Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Renault 5 Turbo 2

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There's something gloriously retro about brown, isn't there? The 1970s and early '80s were a real boomtime for chocolate-hued motors, after which point it became distinctly unfashionable; the colour's had a massive resurgence recently, with MINI, Fiat and BMW leading the charge, but it'll always be the end of the colour palette that resides in a simpler time.
I also love that this sensible-trousers hue would be slathered over such a ridiculous thing as a 5 Turbo - these were bonkers, indescribably scary homologation models, surely more at home in a lurid lipstick red or French racing blue... the idea of painting one brown is just deranged. It looks outstanding.

The original 5 Turbo was introduced as a hair-raising road model that served as a box-ticking exercise to allow the company to go rallying. The slender proportions of the hatchback were ballooned cartoonishly with broad hips that near enough doubled the width of the car, and the engine was relocated to where the rear seats would be, augmented by an effervescent turbocharger. 400 of these were built in Dieppe to satisfy Group 4 homologation regs, and the Turbo 2 (as we see here) followed shortly after; this was a car that appeased the accountants in that it had fewer bespoke or expensive-to-produce parts - fewer light-alloy body panels, for example - but it was no less manic. 160bhp in a car that weighed under 1,000kg was pretty hairy in the early eighties (hell, it still is now), and its short wheelbase meant that you really had to pay attention to what the tail was up to, especially in the wet.

This particular example rolled out of the Renault Alpine factory in Dieppe in November 1983, and remains in its original production spec. While it's estimated that around 160 Turbo 2s were officially imported to the UK in period, this one spent much of its life in central France before being privately imported to England in 2011. It's got just 51,000 kilometres on the clock - each one of them presumably being a bit scary and soundtracked by manic laughter - and, most reassuringly of all, that delicious, mile-deep brown is the original paint. Looks good enough to lick, doesn't it?

More from the 2015 Classic Motor Show here.

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