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1985 Renault R5 Turbo II For Sale On eBay

Posted in Corner Carvers, eBay Motors, Exotic Cars, FIA WRC, General, Renault, Rust or Lust by Kurt Ernst | May 1st, 2010 | 3 Responses |

A while back I picked the uncoolest cars of all time, and I named the Renault R5 (dubbed the “Le Car” in the U.S.) as one of them. A surprising number of people wrote to complain that I’d clearly never heard of the R5 Turbo, but nothing could be further from the truth. I know all about the R5 Turbo and Turbo II, which is why I’m salivating at this recent eBay posting. If I had the cash and the garage space, I’d be bidding like a madman on this car.

First, some clarification: the Renault R5 was an utterly forgettable FWD econobox that was sold in the U.S. from 1976 to 1983. The R5 Turbo (later the Turbo II), on the other hand, was the anti-R5. It was a mid-engine, rear-drive, turbocharged monster built for competition in the World Rally Championship. It handled like a go-kart and stuck to the road like gum to the bottom of your shoe. Stock versions of the R5 Turbo made 185 horsepower to move the car’s 2,200 pounds, but competition versions boasted as much as 345 horsepower. The stock R5 and the R5 Turbo shared a chassis, a few body panels and a badge, but not much else. The R5 Turbos were handbuilt exotics that were imported to the U.S in VERY limited quantities; finding a clean example on these shores is harder than finding a blond stripper that Tiger Woods hasn’t slept with.

The motor sits where the rear seats used to.

That's what mid-engine, rear drive looks like from below.

Enter this example of an R5 Turbo II, found on Bring A Trailer. It’s led a charmed life, having had just two owners, both car collectors. It’s been garaged and serviced by a prominent Ferrari dealership, and it’s seen just 25,574 pampered miles since new. The motor is stock, putting out a mild but sufficient 185 horsepower. It’s seen major preventative servicing in the past two years, so it needs nothing but a new owner.

Motor? What motor?

Momo wheel is one of the few non-original parts.

Recaros aren't stock, etiher, but look good in the car.

The downside? Well, there’s two. First, the car lacks a California BAR sticker, so you’re out of luck if you live on the left coast. Second, there’s the issue of the price: the requested starting bid is $47,500, about $10,000 more than clean R5 Turbos are selling for these days. Sure, this may be the best remaining example in the U.S., but a starting bid that’s $10k higher than current market prices tells me that the seller isn’t exactly motivated. If he can get his asking price, so be it; otherwise, he’s happy to keep it in his R5 shrine until the right buyer finds him. In the mean time, the rest of us can enjoy the pics of this spectacular ride.

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3 Responses

  1. Blix says:

    I agree with you on all counts. The Le Car was a yawn, but the R5 turbo was a completely different animal. That one is a beautiful example. Very unusual to see one on the road. You should check one out in rally livery. Meeeeow.

  2. Bill Owen says:

    An internal combustion ENGINE is just that!, an ENGINE, not a motor! Engines make their power INTERNALLY by burning one of the FOSSIL FUELS, while MOTORS get theirs from an EXTERNAL SOURCE, like ELECTRICITY or HYDRAULIC OIL!!!!

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Bill, you are aware that “motor” is often used to refer to the “engine” in automotive writing, aren’t you? I’m hardly the first to use the terms interchangeably, and I seriously doubt that anyone will think the R5 Turbo 2 is powered by an electric motor. Fair warning: I also reserve the right to use the term “mill” when referring to an engine, even though I’m fully aware an internal combustion engine differs from a facility that processes grain or wood pulp.

      If it makes you feel better, I get just as apoplectic when someone refers to to a handgun magazine as a “clip”.