1981 Renault 5 Turbo

Darin Schnabel © 2015, courtesy of Auctions America

The Renault 5 Turbo is a hatchback with a high-performance engine. This French car debuted at the Brussels Motor Show in January of 1980. At this time, rally cars were climbing in popularity. The design of this car was tailored towards the rally car market, but a street version also was sold. During its four-year production run, fewer than 4,000 of these high-performance cars were manufactured.

The Renault 5 Turbo should not be confused with the Alpine Turbo or GT Turbo. This no-nonsense machine was profoundly modified. The turbocharged engine was mounted behind the driver in what is normally the passenger’s compartment, which created a mid-engined hot hatch and rally car. It is also a rear-wheel-drive car. The Renault 5 Turbo was made in many guises and received many plaudits along the way.

Powering this car is a powerful inline 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine. The power transfer to the wide-contact-patch rear tires is a manual gearbox. The exterior is highlighted with red paint and alloy wheels with matching accents, along with a pop-up sunroof. This hatchback has a sporty interior with contoured bucket seats with cloth inserts, electric windows, glove compartment and an efficient dash decorated with gauges. The rear window is fitted with a wiper, and the rear windows are hinged to vent fresh air through the cockpit. The Renault 5 also has numerous ducts and air vents that are seen in black. Even the trailing edge of the roofline has a slight rise to it, giving it the appearance of a subtle spoiler — most fitting for this pure performance platform.

Jeff Zurschmeide

Jeff Zurschmeide - SCM Contributor

Jeff is a lifelong automobile enthusiast with a penchant for sports and racing cars. He has raced SCCA, local circle track, and stage rally as a co-driver. He makes his living as a freelance automotive journalist and is the author of six books on automotive topics. As a rule, he practices catch-and-release fishing when it comes to collectible automobiles, trying to leave each one in better condition than he found it. Enduring passions include his MGA and Austin Mini, and his 1969 Corvette. He recently purchased a 1920 Ford Model T Touring because “you just have to have one of these once in your life.”

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