RE: Renault 5 Turbo 2 | PH Heroes

RE: Renault 5 Turbo 2 | PH Heroes

Thursday 25th July

Renault 5 Turbo 2 | PH Heroes

Less focussed and cheaper than the original homologation special - but no less exciting



In the 40 years since Renault effectively changed the course of Formula 1 engineering with its giant-slaying turbocharged RS10, the brand has produced some pretty spectacular forced induction machinery. But nothing stands taller than the 5 Turbo, Renault's mid-engined hatch built to homologate the R5 which brought Jean Ragnotti victory in the 1981 Monte Carlo Rally. The road version was the 911 Turbo of hatchbacks, with butch body extensions and air intakes custom fitted over a dinky rear-driven chassis which had a 160hp blown four-pot in its bowels. It was the sort of automotive madness only the French could produce - and it was brilliant.

The Turbo 2 that followed in 1983 actually looked a bit soft in comparison because it took several steps backwards. While it had the same 160hp from a mid-mounted 1.4 motor that drove the back wheels, it was built on the more conventional Alpine 5 Turbo. That meant the Turbo 2 didn't get an aluminium roof, aluminium doors or a cabin retrimmed with a pair of lovely Bertone seats. It was a slightly less exotic follow-up, albeit one that still wore swollen arches and a set of larger wheels which filled them more broadly (even at a dinky 14 inches!). All could be forgiven for that.

The Turbo 2 also, more significantly, cost less than the earlier car and in spite of the heavier setup, its performance was equally capable of shaming its supposed betters. The sprint to 62mph came in 6.6 seconds and top speed was 130mph, which in the early eighties was ruddy quick, and with its wider wheels the Turbo 2's mechanical grip was higher through the bends. Key to the Turbo's character was the placement of the 1,397cc four behind its occupants, concealed beneath a thin cover wrapped in thick carpet - often in brown or beige as per the era's tastes - and producing its peak torque as the crankshaft span at 6,000rpm, somewhere close to your buttocks.


Today, the prospect of sharing a cabin with a combustion engine is no less bizarre than it was four decades ago. Barring its spiritual successor, the Clio V6, it's hard to think of any cars that have placed an engine so brazenly in the cabin. So slipping into Renault Classic's immaculately kept and brilliantly period brown Turbo 2 feels truly special, even if the plastics of the dash are recognisable from a standard 5 and the seating position similarly cramped. The design and ergonomics are typical of the period - and French hatchbacks in general - and even the engine's requirement for a healthy dose of open throttle before it kicks into life behind you feels age-appropriate.

We often talk about contemporary turbocharged engines having a noticeable pick up in performance somewhere in the rev range, but nothing on sale today offers the same palpable step in power as the 5's gravelly four-pot. The engine feels as sluggish as you'd imagine a 1.4 would under 3,000rpm, but then, as if the next 100rpm has re-ignited two previously dead plugs, the boost gauge rapidly rotates from nine o'clock to three o'clock and the 5 really gets going. Our drive on the technical layout of France's La FertΓ©-Gaucher circuit leaves little space for bulkhead finding throttle inputs, but it's clear that any driver to fall below the 3k mark in a straight race would be left for dead. This is an engine that needs to be kept on the boil; a real contrast to today's turbocharged motors. But you know what, it suits the car perfectly.

The five-speed gearbox also operates within a narrow window of functionality, which is to say it does not like to be rushed - but nor does it like a hesitant hand. You must be steady yet consistently positive with your shift action both up and down the ratios, because the gate is tight but the lever is very light so it's easy to be sloppy with movements. The placement of reverse just to to the left of second without any form of protection (like a lift action) means shifting down from third is downright terrifying the first few times. You soon learn the 'box's quirks though, and as with the motor, it becomes a joy to master.


Then there's the chassis. The steering wheel is placed awkwardly low against a high-set seat but the feedback of an unassisted system is so dense and talkative that you won't care. Tuning into the grip at the front axle is immediate, which means you build entry speed confidence quickly and then begin to lead evermore assuredly on the back. There's none of the swing-around oversteer that such a short wheelbase mid-engined setup ought to provoke (that being said, we're not venturing past seven tenths in such a valuable machine) nor any looseness to the body control even when trailing a brake. Instead, there's a wonderfully delicate rotation of the chassis, around some unseen centre point. It feels so intuitively manageable that you need not even apply corrective lock, the unassisted steering provides a quarter turn itself if you leave your grip on the wheel light enough.

The accompanying squeaks of a 36-year-old interior - and a simmering awareness of the car's value - ensures a neat straightening of exit line. Were the engine spinning furiously at 5,000rpm and were we more committed, there is enough to suggest that the Turbo 2 would dance sideways out of La FertΓ©-Gaucher's sweeping bends. Not that it really matters, because the biggest surprise is not the car's limit handling, but rather the genuine driving pleasure it dispenses without threatening to blow your socks off. There's a more supple, mature machine beneath that steroidal skin than you might imagine. Now, perhaps even more so than back then, it is something to savour.


SPECIFICATION - RENAULT 5 TURBO 2
Engine: 1,397cc, inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 160@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 163@3,250rpm
0-62mph: 6.6sec
Top speed: 130mph
Weight: 970kg
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Price new: N/A

Inspired? Search for a Renault 5 here






Author
Discussion

blueg33

Original Poster:

21,566 posts

168 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
So what is its value?

tobinen

5,216 posts

89 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
I'd love one. Always have when I first saw one in France as a nipper

kambites

57,215 posts

165 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
blueg33 said:
So what is its value?
Well the two in the classifieds are both in the £60-70k range.

