Thursday, 9 May 2013

Renaultsport Spider


I've always been a big fan of the Renaultsport Spider - it's Dieppe's Elise, and it's a wonderfully odd little thing. Launched in 1996, the aim was to have a low-volume niche roadster as well as a one-make race series. The chassis was aluminium and the bodywork plastic, so it enjoyed Lotus-like levels of strength, stiffness and lightness, while power came from the proven 2.0-litre F7R engine from the Clio Williams: 150bhp in road spec, 180bhp for the racers. It was a fastidiously designed thing too - the engine and gearbox existed as one unit, transversely mounted in an oscillating hinge to prevent any drivetrain vibration being transferred through the chassis, basically the polar opposite to the Ferrari F50 in which the engine is bolted straight to the driver's spine. This engineering cleverness resulted in a chassis that was lithe, predictable, agile and fun. Both the seat and pedals were adjustable to accommodate all drivers, and you got a choice of having a full windscreen or just a mini wind-deflector.
You know what? I think the Spider has just made it onto the SuckSqueezeBangBlow lottery wishlist.
These pictures show a Spider I spotted at Goodwood last weekend - I ended up circling around and around it for an improbably long time, drinking in the details. Beautiful little thing.





...and as a bonus, here are two more Spiders that were present on the day.



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