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RE: SOTW: Renault 5 GT Turbo

RE: SOTW: Renault 5 GT Turbo

Friday 19th November 2010

SOTW: Renault 5 GT Turbo

Max Power is dead (sort of...), long live the unmolested R5 GT T!

It’s almost unheard of for me to shun a £1000 barge when choosing a shed, but this week the lure of a hot hatch was overwhelming. Perhaps it’s a mid-life crisis, perhaps it’s the happy memories of my youth, or perhaps it was this week's news that publication of Max Power is being 'suspended'? Whatever it is, the appeal of this Renault 5 GT Turbo has proved too strong to ignore.

Despite there being an abundance of new small hatches to choose from, they don’t quite stir the soul in the way the original lightweight versions did back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This was a time when cars like the 205, Fiesta, AX and the Renault 5 were the first choice for popping to the shops. It was also a time when many manufacturers started to do silly things to those shopper’s favourites, sticking on bodykits, and upgrading chassis, braking and power.

While the 205GTI is the car most covet from this period, many buyers at the timewere only after one thing – a TURBO badge on the bootlid. Cast your mind back and remember oddities like the Fuego Turbo, the Metro Turbo, the Bluebird Turbo and the Piazza Turbo, all from a time when the turbo was King. As a hatch fan though, you either sat in the Ford RS camp or stood up for the 5 GTT like me.

Small, fast Renaults are nothing new with a tradition of Gordinis going back for many years, but the 5 Turbo was a standalone Renault product when it was launched in 1985. The earlier (phase 1) cars were fitted with an eight-valve 1397cc Garrett T2 turbocharged engine, developing 113hp, which when added to a car weighing only 850kg translated into a 0-62 time of 7.1 seconds and all the torque steer you could handle. Visually they were more agressive than your Mothers 'Campus' edition with the usual ingredients of front fogs, alloys, sports seats and bodykit.

The Phase II was launched in 1987 and saw water-cooling added for the turbo and a new ignition system that allowed the engine to rev 500rpm higher than the earlier version. These changes increased power to 118hp but retained the lairy character of the original, wrapped up in more sophisticated, colour-coded body-styling

I have never owned a GTT myself, but I did spend plenty of time in friends' cars and I have fond memories of the French tin rockets. Firstly, you really didn’t want to crash one as I don’t think I have ever been in a car that feels so flimsily built, and one where you could dent the door simply by leaning on it. Secondly, I remember how damn fast these things felt from standstill and how the driver did their best to keep the car in a straight line in anything other than bone dry conditions. Perhaps my inexperience of fast cars played a part here, but I had never felt anything as fast.

Lastly I remember owners being under the bonnet more often than behind the wheel, often asking for lifts as they awaited parts or rolled their eyes at the latest engine failure. Despite all of this I wanted one (in fact, I still want one today), but finding an unmolested example proves very hard.

This weeks turbo-shed has miraculously escaped being adorned with Halfords ‘finest’ and even sports the standard-fit exhaust system. It has been lowered though, and is fitted with an aftermarket air filter, but we think a largely original 5 Turbo at £1000 is not to be ignored.

The vendor states that it’s even running standard boost which is almost unheard of nowadays. What would a return to standard suspension cost you anyway? Not a lot in all probability, and once that is done you will be left with a great looking, useable hatch.

You can’t deny that the 5 GTT image is lacking somewhat, largely thanks to the plethora of ‘tuning’ magazines encouraging you to alter the fast Five. But in the week that Max Power has admitted defeat, perhaps it's time to brush those stereotypes away and relive your youth while you still can. All we ask is that you keep it nice and standard, so it can look the way Renault intended for years to come.

Advert (as written by vendor): Renault 5 GT Turbo (1990), 83,000 miles. This is my renault 5 turbo, its done 80,000 miles has tax and mot till march next year. its compleatly standard apart from its been lowered and has an air filter. still running standard boost and all original pipe work. inside is mint with original drivers seat. it does have dents but its 20 years old.... this sun roof has been stuck shut. small area of paint has been chipped off the drivers door. had new front breaks n uprated head gasket. no part exchange. £1000 


anything fast

983 posts

86 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Fantastic little car, only major problem with these babies is the common overheating, but easily cured with a decent intercooler. But for a £1000 a great little car! Nice colour as well, thank the lord its not been MAXED!!! The older and rarer they get the more valuable they will become, a future classic indeed! smilesmile


Original Poster:

1,224 posts

157 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Incredible (Junglist massive) on loop ?