Venisonpie

393 posts

26 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Lots of talk about the engine in the cabin but no photos?

blueg33

Original Poster:

21,566 posts

168 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
kambites said:
blueg33 said:
So what is its value?
Well the two in the classifieds are both in the £60-70k range.
My point really was the article mentioned value a couple of times at least and then didnt tell you what it was.

Not for me at that money despite rarity etc

kambites

57,215 posts

165 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
blueg33 said:
My point really was the article mentioned value a couple of times at least and then didnt tell you what it was.
Yes that did seem a bit odd, which is why I want to look what they cost. smile

Rozzers

300 posts

19 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Fantastic machine.

6.6 seconds to 60 in 1983 was supercar territory and proabably more reliably producing that power than some plug fouling Italian 8-12 cylinder machine with a pizza sized distributor.

These have always been stiff money though and I hope they are all well preserved,

Electro1980

175 posts

83 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
blueg33 said:
kambites said:
blueg33 said:
So what is its value?
Well the two in the classifieds are both in the £60-70k range.
My point really was the article mentioned value a couple of times at least and then didnt tell you what it was.

Not for me at that money despite rarity etc
B
I’m guessingermymyu you were not born between 1975 & 1985? For me it would be worth every penny, if I had the money to buy a garage queen as part of a selection of toys. It is of an age. Totally mad and I remember it as a bedroom wall poster along side things like a Countach or F40. But unlike those it had a feeling of being attainable and in some ways like the Renault 5 you saw every day, but at the same time exotic and totally mental.

The only thing that every came close was the 6R4. But the 6R4 was never really a production car and always struggled with image to some extent every day as the base 5 was kind of cool and french where as the Metro was not.

The Clio V6 came close again, but was a little bit more refined and whilst by all accounts it was an animal, at least the gen 1, the 5, with its turbo lag and more extreme look, felt like it would throw you in a ditch at every opportunity and then fk off down the pub on its own to have a fight with the local football hooligans.

Krikkit

15,705 posts

125 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
kambites said:
blueg33 said:
So what is its value?
Well the two in the classifieds are both in the £60-70k range.
And the mint Renault one will probably be x2 that again.

Fantastic cars, every one of the Group B homologation road versions tickles my fancy. This or a 205 T16? What a choice to make.

quality matters

28 posts

90 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
I remember my uncle having one in about 1984. It was a gold colour and to a 14 year old like me at the time it was an awesome car.
It was also off the road for a couple of months as he waited for some replacement rear tyres to come from France as there were none in Blighty

DBSnappa

80 posts

175 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
There is only one “s” in focused. Sort your bloody spellcheck PH, it’s happening all the bloody time!

CDP

5,718 posts

198 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Always loved these since I was a kid. There was something chunkily right about them.

kambites

57,215 posts

165 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
DBSnappa said:
There is only one “s” in focused. Sort your bloody spellcheck PH, it’s happening all the bloody time!
They're both valid. I think double S is the British English version, single S the American English one.

Unsorted

137 posts

6 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
And the mint Renault one will probably be x2 that again.

Fantastic cars, every one of the Group B homologation road versions tickles my fancy. This or a 205 T16? What a choice to make.
How things changed. Owned a red Turbo 1 converted by Radford(?) to RHD. Bought from Brundles for 10K circa 1997 and proved almost impossible to sell, eventually going for £6K to a luminary in club. Was collected by the club fella and he tasked a friend who looked like a tubby Alain Prost to drive car back. Few days later the Police turn up as the car was crashed on M23 in some style on way home from purchase!!!! Racing might have been involved.

The car itself. Ventilation terrible, but having owned a 956cc TL as first car, this was a given. Not sure how conversion done, but if left outside in icing conditions the throttle tended to freeze and stick which was exciting. Driving at night there was often flashes of flame from rear of car, which was also exciting. Car was universally loved by men and derided by women. Easy to drive.

Turbobanana

1,445 posts

145 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Unsorted said:
How things changed. Owned a red Turbo 1 converted by Radford(?) to RHD. Bought from Brundles for 10K circa 1997 and proved almost impossible to sell, eventually going for £6K to a luminary in club. Was collected by the club fella and he tasked a friend who looked like a tubby Alain Prost to drive car back. Few days later the Police turn up as the car was crashed on M23 in some style on way home from purchase!!!! Racing might have been involved.

The car itself. Ventilation terrible, but having owned a 956cc TL as first car, this was a given. Not sure how conversion done, but if left outside in icing conditions the throttle tended to freeze and stick which was exciting. Driving at night there was often flashes of flame from rear of car, which was also exciting. Car was universally loved by men and derided by women. Easy to drive.
I had one too. In yellow, with black stripes down the side and "Corgi" written on the chassis...

sideways man

683 posts

81 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Top car! This is what happens when Renault designers go down the pub on Friday and have too many Pernod laugh

Alex_225

3,434 posts

145 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
It's ugly, impractical, probably not even the best to drive but it's absolutely wonderful and I would have one in a heartbeat!

Back in about 2007 I recall wanting one of these, I'd moved house and had a garage. At the time I had an RS Megane I'd bought from new in 2006. I thought I'd sell that and buy an R5 Turbo. I didn't, I ended up keeping the Megane and despite it's ridiculously low mileage it's probably worth £2k.

If I'd have bought an R5 Turbo for £20k it would be worth 2-3 times that! B*gger.

generationx

2,307 posts

49 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
By it. Do this to it. Rally it.



(Seen on the Eifel Historic last weekend).

They're awesome.

molineux1980

1,049 posts

163 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all
Love these PH hero pieces. It would be great to have on board footage of the track laps to hear the cars and see them in motion, most of us will never have the chance to experience them.

Pericoloso

40,310 posts

107 months

Thursday 25th July
quotequote all


What's not to like.

Same event as mentioned above ,2018.