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Monday 9th July 2012

PH Carpool: Clio Renaultsport 200 Gordini

The return of Gordini revived happy memories for this week's carpooler - happy enough to revisit the name



Name: Derek Theobald
Car: Clio Renaultsport 200 Gordini
Owned since: July 2010
Previously owned: Mini Clubman S JCW

Love of his old Renault 8 Gordini inspired Derek
Love of his old Renault 8 Gordini inspired Derek
Why I bought it:
My first car, when I was 17, was a Dauphine and in my 20s I was fortunate enough to own, for a short period, an Renault 8 Gordini. Naturally as this was the late 60s, early 70s and the heyday of DIY tuning (in my opinion) I also had my fair selection of Minis and Cortinas.

Based on the nostalgic reasoning that 'every day was a sunny day' in my youth, I had been driving the new Minis since their release in 2001 - latterly a JCW Clubman S.

At about the same time as I was considering a change, the announcement that the Gordini name was to be revived caught my eye, so armed with the 'rose-coloured spectacles' of my early Renault experience I decided this would probably be the right car for me.

What I wish I'd known:
In this internet age researching a car is pretty straightforward, but my main inspiration was as a result of lurking on a couple of news groups. Of course there were some negatives and niggles, but overall I noted a genuine enthusiasm for the marque.

I spoke with a few dealers, all of whom had good product knowledge, and a couple of test drives later I knew I had made the right decision - this car did indeed live up to its reputation.

My initial thoughts were for Racing Blue with Recaros and the Renaultsport Monitor, but the lure of the Gordini association eventually won through and came with the added bonus of immediate delivery as opposed to the normal three-month wait.

Badge brings back many happy memories
Badge brings back many happy memories
Things I love:
The styling for me is an absolute eye-catcher and I have, on occasion, found myself opening the garage just to have a look.

Driving it never fails to put a smile on my face and I have in many a service area found myself in conversation with total strangers about the car and, for people over 50, the fact that it bears the Gordini name.

Around town, or on the motorway, the car provides a comfortable mode of transport but once on the track it morphs into a machine that looks, sounds and behaves like a car with a racing pedigree and heritage.

Things I hate:
Hate is much too strong a word but niggles? Yes, a few.

The rear brakes that bind if the car is parked when there is the merest hint of moisture in the air. The hassle of removing the front brake pad securing pins undamaged, as replacements are £30 per wheel.

The radio resetting itself to a level below which my aged ears require whenever it is switched off.

The glitzy end of the Renaultsport spectrum
The glitzy end of the Renaultsport spectrum
Costs:
Road tax at £245 was a bit of an eye-opener and mpg is not great by today's standards but keeping the engine at or below 4,000rpm returns 30mpg on average.

Being an experienced older driver (read: 'more sensible') and living 'out in the sticks' means that insurance costs well under £300.

I would qualify this by saying that economy was not a major consideration when I purchased the car, so running costs for me are acceptable.

I do have four Renault dealerships within 25 miles of my home but, as an RS specialist, I have used Gravells in Kidwelly although, with the car approaching two years old and 18,000 miles, so far I have only needed a first service and a change of brake pads (now Ferodo DS2500).

Where I've been:
A visit to the Alpine factory in Dieppe to see Renaultsport Clios being assembled, without a robot in sight, provided a fascinating and entertaining experience, plus Renault track days at Silverstone and Brands during 2011.

I've got the same planned for 2012 at Silverstone, Oulton and Brands but the outstanding event was at Spa Francorchamps, which managed to combine a trip, a track day and an experience into an unforgettable occasion.

Spa, Dieppe, Silverstone - it's well travelled
Spa, Dieppe, Silverstone - it's well travelled
What next?
No plans at the moment but the demise of the 2.0-litre normally aspirated Clio in September is a bit of a disappointment.

The replacement is strongly rumoured to be a five-door 1.6-litre turbo which, if I compare the current Clio with my Mini experience, does not excite me.

That said, if Renault uses the same 'magic wand' on the new car then I may well be tempted as I would now very much like to stay with the brand.


Want to share your car with PHers on Carpool? Email us at carpool@pistonheads.com!


Danny Milner
2
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Author Discussion

jellison

Original Poster:

12,719 posts

160 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Is this a CLIO Cup with some dodgy bling?

Lione1 Richie

157 posts

66 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
I am deeply in love with my 197, and the 200 is even better (though not cost to change better for me wink)

Can't fault your choice and glad to see it's being used on track, like it should! Originally I wasn't a fan of the Gordini but it's certainly growing on me.

I'd hang onto it as I think the 200 will be the last of the truly great N/A hot hatches.

BigTom85

934 posts

54 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
jellison said:
Is this a CLIO Cup with some dodgy bling?
Perhaps not dodgy, but yes its a few cosmetic bits basically (I'd never heard of the Clio Gordini until this article, so I'm not exactly an expert! rofl )

http://www.evo.co.uk/news/evonews/248905/renault_c...


