Although the Renault 5 Turbo wasn’t the most successful rally car of the group B era, it was notable for several reasons. For starters it won on its first time out in 1981, competing then as a Group 4 car ahead of Group B’s introduction in 1983. Better yet Renault actually kept selling a version of the road car, even after the 400 examples required for homologation had been built – not something many rivals did.
The turbocharged, mid-engined R5 was also a wonderfully wacky piece of work. Taking a front-drive shopper, slinging an engine where the rear seats should be and making it rear-wheel drive might seem commonplace after the Metro 6R4 and when Renault reprised the trick for the Clio V6, but it really is a bizarre thing to do when you think about it. Of the cars that still exist, most a kept as prize possessions and are ideal for our Cherished car insurance.
The cheeky super-trolley didn’t hang about either; 160hp might not seem like an awful lot, but it only had 970kg to lug around and so could hit 130mph and launch itself to 62mph in 6.6 seconds. Definitely the stuff of rally-fuelled fantasies 30 years ago and respectable even now.
Original Pistonheads article can be found here.