1980s / French / Renault / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: Renault 25 GTD

renault-25-gtd-3Once a desirable flagship sedan, this post-facelift Renault 25 GTD was abandoned near the intersection of a freeway and a major railroad line for the better part of a month.  Dumped next to worn tires, old mattresses and broken pieces of drywall, it was regularly vandalized until it was finally towed away to a junkyard several days ago.

We spotted the owner’s manual and a stack of service records in the passenger footwell while taking photos and couldn’t resist the urge to look through it all.  The paperwork reveals that the car was sold new in October of 1989 in the Ain department of France, which is very close to the border with Switzerland.  How much the car cost is not listed but a look through our archives reveals that the GTD model started at 120,400 francs in 1989 before options were factored in. That same year, a base-model carbureted Mercedes-Benz 190 with a four-speed gearbox cost 128,500 francs and a three-door Volkswagen Golf retailed for 59,200 francs.

The 25 was religiously maintained at miscellaneous Renault dealerships until 1992.  At that point it was a late-model used car with over 71,000 kilometers (about 44,000 miles) so the fact that the service records end there probably means that the first owner sold it to a private party (we’re assuming that if a dealership had taken it in on trade, they would have performed a minimum amount of maintenance before selling it again.)

What happened to the car over the last 20 years is a mystery but the plate tells us that it has changed hands – and regions – several times.  The odometer reads 192,000 kilometers (about 119,000 miles) which is not a whole lot for one of these.  Although the badge might suggest that a powerful turbocharged engine lurks in the engine bay, the GTD was powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.1-liter four-cylinder that made just 70 horsepower in its most powerful tune.  It was under-stressed and it’s not uncommon to see diesel-burning 25s with 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) or more.


5 thoughts on “Rust in peace: Renault 25 GTD

  1. A car shouldn’t go out like this.

    I had to think of the character “Switch” from the movie “The Matrix”. Right before she gets killed, her last words are “Not like this.”

    Were is this? The scenery looks interesting. I guess the large bridge is from a TGV line? It is now almost 10 years since I’ve been last in the south of France and I miss it – and no chance to go there any time soon… I would love to take the southern road at the Gorges du Verdon, something I missed the last time I was there…

      • Ah, I don’t really know that much about the area.

        I just recently retraced with Google Maps my first vacation I had (in 1997) in Languedoc Roussillon and in the Provence. We stayed in a flat for a week tiny village Montèze near the little village Verfeuil, and travelled to Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Pont Saint Esprit, Avignon, Nimes, Pont du Gard and a tiny bit of Marseille. The usual, I guess. It was really nice and I have fond memories of that vacation.

        Then in 2000 I travelled to the South East of France again, this time by train (no TGV, I can highly recommend the train route from Langogne to Issoire through the Allier valley), so a bit of a different route. In Nice I rented a nice little Peugeot 106 and drove for a day to the Gorges du Verdon.

        And in 2003 I bought a car (an 1990 Audi 80 quattro 16V, the 89Q predecessor to the one you covered recently) and travelled again to the South East, again a slightly different route.

        So not that much experience, but I have a bit of a memory of landscapes, and by now I know how to find things with GoogleMaps. So if I see something from the ground, I know roughly how it could look on the areal image.

        So I looked at the route of the TGV Méditerranée on Wikipedia, looked at vidaducts. The first one was over the Drôme, that didn’t fit at all. So it was then the second or third one I looked at. A bit of luck too…

  2. On the Allier valley: Maybe not Issoire, but just between Langeac and Langogne, If I remember correctly, that was a really scenic train ride.

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