When you start talking about AMC cars, you often have no choice but to move right from Kenosha to Boulogne-Billancourt. Yes, when the government bailed out AMC in the early 1980s– that's the French government, of course, since the US government didn't think AMC was too big to fail— AMC dealers suddenly had a sporty, front-drive, turbocharged European coupe to sell alongside Spirits, Concords, and Eagles. Yes, the Renault Fuego, which sold like crazy in Europe but failed to make much of an impression in North America.

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Renault Fuego

The Fuego was based on the Renault 18 and looked extremely French to American eyes. The Fuego Turbo, available from your friendly AMC dealer for the 1983 and 1984 model years, packed 107 boosted horses under the hood, which doesn't sound like much today... and, in fact, didn't sound like much back then.

Fuego

Renault Fuego

OK, so a 2,400-pound car with 107 horsepower, Renault reliability, and a shape that looks like a cross between a VAZ-1111 Oka and a hallucinated Porsche 924 has a few drawbacks, but one must take into account the Turbo Zone! Let the other fans of Reagan-era French cars have their Peugeot 405 Mi16s, because I'm going shopping for the only car that can drive me straight to the Turbo Zone.