SOTW: Clio Williams

Leave it Nicole, this Clio's mine...
Leave it Nicole, this Clio's mine...
Nope, we haven’t overdosed on PH's stash of Happy Shopper coffee and mixed up our Sheds and our Heroes this morning. This really is a Renault Clio Williams and it really can be bought for our theoretical weekly £1,000 shed budget.

OK, so it’s the let’s-pee-off-those-who-bought-the-original Mark 2 version, but it’s still one hell of a car for less than a grand. When the Clio Williams came out, which apparently had nothing to do with the actual Williams but never mind, it was an instant cult classic.

It was hailed as the best hot hatch ever and those who bought one of the 2,500 limited edition Williams were no doubt feeling pretty pleased with themselves. Then the Williams 2 came out which was quite frankly a bit of a kick in the teeth.

But they got their own back when the Williams 3 rocked up which wiped the smile off all the buyers of the second model. But all this didn’t dilute the brilliance of this little car. It was a cracking car, with a breathed-on 2.0-litre 16v unit courtesy of RenaultSport with 150bhp and a top speed of 134mph.

It had a wider front track using Renault 19 16v bits and the suspension was tuned to make the already fine handling even more fluent and precise. It even managed to top the Peugeot 205 GTI in many eyes as the hot hatch king. The Williams was identified by Subaru-esque blue paint with wide Speedline gold wheels and each version had ‘Williams’ written down the side followed by the number ‘1’,‘2’ or ‘3’. 0-60mph was achieved in 7.7 seconds and the engine was a peach.

Say ‘Clio Williams’ today and most car enthusiasts will nod sagely and you won’t hear the word ‘papa’ mentioned once. The car is still highly collectable, although the Williams 1 is arguably the one to have, and has lead to many a youth going at his 1.4 Clio with a can of gold spray paint.

You don’t seem to see many of these around these days either, probably as most have either been dragged away from track days by a tractor or people are now keeping them safely locked away until they are worth big bucks.

That’s why I was surprised to find this one lurking on for a measly £999. It’s a 1995 model with a reasonably low mileage (115,000) and to be honest if it wasn’t 350 miles away I would probably buy it. From the pics it looks straight and in good condition and thankfully all original. The interior could do with a clean up but it’s in very good condition and again the lack of ‘aksesoreez’ could mean that the car hasn’t been treated too badly.

So here you have it: a PH Hero with tax and MOT and FSH for £999. Please don’t buy it – I want it…

Ad reads: ‘ 1995 RENAULT CLIO 2.0 Williams Two 3dr Hatchback Special Eds. Manual, 115,000 miles, Blue. Mot, No Tax, FSH, Rare limited edition, Usual Williams spec, Phone for Details. £999.’

Comments (71) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Neomagic 11 Jul 2008

    I think you've quoted the 1.8 16V 0 - 60 time there, I was pretty sure the Williams hit 60 in around 7.0 seconds.

    Either way great little cars.

  • massive1 11 Jul 2008

    Now thats a shed of the week ,never owned one but drove a few when they were new .great fun

  • Oli S 11 Jul 2008

    7.7 was Autocar and EVO timed it at 7.6 smile

  • sleep envy 11 Jul 2008

    PH SOTW said:
    each version had ‘Williams’ written down the side followed by the number ‘1’,‘2’ or ‘3’
    not too sure the originals had a number

    would have given the game awaywink

  • aaronc 11 Jul 2008

    No he's right about the 0-60 time. The williams had to change into 3rd gear to reach 60 so delayed it a second.

    The williams was the best handling car i ever drove, like a go cart!

    But beware, these things do cost a bit to run if not looked after, steering racks always common to go among other things.

    But a classic in its own right.

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