold in double digits in the USA. But over here it did shift units, and for some weird reason the estate variant of the 21 was called the Nevada – even if Nevada must be the last place on earth where I’d expect to see one, outside of a Renault advertisement.

What can be expected is that I’ll be seeing the Renault in the same spot, across the street from the Christian book store. The store and the Renault fit together seamlessly.

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