Thursday, 11 June 2015

Renault 5 Gordini Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The words 'Renault 5 Turbo' generally conjure one of two images; either the broad-hipped, mid-engined Group B homologation monster, or the later 5 GT Turbo that offered a force-induced counterpoint to the 205 GTI. The early Gordini Turbo often gets overlooked, and this is a bit of a shame - its elegant, slender profile belies the surprising grunt that's harboured beneath the pert bonnet.
The first-generation Renault 5, built from 1972-85, was a fairly groundbreaking prospect at launch. Taking the hardy mechanicals and hatchback practicality from the Renault 4, it was one of the first cars to have plastic bumpers, and was keenly geared toward the cost-conscious buyer. Of course, hot hatches have existed ever since aftermarket tuners figured out that small cars and big power equalled huge smiles, and manufacturers are always willing to follow suit, so the 1.4-litre Renault 5 Alpine (badged as '5 Gordini' in the UK due to naming disputes) appeared in 1976, offering stiffer suspension, special alloy wheels, and 92bhp - a healthy 100% improvement over the 1.1's power output. And it was in 1982 that the Alpine Turbo/Gordini Turbo appeared, instantly making every other hatchback look that little bit tamer.
It had the same 1.4-litre engine, with a Garrett T3 turbo boosting peak power to 110bhp. It'd do 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds and go on to 112mph, which wasn't to be sniffed at back then.

The example we're looking at here was first registered in the UK in January 1983, and received a full and extensive restoration back in 2004. As you can see, it's been well looked after since, appearing in near-concours condition; everything from the Alpine wheels to the pristine seats were glimmering in the Bromley sunshine, and its cheeky nature was pulling crowds all day long. Lovely little thing.

More photos from the 2015 Bromley Pageant here.

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