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The 1980s is when the French went beserk


Back in the 1980s, everything was in fashion. Heavy Metal music, mullets, leather clothes and turbocharged cars. One of which was the much adored Renault 5 Turbo. Now, you must understand, that this name essentially appeared on two completely different models. There was the 5 GT Turbo, which was your bog standard, front engined, front wheel drive, hot hatch, with a Turbo, and then there was the 5 Turbo. The road legal Group B rally car that was both mid engined, AND rear wheel drive. Neither of which were a feature that appeared on the standard Renault 5.


As mentioned before, the 5 Turbo, was only really created for one reason. To compete in Group 4 rallying. And it did. It was good too. It won 4 rallies between 1981 and 1986. 3 of those were with the French driver Jean Ragnotti, who was 36 years old at the time of 1981. This was also his personal first rally win. Rally regulations , specify that a road going version of the competing car must be produced. This rule meant some excellent cars came out of showrooms. The Audi Sport Quattro, the Lancia Delta S4, and the Ford RS200. And of course, the Renault 5 Turbo. Renault decided, to make the rally car mid engined, due to the success of the Lancia Stratos in the previous decade. In fact, Peugeot, Ford, and Lancia all decided to adopt the mid engined setup.


Due to the race car being mid engined, the road car also had to be mid engined, hence why there is a mid engined turbocharged version of the 5, that is in fact, road legal. It may have only had a 1.4 litre engine (this was upped to 1.5 in the race car) it still produced 158 hp. And the whole car only weighed 970kg, thanks to some new ultra lightweight body panels. It was equipped very stereotypically for the 1980s, with all the basic necessities. Aside from the two missing seats in the back, you wouldn't really be able to tell you were anything special. Until you put your foot down. At the time of it's release in 1980, it was actually the most powerful French production car, ever built. That is, until Peugeot released the 205 T16 in 1983.


The car was quick, even by today's standards. It did 0-60 in a smidge under 7 seconds and had a top speed of 127 mph. And it handled good, providing you were skilled enough to get the best out of it. It didn't have four wheel drive, and had to make do with the gearbox from a Renault 30. Wow. But it did have a tweaked version of the rear suspension, from a heavy, V6, rear engine Alpine, namely the A310, which wasn't that quick. At least not in road form. Obviously I've never driven one, but I know someone who has, so that's enough for me.

And if you want one, a good example will set you back about 80 grand. For a Renault. Hmm. I'm not too sure, I'll be honest


But despite that, It's still a very cool car, and will always be considered a classic in every Rally fanatic's eyes. If you have had the pleasure of owning, or even driving one, I salute you. You a one brave soldier. And also very cool. So that's a plus right?

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