Pickering, ON. Canada
RENAULT R5 TURBO
1,397cc OHV Turbocharged 4-Cylinder Engine
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
1981 Renault R5 Turbo
An iconic example of competition homologation specials, the Renault R5 Turbo married France’s top-selling car – the humble Renault R5 – to a radically restyled body by Bertone’s legendary Marcello Gandini and a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 160 bhp. Manufactured in limited numbers to gain entry into Group 4 and Group B rallying between 1980 and 1986, the R5 Turbo was nothing less than a pocket-sized supercar capable of 0-60 times of under seven seconds and a top speed of 125mph.
Revealed at the Paris Salon in 1978, the R5 Turbo first entered competition in the 1980 Tour de Corse at the hands of factory driver Jean Ragnotti. Utilizing Renault’s extensive turbocharging experience gained in F1, the 250bhp works car led the event until forced to retire with electrical problems. The following year, the team of Ragnotti and Jean-Marc Andrié would win the 1981 Monte Carlo Rallye overall, besting the revolutionary four-wheel drive Audi Quattros. Ragnotti would again return to the Tour de Corse in 1982 to triumph in the R5 Turbo.
With rally competition heating up in the mid-1980s, Renault evolved the R5 Turbo into the R5 Tour de Corse and R5 Turbo Maxi variants, which would again deliver victory for Ragnotti at the 1985 Tour de Corse. Sadly, Renault pulled the plug on the competition program at the end of that season, missing an opportunity to further the R5 Turbo’s dynasty on the international rally stage.
The car offered here, chassis #636, wears the striking Olympe Blue Metallic paint scheme of the early series, and features the aluminum roof, doors and rear hatchback shared with the competition cars. The VIN number, confirmed in correspondence with the UK Renault Owner’s Club and a UK registration certificate, shows the car as a left-hand drive 1981 R5 Turbo model registered to the United Kingdom in August of 1983.
While in the U.K., #636 received a mechanical refurbishment from R5 Turbo expert John Price Rallying in 2014, who upgraded the motor to 210bhp Tour de Corse specification, including a correct Renault Sport camshaft and intercooler. Additional attention was paid to the cooling, electrical and fuel injection systems. Receipts for all the work performed accompany the car.
Inside the multi-colored interior are the distinctive seats, door panels, headliner and deep-pile carpeting that marked French flamboyance in the 1980s. The characteristic highback, laterally-supportive seats remain in excellent condition, and are of such interesting design that they could well be displayed at an art gallery. Full Jaeger instrumentation is housed in a Bertone designed dashboard unique to the early cars. A Clarion radio/tape deck discreetly occupies the factory dash opening, just below the car’s R5 Turbo dash plaque. A leather-wrapped, three-spoke Momo steering wheel gives clues to the R5’s competition intent. Overall, the soft trim appears correct, impeccably kept and highly evocative.
The exterior of the car retains its original wheels (including spare) and the paint is still in very good condition following a respray in the 1990s. While some evidence of use and slight cracks are present, the handsome livery remains highly attractive with first series badging and stickers intact.
With 80’s-era rally cars enjoying a resurgence in collectability, the Renault R5 Turbo remains a high point of innovation, style and performance. This car, chassis #636, is a top-spec, evocative example of these pedigreed homologation cars which provided the recipe for all “hot hatches” that followed.
Painted Olympe Blue Metallic, the paint finish and body of this Renault are in excellent condition. There appear to be some minor flaws in the paint and one small scratch in the paint on the front of the car. It appears that this could be easily touched up by an experienced hand.
There are some minor defects in the paint on the wheels which can be expected with use. All of the lights and other exterior components appear to be in extremely good condition. It is also noted that although very few options were offered for these early R5 Turbos, this example is equipped with the desirable window tint option.
Trimmed in orange vinyl with cloth inserts and a rather, shall we say, shaggy blue carpet, the Bertone style interior could not be more European. The seats and inserts all appear to be in good condition with perhaps a slight bit of fading in the cloth inserts, but no pulls or other flaws in the stitching. The dashboard vinyl also appears to be in excellent condition. The dash components, switches and gauges have all been very well maintained with no visible issues.
There is some slight fading and discoloration in different parts of the light blue interior carpet, but this is to be expected with such a light color.
Engine and Drivetrain
This R5 retains its original drive train components consisting of a 1,397cc OHV turbocharged 4-Cylinder engine with Bosch K-Jetronic electronic fuel injection backed by a 5-speed manual transaxle. An examination of the engine compartment shows it to be clean with no obvious condition issues. It appears to retain its original finishes. As stated previously, the motor has been upgraded to 210bhp Tour de Corse specification, including a correct Renault Sport camshaft and intercooler.
There does seem to be a slight discoloration and wear of the carpet around the opening of the engine bay, but nothing that is not expected from a car that has actually been used.
Trunk and Storage Compartment
Looking into the storage compartment, you can see the spare and jack handle which do not appear to have been used much, if at all. The rubber on the air ducts, as well as the brake reservoir and washer fluid container also appear in excellent condition.
The underside of the R5 shows very well with only minor flaws in the undercoating on either side of the car. All mechanical components appear to be in excellent condition. The metal all appears solid and in excellent condition with no apparent issues.
Included in the sale are various documents that include invoices from John Price Rallying and Legendary Motorcars as well as a UK Registration Certificate. This R5 Turbo also comes with it tool kit
Import / Export
This R5 Turbo is currently located in Pickering, ON, Canada, just outside of Toronto. If you’re an interested US buyer and have never imported a car into the US, Stratas Auctions is happy to give direction in importing the car stateside.
CARS USA, in Gardena, CA has reviewed this listing and has provided a cost breakdown for importing this R5 Turbo. Upon completion of the auction, a US buyer will expect to pay roughly $1,000 USD for transportation over the US / Canada border, a $500 USD Customs Clearance fee, a US Customs Bond fee of .525% of value of the car plus duty (min. $250 / max. $1500 USD), and a 2.5% Import Duty based on the final purchase price of the car. Prospective buyers should also understand that transportation costs to various regions of the US once the car has entered the country can range from $500 to $3,000 USD.