July 09, 2015 @ 04:25 PM

Legends and Legacies: Renault 5 Turbo

The model that made Renault the pioneer of rally homologation “special” variants: the Renault 5 Turbo.

The model that made Renault the pioneer of rally homologation “special” variants: the Renault 5 Turbo. 

Group 4 racing was the epitome of status for a car manufacturer’s dream for their hatchback models and Renault’s contender is the Renault 5 Turbo. The R5 Turbo had been designed purely for rallying purposes in mind but back in the days where rules requires that 400 units be built for the road, Renault had had to create a road going version of their rallyer hence the Renault 5 Turbo hot-hatch was born.
While the 5 Turbo didn’t make much of a dent in Group 4 rallying, the car did make a name for itself in the automotive industry instead. Renault had taken the standard Renault 5 chassis and recreated the mapping of the car. Instead of the front engine layout in the standard car, they had installed the 1.4-litre engine in the rear instead making the 5 Turbo a rear mid-mounted, rear-wheel drive hatchback.
The 5 Turbo is easily distinguishable from the standard Renault 5. Not only does the 5 Turbo comes only with three doors, car also had wildly flared wheel-arches, gaping cooling vents and big spoilers along with aluminium doors, roof and tailgate. 
Under the metal, the 5 Turbo could not be more different from its donor car. Owners get racing suspensions, large brakes for safety measure and equally large and fat tyres to support the car. The 5’s 845cc engine was replaced by a 1397cc turbocharged 1.4-litre version that produces a power output of 160bhp and 221Nm of torque mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. 
The 5 Turbo idea had come around with Jean Terramorsi’s inspiration from the Lancia Stratos and wanted to replicate the rally success with a Renault. Known as the Father of Turbo Renault 5, Terramorsi managed to convince Bernard Hannon, then the CEO of Renault, of the legitimacy of the project before bringing in Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to redesign the Renault 5. As a result the 5 Turbo was born in 1978 with a distinctively new rear design that was styled by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini. 

(Image Source: renaultgt5turbo.com)
Renault only started production of the 5 Turbo in 1980 and the car proceeded to sell itself with 1830 units bought and sold within three years. These 1830 units are lovingly known to enthusiasts as the version 1 or Renault 5 Turbo 1. 
In 1983, Renault introduced a version 2 of the 5 Turbo. Known as the Turbo 2, the car features minor trim changes and a relatively similar Renault 5 interior. The biggest difference is the heavier all-steel body on the version 2 instead of aluminium on the version 1. The second version of the 5 Turbo continued the first version’s success which saw the total number of 5 Turbos built by the end of its time at 4997 units. 
It was 1984 when Renault decided to stop the 5 Turbo model. While there might be arguments about which is Renault’s hottest hatch, the 5 Turbo is the start of Renault’s hot hatch history and the last of their mid-engine small cars in that era. It wasn’t until 1998 before Renault decided to return to the mid-engine layout creating the 5 Turbo’s direct successor known to us as the Renault Clio V6.
Jerrica Leong

(Image source: kitsdefibra.com)

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