MarJay

1,860 posts

58 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
My uncle used to have a Renault 5 Gordini, and it was quick. Almost as quick as my Mum's 1.7 litre 5 Monaco.

jellison

Original Poster:

12,719 posts

160 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
BigTom85 said:
jellison said:
Is this a CLIO Cup with some dodgy bling?
Perhaps not dodgy, but yes its a few cosmetic bits basically (I'd never heard of the Clio Gordini until this article, so I'm not exactly an expert! rofl )

http://www.evo.co.uk/news/evonews/248905/renault_c...
Ah OK then. Apart from the dodgy paint stripe and Bling I do really rate the std Cups. Al nice Silver with the funny grill gill in Carbon and block rims is what I'd have - perfect everyday shooper / spuer car beating pocket rocket.
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Thejimreaper

3,157 posts

88 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Nice write up. I wasnt a fan of the styling of the Gordini when I first saw it advertised but it has definitely grown on me. Cool plate as well!!

I wish my dad was that cool! he drives a gold Berlingo!!

Joe M

111 posts

128 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
jellison said:
Ah OK then. Apart from the dodgy paint stripe and Bling I do really rate the std Cups. Al nice Silver with the funny grill gill in Carbon and block rims is what I'd have - perfect everyday shooper / spuer car beating pocket rocket.
I dont think the Gordini has the cup chassis as standard? Isnt it just a highly specced 200?

Lione1 Richie

157 posts

66 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
It's essentially a Full Fat 200 (so all the toys and comfort stuff plus the cup chassis) and then some additional cosmetic items thrown on top.

Jonny TVR

1,073 posts

164 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
always wanted a renault 5 gordini

Nightmare

4,639 posts

167 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Jonny TVR said:
always wanted a renault 5 gordini
guy i went to Uni with had one...and damn could he drive....it was a bloody impressive machine all round
great write-up, article made me smile a lot smile

PokiGTA

60 posts

73 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
We recently leased one of these from Renault for 11,000kms thru Europe and the UK. Was FABULOUS!

Driving into Monaco in an RS Clio Gordini - perfect.

LuS1fer

31,685 posts

128 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
I like the 197 but Gordinis should be French Blue and this looks more darker and metallic?

Not sure stripes suit small hatches either and prefer more subtle appearances.

I should perhaps point out for you that CL10 is a local South Wales plate issue so I assume was registered on purpose by the dealer rather than being a private plate.

Edited by LuS1fer on Monday 9th July 14:35

Mermaid

16,981 posts

54 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
"My first car, when I was 17, was a Dauphine and in my 20s I was fortunate enough to own, for a short period, an Renault 8 Gordini"

thumbup - 2 special cars.

Pistonwot

413 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Its an overpriced and gimmicky marketing tool.
Renault are ruining their own history and smudging Gordini's name in order to sell a few already half decent Clio's, there's no substance to the vehicle at all.
Extra spring rate? Nope. Extra power? Nope. Extra large brakes? Nope. etc
Extra tat however,,, yes there's plenty of that.
Renault ought to be ashamed of itself.

Furyblade_Lee

3,346 posts

107 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Pistonwot said:
Its an overpriced and gimmicky marketing tool.
Renault are ruining their own history and smudging Gordini's name in order to sell a few already half decent Clio's, there's no substance to the vehicle at all.
Extra spring rate? Nope. Extra power? Nope. Extra large brakes? Nope. etc
Extra tat however,,, yes there's plenty of that.
Renault ought to be ashamed of itself.
How true. A Clio Gordini should be stripped to the bare bones, and one-make championship in place just like the 8 Gordini. And at least be proper French Blue.

Mark-C

1,850 posts

88 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Mermaid said:
"My first car, when I was 17, was a Dauphine and in my 20s I was fortunate enough to own, for a short period, an Renault 8 Gordini"

thumbup - 2 special cars.
Absolutely - lucky man!

And whilst this Clio isn't seeming to get a lot of love it's a really good write up of one man and his car. He's happy and he uses it ... what's not to like?

LuS1fer

31,685 posts

128 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Furyblade_Lee said:
How true. A Clio Gordini should be stripped to the bare bones, and one-make championship in place just like the 8 Gordini. And at least be proper French Blue.
Like M cars, all badges are marketing.

Zajda

88 posts

30 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
This styling packet is not only desecration of Gordini name, but it's unbelievably cheap looking too. Std 200 for me please... and I'd put 197 front grill on if it's technically possible.


Edited by Zajda on Tuesday 10th July 00:17

nick30

131 posts

54 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
Great read Derek, thanks for sharing.

I have to say the negative views of the 200 Gordini are getting a bit tiresome.

They are a brilliant car, although i do wish they came with Cup Chassis and leather Recaros as standard but all the other bits that they are kitted out with are great. Ive never had any problems with mine - the breaks have been fine (well brilliant actually) and so has the stereo.

The service I have to say from coming from a few VW's is very good and so far has been better from the two Renualt garages Ive used than the numerous VW garages Ive been to over the years. To be honest I was a bit worried about reliability with Renault but so far so good; after 16 months Gordon hasnt skipped a beat. Truly brilliant car to drive and own.

Just to share a couple of pics of mine..






LuS1fer

31,685 posts

128 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
I don't understand the Gordini bashing either - the fact is the standard car is a million times better and more capable than Gordinis in the past which were good versions of really rather dire cars. We should thank Renault that it didn't think the car needed upgrading because it's a damned good package as is.

It should be French Blue though. wink
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