19 posts

87 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Tick, ticky timebomb, but loads of fun before it blows i bet


9,755 posts

98 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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I had one of these from new - Great car, had a few tiny niggles, but nothing catastrophic.

A colleague over-revved his (no girly rev limiter then) and popped a pushrod out - He put it back in and it was right as rain.

Also, whilst they may have been lightweight - Behind the wheel it always felt much safer than my Vauxhall Calibra, because you knew you could scrub off the speed in the 5.


Edited by marcosgt on Friday 19th November 09:42


3,753 posts

124 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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2,376 posts

96 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Great cars always wanted one since they're abit rarer than a 205 gti.


1,654 posts

144 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Love them!

Still unsure I'd risk the ownership of one though - even my 2004 Clio 172 was problematic reliabilty-wise. I can only image the fun I'd have with a 20 year old Renault...


9,148 posts

151 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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IOM Q said:
Tick, ticky timebomb, but loads of fun before it blows i bet
Well it's still here (in the most part) 20 years from creation so it can't be that bad. biggrin

To be honest, a number of friends had them (going back a bit). Two were amazingly reliable, even when tuned with 'Pace' front-mount intercoolers and high boost etc.
The other was a bit of a dog and didn't like any significant increase in power.

Really flimsy but when you only need sub 120bhp to get you a 7 sec 0-60, who is complaining. Makes the current crop of 200bhp hot-hatches look like school busses. smile


1,888 posts

134 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Doesn't look bad for a grand, if theres little rust around the windscreen/under rear windows/sills that could be a bargain!

They go bloody well just running a bar boost.


16,861 posts

204 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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I had one back in 1992 (an H reg in the same colour). It was great fun albeit didnt really feel that fast, nippy maybe.
Chap in my town had one of the BBR ones. He sold his Esprit and spent some 9k (in 1992!) on an engine build to get some 280 bhp.
Lots of my friends also had them with lots of remaps, exhaust options etc....
Mine was eventually stolen from me (doh didnt have an alarm etc) and was cut up by a policeman running a car ringing business whilst on sick leave. the police even watched mine be stolen as they were watching the bent coppers gang. When I threatened to sue the police I got a call from CID who made me aware that messing with them wasnt a great idea!
Oh happy memories!
Oh and the mileage on this one...you can unplug speedo in 10 seconds and stop the miles going on (apparently!).


374 posts

155 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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I had a black one as my first car...rapid, but rediculously unreliable! Would i have another...i'd love one!


10,255 posts

135 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Oh yes - another fan here! I used to lust after the dark blue Raiders..

...sadly insurance kept them well out of my paws 'back in the day'


1,060 posts

107 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Must resist...


242 posts

109 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Had an electric blue one of these back in the mid ' 90's and loved it was pretty reliable from what I recall and a huge amount of fun...but yes you would not want to have a crash in one !

Sorely tempted by this shed.


271 posts

111 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Love it - superb shed. Seems quite cheap to me - most of the decent unmolested ones in the classifieds are £2k plus...

Speaking of the classifieds, people really do some terrible things to these cars don't they?


311 posts

103 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Nice shed! smile

The Donster

149 posts

127 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Lusted after one myself back in the day, but as I couldn't afford to buy and insure one I ended up going for the phase 2 11 Turbo instead. I could get a decent insurance quote on it, still went really well (not much slower than the 5GTT) and was much cheaper to buy.

Yes, it was an undesirable alternative to the 5 (much like the 309 GTi was to the 205 GTi), but it had the all-important Turbo badge on the back and that was important for a late teen/early twentysomething back in the early 90s.


1,443 posts

118 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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surprisingly nippy, I'm not sure this one would still do 60 in 7.5 seconds though..


918 posts

102 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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Loving the stereotypical reliability comments laugh I have never particularly had any issues with any of the number of 5's I've had.. it's just lack of maintenance, and simply winding up the boost without fuelling changes which kills them.

I do love mine though, and I would recomend one to anyone who is willing to look after their car.

£1000 for that looks really cheap. Tidy ones are starting to go for much more these days.


100 posts

112 months

Friday 19th November 2010
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i had a white one of these in 1993 / 4, bought it after p/exing my terminally dying 1.6 gti 205. had it for about 4 months before writing it off on an icy road in shropshire. went through a hedge backwards and rolled twice in a field. not sure what you saying about crash safety, car ended up on its side, drivers side down, we both walked away unhurt, not even a scratch. had to climb out through the passenger door upwards. it was written off. farmer who owned the field in which we crashed was more concerned with the prospect of cows escaping through the hole we made in the hedge than our safety. was on my way to meet my then girlfriend's parents for the first time. they were very impressed. as you can imagine.