Hurray! Another Shed debutant this week, in the unlikely shape of the Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133. Why unlikely? Well, did you think you'd be able to pick one of these up for £1350? Actually, it's even better than that, it's 'offers invited' on £1350 for this Mirage Grey 133 from 2009, the first full year of Twingo Renaultsport manufacture.
Launched at the 2008 Geneva Show, the Twingo Renaultsport 133 was put on sale in the UK later that year at £11,550 in an attempt to zhoosh up the sales of the 2007 Mk 2 Twingo, a car with none of the charm of the original mould-breaking Twingo but with a lot more crashability (as long as you weren't a pedestrian being crashed into, anyway).
The 133's 1.6 developed 133hp at a raucous 6750rpm, and 118lb ft of torque at a 4400rpm, enough in a thing weighing not much more than a tonne for a 0-62mph time of 8.7sec and a top whack of 125mph. You may recall that Clarkson 'drove one into the sea' while 'attempting to catch a ferry'. While doing so he reckoned the 133 was sharper to drive than an Abarth 500. In the real world, other road/water testers commented on the sweet steering, bitey traction and handily low insurance rating.
Prices for these cars seem to be all over the place. You'll see some 2009 cars advertised at close to £4k, and others from the same year at even less money than our Shed. Why is that, d'ye suppose? Is there some awful secret about Twingo Renaultsports that makes them about as desirable as a case of athlete's foot?
The ad says that our Shed is one of the very first Cup variants, which were launched in September 2009 with a 4mm lower ride height and 10 percent stiffer suspension. These Cup cars were actually £700 cheaper than the regular 133s because a lot of stuff had been stripped out, like air con, auto lights and wipers and tinted windows. What's slightly odd about this car is that it has the individual sliding rear seats, which Shed thought were replaced on the Cups by a regular bench. Also, our Shed was registered in September 2009. As far as Shed is aware the Cup didn't start arriving in showrooms until November of that year.
Whatever, whether it's a Cup or not, a Twingo Renaultsport 133 would not be the first vehicle of choice for anyone needing to transport delicate old relatives to bingo night. The ride even on non-Cups is harsh, and so is the racket inside.
But if you like harsh, rackety superminis - and many do, for all the right reasons - then you should be stroking your chin quite hard at the moment. Up against the engineeringly interesting but visually anonymous rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Mk 3s, these Mk 2 Twingos seem to cut a sharper dash now than they did when they were new. They certainly have a much more Renaulty look to them than their successors.
We'll never know how often this car's rally-style centre marker on the steering wheel has been off to the side while going in a straight line, or how many times the 'F1 style gear change alert' (to quote the Renault press release) has gone off in the noisy search for max revs. These unknowns plus a mileage that's on the leggy side for a supermini would be some sort of explanation for the low price. You may be of the opinion that Renaultsport cars are built to be thrashed and therefore thrive on that sort of treatment, and you could be right, but the question you've got to ask yourself next is whether the Twingo 133 was ever a real Renaultsport car.
Shed isn't suggesting that the 133 was a pretend RS, or a stretch too far for a carefully nurtured sporting sub-brand, but he is saying that prospective buyers should at least do a smattering of research before splashing the (admittedly small) cash to make sure it's the right vehicle for them. Looking at the ones that are on sale in the UK at the moment, you wonder whether at least some of them were bought by folk who wanted the Renaultsport experience but who didn't have quite enough money to get a real one, so they bought the 133 and tried to make it go as fast as an RS Clio.
Non-RS-specific issues that you might encounter on Twingos include dodgy ignition key fob software, window regulators and heater blower motors. Those last two are Renault-generic rather than Twingos-specific tbh. Coils go too, as do the front springs. A £950 133 that Shed found outside the PH Classifieds had eaten one of its spark plugs.
This 133 looks rather nicer than that one. It comes with plenty of paperwork and the advisories on the just-done MOT were limited to some non-critical screen damage, a worn front brake disc and rear tyre, some corrosion to the rear coils and a minor exhaust leak. It's part of the stock at Guy Francis Specialist Cars, west of Brum city centre. PH obviously has no affiliation with Guy Francis other than the fact that he's an advertiser, but a quick look at his FB page should reassure you that he's a genuine guy, or indeed Guy.
Shed won't be bidding on it. Not because he doesn't like it, but because of the associated costs that come with a 424lb wife. The last time he took Mrs Shed out in a car with such low profile tyres he had to set aside a wad o' cash after the very first right-hander to pay for a refurb on both nearside alloys. Good sparks, though.