Monday, 22 February 2016

Renault 5 Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

For some, the name 'Renault 5 Turbo' may conjure images of the 205-rival GT Turbo of the mid-to-late eighties, but its genesis lies in this mid-engined looper. 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. The initial plan was to build 400 of these in Dieppe to satisfy Group 4 homologation regs, and the Turbo 2 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.

For today's big-money collectors, however, the Turbo 2 just will not do. The original Turbo is where it's at. While Renault had planned to build 400 of them, demand was sufficient that they actually produced 1,820 - although there's now no way of knowing how many were road cars and how many went straight into competition. Either way, they're rare and significant cars.
This fact is borne out by the price tag of the Olympe Blue example you see before you, for sale here at 4 Star Classics: £89,995. Strewth.
What that sodding great gob of cash buys you is a concours example with just 35,815 miles on the clock. Every inch of it is pristine, but the best part of all is the interior. It's just deranged. It looks like the sort of thing you might dream up in a befuddling fug of absinthe overuse.
Best pop off and buy a lottery ticket then, yes?

More from the London Classic Car Show here.

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