Introduced in 1976, the Renault 5 pre-dated the Volkswagen Golf GTi, making it the original hot-hatchback coupe.
Inspired by the success of the Lancia Stratos, Renault's Vice President of Production, Jean Terramorsi, saw an opportunity to modify the Renault 5. Terramorsi tasked Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine. The rear of the car was designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone.
The Renault 5 Turbo was built on a modified Renault 5 chassis and fitted with Renault's C-Type four-cylinder inline engine with Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection and a Garrett T3 turbocharger. A radical change was the switch to rear-wheel drive and the new engine location, which was placed behind the driver. Other changes followed, including to the suspension which would have interfered with the transmission, so a rear double wishbone and coil spring setup was installed.
The Renault R5 Turbo was the most powerful French production car available at the time.
Due to the naming convention, it is easy to confuse the Renault R5 Turbo with the front-wheel drive Renault 5 Gordini Turbo or GT Turbo. However, they were very different. The Renault 5 Turbo was a mid-engined homologation special built in limited numbers for Group B raylling between 1979 and 1986. In road guise, the 1.4-liter overhead-valve engine was tuned to produce around 160 horsepower, giving the R5 Turbo a 0-100 km/h time of around 7 seconds.
The two-seater supercar was first seen in prototype form at the 1978 Paris Salon and made its competition debut in 1980 on the Tour de Corse, where Jean Ragnoti's works car led the event before it was forced to retire due to electrical trouble. In 1981, Ragnotti and his co-driver Jean-Marc Andrie won the Monte Carlo Rally outright for Renault and the following year Ragnotti won the Tour de Corse again.
Competition increased as teams began using four-wheel drive cars so Renault responded with the more powerful Tour de Corse and Maxi Turbo variants, which aided Ragnotti in winning another Tour de Corse victory in 1985. At the close of the season, the works team retired the 5 Turbo from competition.
After the first batch of 400 road cars had been made to satisfy Group 4 homologation volume requirements, a second generation, known as the Turbo 2 was to follow.
In an effort to reduce production costs without sacrificing performance, Renault introduced the Turbo II in 1983. It was a new lighter version which removed the unique interior and replaced the aluminum body panels with steel. It retained the 158 brake horsepower and used the same engine.
The Turbo II was built from 1983 to 1986 with 3,167 examples built. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2018
In 1983, the Renault 5 Turbo II had an MSRP of $22,500. This particular example has air-conditioning and Gotti wheels. It was purchased by the previous owner in the mid-1990s and was used on a regular basis for the five years following its acquisitio....[continue reading]
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