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Spotted: a Renault 11 GTL

October 13, 2023

Last week we told you we spent a day in France driving new electrified Citroën models. Then in this column we dwelled on the Nissan Stagea that we came across during one of the test drives. However, that was not the only unusual car we encountered. A little further on, in the town of Montsoult, we saw this Renault 11 GTL. Not nearly as special in France as it is here, but we want to show you this car that has almost disappeared from the streets.

Renault 11 and 9: the same and yet different

The Renault 11 entered the market in 1983. It was the hatchback version of the Renault 9, a compact sedan introduced in 1981. The R11 was available as a three- and five-door hatchback. Thus, despite being execution variants of each other, the R11 and R9 were positioned as separate models. This was reflected not only in the type name, but also in the design of the models. In fact, the Renault 11 not only had a different rear end than the 9, but also a different front end.

On the technical front, the Renault 11 and 9 are pretty much the same story. Both cars had front-wheel drive and came with four-cylinder engines. Over the entire production period, as many as fourteen different engine variants were available. From a 1.1-liter with 35 kW (48 hp) to a 1.7-liter with up to 70 kW (95 hp) and just about everything in between. The most powerful engine was the 1.4-liter turbo engine from the Renault 11 and 9 Turbo, which produced 85 kW (115 hp). A 1.6-liter diesel engine was also on the option list, with 40 kW (55 hp).

Renault 11 and 9 facelifts

In late 1985, the Renault 9 underwent a facelift, receiving the same front end as the Renault 11. Well, only the higher trim levels then, the base models retained the original front end. Another facelift followed in 1987, when both the Renault 11 and 9 received a new, modern and more aerodynamic front end.

International careers for Renault 11 and 9

The Renault 11 and 9 were also a real world car. In addition to Europe, the car was also sold and produced in Turkey and South America. The model also rolled off the assembly line in Asia, and even North America was not forgotten. In some of these markets, the R11 and R9 did differ slightly from the European version.

European production ran until 1989. In Turkey, the plant even continued to run through 2000, with the introduction of a local facelift model in 1997. Production in Asia and South America also continued into the second half of the 1990s. At 1983-1987, North American production was the shortest period, but perhaps the most interesting.

There the car was sold as Renault Alliance (9) and Encore (11). Because of differing regulations, bumpers and light units differed from the Renaults as they were delivered in the rest of the world. Even more interestingly, a two-door sedan version and even a convertible were developed especially for North America.

The spotted specimen

Back to France. The one we came across in France is a 1983 Renault 11 GTL of the first model. The exact year of construction of this example remains unknown, as French license plates cannot be traced like the Dutch ones. As a GTL, this one has the 1.4-liter gasoline engine with 44 kW (60 hp) under the hood if it is a very early one, or with 50 kW (68 hp) if it is from after 1984.

Completely coincidentally, we were also in Montsoult and the surrounding area in October 2021. Then we tested there the Citroën e-Berlingo and Peugeot e-Partner in van version. At the time, we also came across the Renault and made a quick photo stop. In 2021, the Renault could use a wash. Good to see that the Renault 11 finally got that wash. The car has improved a lot from it and looks neat again.