South Dakota Car: 1985 Renault Encore 5-Speed


Almost looking as if it had AWD, or was missing an engine – or better yet, was set up with the ever-popular Carolina Squat, this 1985 Renault Encore looks good in black. This Wisconsin/France marriage made in heaven (or not) is posted here on craigslist in Derry, New Hampshire, and the seller is asking $4,000. Here is the original listing, and thanks to PRA4SNW for sending in this tip!

This car appears to have been debadged and/or possibly repainted at some point, but we don’t know for sure. The seller says that it’s in good shape for its age and it’s a South Dakota car. There is a Northern State University sticker on the hatchback window and that’s in Aberdeen, SD. I’m not sure if they use salt on the roads there, but there is some scary rust to deal with on the rocker panels. If there is rust there, I’d want to check out every square inch of this baby.


I like the Encore’s two-door hatchback body style. A few years ago I sold my beloved 1987 Renault GTA, a really fun-to-drive car that I should have kept. I can’t imagine that an Encore is as fun to drive, but I bet it’s not unfun to drive, especially since this one has a five-speed manual. A four-speed manual would have been standard and there was an optional three-speed automatic also available. With a 15.2-second 0-60 time compared to 17.5 seconds, you want the five-speed.

Given the rocker panel rust and interior work, I’m not sure if the seller will get their $4,000 asking price, but as they say, if you start too low you can’t raise the asking price. The back seat looks good, though, other than some ripping at the top. These cars have incredibly comfortable front seats and even with a somewhat rubbery shifter feel, I bet this is a fun little car to drive. AMC and Renault came out with the Alliance first, in 1983, and the Encore followed a year later.


The engine is Renault’s base 1.4-liter fuel-injected OHV inline-four, which had a mere 56 horsepower and 75 lb-ft of torque when new. The seller says that it runs well but needs work on the brakes. They had standard power front disc brakes so once it’s sorted out, the rust and interior fixed… well, would any of you pay $4,000 for this car given the amount of work that’s needed?

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