Hot hatches: a very short history of the Renault 5
Chart the story of the heroic little car with the heroic big arches
1978: RENAULT 5 TURBO 1
The first mid-engined 5 was a homologation special to allow Renault to take it rallying.
First seen at the Paris show in 1978, the 970kg mid-engined supermini featured weight-saving aluminium doors and roof, and delivered 160bhp from its turbocharged 1.4-litre.Advertisement - Page continues below
1981: RENAULT 5 COUPE D’EUROPE
Not a rally car, but a track car. And close to a road car in terms of power and spec. The 900kg Coupe d’Europe was used for a 12-race one-make series. The cars were cheap, so amateurs could race against the likes of Jean Ragnotti and Walter Röhrl.
1983: RENAULT 5 TOUR DE CORSE
In January 1981 the ‘Little Bomb’ won the Monte Carlo Rally, but then Group B regs arrived. This was Renault’s first answer – a 930kg machine that had 285bhp for the ‘client’ version (the car you see here) and more for the factory cars.Advertisement - Page continues below
1983: RENAULT 5 TURBO 2
The second generation road car. It did without the aluminium body panels and radical interior of the original reducing the price by 15,000 francs to 102,000 francs. Otherwise not much was changed. In total, 3,167 Turbo 2s were built from 1982 to the end of production in 1986.
1985: RENAULT 5 MAXI TURBO
Powered now by an enlarged 1.5-litre engine developing 350bhp, this final Group B rallying version featured revised suspension and aero, a stiffer body and carbon parts. Still RWD only, it weighed 905kg. This is the car that Ragnotti won that year’s Tour de Corse in.
1987: RENAULT 5 SUPER PRODUCTION
In the Eighties, super production was a more extreme forerunner to touring cars. This 370bhp, 1,020kg monster was built for F1 hopeful Érik Comas. He was clearly special. All other drivers were called Jean-Pierre (J-P Beltoise, J-P Jabouille, J-P Jarier, J-P Jaussaud).