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France’s Mid-Engined Super Car

In the early 1980’s Renault decided they wanted to build a mid engined rally car to compete directly with the unstoppable Lancia rally team, and their Ferrari powered Stratos. However, instead of developing a bespoke platform to base this rally car, Renault chose to modify an existing vehicle to save time and development costs. Renault took their popular compact hatchback, the Renault 5 Alpine, and stuck a turbocharged engine in place of the rear seats.  The result of this ambitious project was the R5 Turbo, a mid engined, rear wheel drive Frankenstein monster that became one of the world’s greatest hot hatchbacks, and a strong rally competitor.

The R5 Turbo required an extensive redesign of the donor 5 Alpine by Bertone and Marcello Gandini to accommodate the mid engined layout, incorporating cooling ducts to feed this mid engined hatch. The initial run of R5 Turbos were the most powerful French cars upon their release and only 400 units were built to comply with homologation rules for group 4 rallying.  As the R5 Turbo gained popularity a second generation, called the Turbo 2, was built using more Renault factory pieces while retaining the same performance. After its successful motorsport career, the R5 Turbo completely changed opinions about what hot hatchbacks could be, and forever changed the world of rally.  Today you can finally own one to these legendary hot hatches on American soil, and live out your 1980’s rally dreams thanks to an auction currently listed on Bring a Trailer.com

The R5 Turbo 2 currently for sale on Bring a Trailer has traveled around the world starting in Germany, then Japan, next was Ontario Canada, and finally your garage. This R5 Turbo 2 is one of the nicest examples available in North America due to its low miles and well documented maintenance. The Seller notes a recent engine rebuild and other important services that ensure this R5 Turbo will last for many years to come. More information about this particular car can be found here at Bring a Trailer.com. As of right now you can own one of the great hot hatches of all time, with a legitimate racing heritage, for the price of a Ford Focus RS.

Homologation rules have produced some of the world’s greatest road cars, and the R5 Turbo is one of the best. In today’s world of 350 horsepower Ford Focuses, we may think were at the hot hatch pinnacle, but nothing can beat this mid engined Frankenstein from France. The R5 Turbo offers a driving experience that is simply not offered in more modern cars, from is fiberglass body work, to its twitchy handling, the R5 Turbo is just the right amount of dangerous.


About Chris Okula - Contributor

Chris was raised on Top Gear and automotive magazines, which still dominate most of his free time today (he is not a fan of the new TopGear). After he graduated from Desales University, Chris started his career in the pharmaceutical industry, but missed writing which lead him to the creation of his own automotive blog. This blog lead him to work with Road & Track and now as a contributor here at Shifting Lanes. In his free time, Chris is constantly on the popular automotive auction site, Bring a Trailer, as well as Craigslist looking for ways to destroy his savings account and skip student loan payments.

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