I'm amused by the very negative comment about the Medallion--yes they are noted for their lack of durability and resulting unreliability (they age rapidly unless properly cared for), but they weren't exceptionally dangerous. And if they were really THAT bad, that the heck would possess you to buy EIGHT of the things for you and your family? I'd think that you'd give up after maybe the second one, or else there MUST have been a redeeming quality to them.
Never owned a R21/Medallion, but recall they were good performers--extremely comfortable ride, competent handling and power and more quiet than most in their class. My limited exposure to it seemed to compare with the Fuego I owned almost exactly. Turns out they shared the same engine (2.2l) transmission (5 speed manual) and front suspension components along with some of the interior design. I drove that Fuego for over two years before it had major mechanical problems at 240,000 km. Best $300 I ever spent on transportation.
I owned two Renaults myself--the R11/Encore and the Fuego. The R11/Encore was actually quite reliable and very snappy, but had a bit harsher ride, was a bit noisier and had cheaper fit and finish. The tip about buying one from an older person is a good one--Renaults of that era are not the most durable, but will run fine if not driven hard.
I had one of these in the USA between 1993 and 1996. It was really the most comfortable car I've ever owned. It was also a very good driver with good performance and very good handling. I had some issues with build quality. The electrical system was a joke and the automatic transmission cooler deserved to be in the Automotive Hall of Shame. It was so poorly made that it would leak engine coolant, which could mean the end of your engine. Renault makes much better cars today from a durability standpoint, but they are not as comfortable and the new style is bizarre. They have also fixed the rust problem, something else that was a weak point on all Renaults made before about 1990 and continued until all the cars with model numbers rather than names were retired. The only exception to this was the R19, but that was never sold in North America. Renault did certainly have some quality problems and they deserved their fate in North America. The car had so many virtues that I wish it had been built to a much higher quality standard. By the way, I did about 90,000 miles on mine in about four years.
My grandmother just recently passed away and left a great looking Renault to my mother, who is selling it to me. Reading everyone's comments about how good their Renaults are, I'm definitly going through with the purchase. Can't go wrong for just $100. It needs an alternator bracket though. If anyone has one available, please contact me at email@example.com. Thanks! I hope my Renault will be as reliable to me as everyone else.
I miss my Medallion more than any car I ever had, too. I bought one new in '88... it was ROOMY, sporty, and handled like no other car I've owned. My brother (who was my in family mechanic) died in '90, so I panicked and sold the Medallion, thinking I wouldn't be able to take care of it with my brother gone. I sure wish I hadn't done that. I LOVED that car... and have found none I've been so comfortable in.
I married into ownership of a 1988 Renault Medallion as my wife has had it a for a long time. On the plus side I thought the ride was always responsive and there was lots of room inside. When I tried to change the oil for her when we were first dating I couldn't even get the drain plug off. Required a special tool. Talk about French ingenuity! Put a new Metallic Blue paint job on it and a few thousand into repairs over the years to keep it going. Biggest problem these days is finding parts and a mechanic to work on it who knows what they are doing. It's been parked out front for a few months now because the clutch is shot and the cops saw the expired tags so I think its time to go. It was fun while it lasted. Anyone interested in it? John and Vicki near San Francisco.
My parents had a Medallion back in the 80's. They bought it new and sold it in less than a year. to this day they say it's the worst car they've ever owned, left them stranded many times, especially in cold weather.
The Medallion was absolutely the best car that I've ever driven. It was assembled in Kenosha Wisconsin. It was based on the R21 body with a number of significant differences like the headlights, but it had the 2 litre engine from the R25, which gave it all that power.
It did require care in its maintenance, but that applies to most cars. The AT cooler was a disaster and had to be repaired several times, until I found a shop who did it right.
When I bought it, I always thought it was sluggish at low speeds. What I didn't realize was that the AT computer was broken! So after getting the tranny rebuilt (after a mistake that caused the ports to get filled with air), I found that the AT computer for a Renault Appliance worked perfectly after simply splicing the output wires (the connector was different). I finally had a car with 3 gears!
Still, it drove me across Canada and the US 4 times, and I'd get out of it after a 16 hour drive and feel ready to do it again the next day. Precious few cars are that comfortable.
I only had two significant problems apart from maintenance and the AT... one was a failure of the TDC sensor. It had been dying for sometime, so I had one ready... but it failed in the middle of a trip on I80 in the middle of nowhere Nebraska! So, that was an interesting roadside fix. The other problem was a hard to find vacuum hose leak which caused it to drink gas. You could watch the fuel gauge go down. Until I found the problem, the only thing to do was drive at speed!
Sadly, mine was totalled by a car dealer test driving a jeep with roo bars on a snowy day... slid straight into me!
I so miss that car!
Mine is a 1988 and I am still using it today! The best car ever, and it still looks good in a parking lot, despite its 17 years!
The Renault Medallion is no different to all Renault cars of the 70s and 80s... you have to look after them. They aren't costly to look after, but the results of not looking after them can be. Take head gaskets for example. Renault heads always need to be retorqued after they are changed, or else they are prone to blowing.
As to catching fire... I've never seen that before on a Renault except when, for example, a plastic bag gets scooped up into the exhaust area!
The Medallion was relatively easy to work on with a HUGE engine compartment (The advantages of a N-S engine!)
I've driven 2... One with an auto tranny and one with a standard. I sure wish I could get one today!