RE: Renault 5 Gordini | Spotted

RE: Renault 5 Gordini | Spotted

Wednesday 12th February

Renault 5 Gordini | Spotted

Quite possibly the best kept example of the rarest Gordini 5 model ever produced



The Renault 5 is best remembered for its turbocharged performances in 1980s motorsport, so it's easy to forget that naturally-aspirated performance variants existed first. The original 5 Gordini is the lowest volume example of such a model, using Renault's push-rod overhead valve 1.4-litre four-cylinder without a blower to produce 94hp. It was a revvy, peppy model, capable of hitting 60mph in about 10 seconds, and wearing alloys and Gordini stripes to create a fashionable Dieppe answer to the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

But things really got going when the Gordini was succeeded by a turbocharged version, because it upped power from the 1.4 to 110hp at 6,000rpm and torque to 109lb ft from 85lb ft in the N/A car. The boosted model is not to be confused with the red-blooded 5 Turbo -Renault's homologation special for rallying - instead the Gordini represented the cheapest turbocharged car on the market at the start of the eighties, when forced induction was rare and exotic. It cost Β£5,750, or just Β£22k in today's money, so its success in Europe was practically guaranteed. To the detriment, of course, of its oft-forgotten predecessor.


The unboosted Gordini remains an absolute peach, though, because the lively handling of the 3.5-metre-long Renault 5 feels well matched to an engine which needs to be thrashed. Consider the setup: 13-inch wheels, an unassisted steering rack (albeit one requiring 3.7 turns to get from lock to lock) and a chassis that sets its axles just 2.4 metres apart. Oh, and squishy suspension quite happy to lift an inside rear wheel clear off the tarmac. You can just imagine how energetic a Gordini must feel on a technical stretch of B-road. But, like a Golf GTI and even Mini Cooper, the car has also felt right at home in a city, its large diameter steering wheel helping to reduce the low-speed workload of that rack.

The Gordini's biggest (not literally) rival, of course, came in the form of the Mk1 GTI, a car that had the Renault easily beaten for interior build quality and overall usability, mostly because the 5 was renowned for being a bit out of its depth on the motorway. But much like an RS Megane in today, the Renault 5 was extremely fashionable in its own, overtly French way; arguably it was the quirkiest of a then small but burgeoning hot hatch sector. Certainly, it's always been up there with the very best when it comes to the bare bones of driving fun; plus, the Gordini link and Renault's motorsport efforts give even this early non-turbo 5 plenty of additional appeal. A certain je ne sais quoi, you might say.


Yet today, it's the turbo cars that dominate. Especially since last year, when Renault celebrated the 40th anniversary of the RS10's first win for a turbo car in F1. But today's Spotted, an immaculately kept 1981 Gordini reminds us just how lovely the earlier N/A version is. This one is labelled as the best in Britain by its seller, owner number two of the freshly serviced and rust-protected Gordini, and we've little reason to doubt that. It may even be the best one in existence, with just 30,000 miles on the clock, full and extensive service history and an interior that backs claims this car has spent the last decade only appearing on sunny Sundays and otherwise staying dry in storage. The car was actually shipped to New York when its custodian moved to the States, but with them now in Hawaii, it's returned to Britain and has reluctantly been put up for sale. We doubt it'll hang around long.


SPECIFICATION - RENAULT 5 GORDINI
Engine:
1,397cc, inline four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 94@6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 85@4,000rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Recorded mileage: 30,000
First registered: 1981
Price new: Β£5,750 (about Β£22,220 today)
Yours for: Β£16,995

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Author
Discussion

Augustus Windsock

Original Poster:

1,918 posts

105 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Despite the price (and how do you value such a low mileage and limited availability version), I would
In fact I’d probably take this over whatever the £22k-today equivalent is.

Lotobear

1,720 posts

78 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
It's said that they used to get away quicker than Houdini

Augustus Windsock

Original Poster:

1,918 posts

105 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
In fact didn’t Roger Cook (BBC1 ‘The Cook Report’) own one of these?
I seem to remember it appearing in Motor or Autocar as he lived in the Isle of Man and it was turbocharged (I seem to remember it was by Janspeed?)
As an aside, around the same mags also featured a E28 BMW 528 or 535 which was also turbocharged by Janspeed, the Renault and BMW launching my love of all things ‘turbo’

T1berious

1,245 posts

105 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
It's funny how it all comes back round right? My 1st Turbo car was Renault 5 GT Turbo, which I absolutely loved and even kept when I got a Corrado VR6. Fast forward 20 years and both cars in the fleet are twin turbo, having replaced N/A cars.

This looks real time warp but I still get misty eyed when I see a R5 GTT

Goes off to look at the classifieds

sjabrown

1,367 posts

110 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Interesting, but not £17k of interesting! I'll stick to my own cheaper early French hot hatch

New Scot

200 posts

181 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Wow! Looks just like the one I had, it replaced a wasp-yellow 5TS and was brilliant fun. Only issues I can remember were the heater not being any use in sub-zero temperatures on motorways, and the advent of the Golf GTi!

