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In response to Lancia’s rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault’s Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production, asked Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini. The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone.
Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1397 cc Cléon-Fonte turbocharged engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 metric horsepower (118 kilowatts; 158 horsepower) and 163 lb·ft (221 N·m) torque.
Though it used a modified body from a standard Renault 5, and was badged a Renault 5, the mechanicals were radically different, the most obvious difference being rear-wheel drive and rear-mid-engined instead of the normal version’s front-wheel drive and front-mounted engine. At the time of its launch it was the most powerful production French car. The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe.
Once the homologation models were produced, a second version named Turbo 2 was introduced using more stock Renault 5 parts replacing many of light alloy components in the original 5 Turbo version. The Turbo 2 was less expensive, but had nearly the same levels of performance, top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph) and 0–100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. To differentiate it from the Turbo 2, the original 5 Turbo is often referred to retronomously as “Turbo 1″.
The concept of a mid-engined small Renault returned with the 1998 announcement of the Renault Clio V6.
All the motorsport derivatives were based on the Turbo 1. The factory pushed the engine output up to 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp) for the Critérium des Cévennes, 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) for the Tour de Corse, and by 1984 as much as 350 PS (257 kW; 345 hp) in the R5 Maxi Turbo.
Driven by Jean Ragnotti in 1981, the 5 Turbo won the Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing in the World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 turbo soon faced the competition of new Group B four-wheel drive cars that proved faster on dirt.
In 2004, Sports Car International named the R5 Turbo number nine on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.
This particular car is one of the limited edition Renault 5 Turbo in immaculate original conditions, still wearing its original upholstery and obviously matching numbers. It might be the best Turbo 1 original car available in the market.
The car was sold new in Switzerland, where it spent 25 years until it was purchased by our company back in 2005. It was then exported to Spain and sold to a collector who drove it for less than 1.000 kms and who only did take care of it doing all the needed maintenance.
It is probably the last chance to acquire a Turbo 1 in this original conditions and for sure a great investment taking into consideration the price tendency in the last 5 years.
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