Jonny TVR

2,758 posts

231 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
I wanted one of these as my first car back in '87 but for the same money (£500) I got a mk2 escort! At this level they would have been complete rust buckets which is what my escort was for sure

Rumblestripe

1,377 posts

112 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
I had an early R5, a '74 if memory does not fail me. Lemon yellow and had the gear shift coming out of the dashboard connected by a rod linkage over the top of the engine to the gearbox in front of the engine (making this technically mid-engined!) It was an absolute hoot to drive even though it only had a 1.1 engine it loved to rev (by the standards of the day) but it was the soft suspension that was the most fun. It would roll into the corner like a drunk at kicking out time, but it would hang on like a limpet it was hilarious to watch passengers terror as the horizon tilted improbably before them! At the time I had a Jack Russell Terrier who would ride up front with me and she would lean into bends like a motorcyclist!

Fond memories,

I remember considering a Gordini when the floor eventually rusted away from mine but chickened out from the example I saw which needed quite a bit of mechanical work though it looked pretty rust free.

1602Mark

13,028 posts

123 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
I spent 9 months running Gordini turbo when they were just a few hundred quid. The best one I owned was a LHD version badged Alpine, that the previous owner had tweaked and upped the boost slightly. So much fun, although you had to let a bit of warmth get into the rear tyres or else it would step out far too easily. It also torque steered like a mother hubbard. Great fun though.

Gtom

760 posts

82 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
That car and trailer combo is way over what that connect should be towing. 800kg max if I remember right.

griffdude

1,611 posts

198 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
My family were serial Renault offenders in the 70s/80s & we had pretty much every model manufactured (think we had a total of 21 R4s).
I really enjoyed driving the tweaked R5 although bent a few pushrods trying to keep up with a friends Vauxhall Magnum. Having said that, the R5 thought me a lot about holding speed, handling & steering a FWD car on the throttle.
Followed by a few 205s that were in a different league.

GTEYE

1,519 posts

160 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
My mum had a Mk1 R5 when I was a kid (sadly a GTL not a Gordini).

Bought new in 1980, it was a great little car from the era when the French knew how to make really comfortable cars. Sadly, the rear wings rusted through in less than 2 years and 10,000 miles even though it was garaged. It was repaired and replaced with an '82 Polo C - that was a miserable little car, but they didn't rust!

Jonny TVR

2,758 posts

231 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
GTEYE said:
My mum had a Mk1 R5 when I was a kid (sadly a GTL not a Gordini).

Bought new in 1980, it was a great little car from the era when the French knew how to make really comfortable cars. Sadly, the rear wings rusted through in less than 2 years and 10,000 miles even though it was garaged. It was repaired and replaced with an '82 Polo C - that was a miserable little car, but they didn't rust!
Its incredible back then just how quickly cars rusted away.

PorkInsider

3,909 posts

91 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
My friend's stepdad had a Gordini Turbo in Alpine blue (I think). It was an '83 car.

It was fantastic and looked incredibly cool (in my schoolboy opinion)

I think it may have been the first turbo car I'd ever been in.

PorkInsider

3,909 posts

91 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Gtom said:
That car and trailer combo is way over what that connect should be towing. 800kg max if I remember right.
biggrin

This is what sets PH apart from run of the mill forums.

Lotobear

1,720 posts

78 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Augustus Windsock said:
In fact didn’t Roger Cook (BBC1 ‘The Cook Report’) own one of these?
I seem to remember it appearing in Motor or Autocar as he lived in the Isle of Man and it was turbocharged (I seem to remember it was by Janspeed?)
As an aside, around the same mags also featured a E28 BMW 528 or 535 which was also turbocharged by Janspeed, the Renault and BMW launching my love of all things ‘turbo’
That would make sense - Roger Cook was involved with Spyder, replacement chassis manufacturer's for (inter alia) Lotus Elans and Plus 2's so must have been a petrolhead

Gtom

760 posts

82 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
PorkInsider said:
Gtom said:
That car and trailer combo is way over what that connect should be towing. 800kg max if I remember right.
biggrin

This is what sets PH apart from run of the mill forums.
Haha!

I love 5 turbos, a lottery win would see a few in the garage but it’s just dumb using that van as a tow vehicle.

I have seen one transport company on social media posting pictures of cars they take all over the country using a connect and a twin axle trailer. I think the trailer is on the limit of the connects towing capacity never mind the lardy Vauxhall Astra diesel they have got on it.

nickfrog

11,117 posts

167 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
1602Mark said:
The best one I owned was a LHD version badged Alpine
I guess they were all Alpine with the UK cars rebadged as Gordini because Renault didn't have the IP rights of the Alpine brand in the UK then. Or am I making this up?
[Pedantic mode off laugh]

nickfrog

11,117 posts

167 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
Augustus Windsock said:
In fact I’d probably take this over whatever the £22k-today equivalent is.
Go for it.

I am confident it will be absolutely st to drive. It was already pretty crap when it was new. wink

Water Fairy

3,012 posts

105 months

Wednesday 12th February
quotequote all
sjabrown said:
Interesting, but not £17k of interesting! I'll stick to my own cheaper early French hot hatch
This, especially with a Heath Robinson sunroof