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						Renault 5 Turbo 6

Rotary-Powered Renault R5 Turbo 2

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

For decades now, rally racing has been one of the most prominent forms of brand promotion in European countries, and by the late 1970s, Renault wanted in on the action. But instead of following in Lancia’s footsteps with a scratch-built rally racer like the Stratos, Renault instead built an insanely-modified version of the Renault 5 supermini econobox. One of very few examples to land stateside, this 13B rotary-powered 1985 example is now available for auction on BringaTrailer.com.

While the Renault 5 Turbo was technically based on the standard 5 model, it might have very well been easier to start with a blank sheet. The standard model was front-wheel-drive, and powered by a number of different frugal four-cylinder engines, all front mounted. The 5 also had narrow hips, a “remarkably spacious” interior and a functional rear hatch space. The 5 Turbo was none of these things.

The iconic look of the 5 Turbo came to life at Bertone, where Marc Deschamps designed its bulging front fenders, boxed rears, skirts and roof gutters and spoiler. The roof was actually constructed from lightweight aluminum while the flares and skirts were done in fiberglass. The back seats were removed, and in their place was a mid-mounted 1.4-liter Renault Cléon-Fonte engine, which produced just short of 160 hp through the use of a Garrett T3 turbo and an improved cylinder head. Power was now sent to the rear wheels utilizing a Renault 30 TX transmission and Alpine 310 V6 rear suspension.

Renault built approximately 1,820 examples of the first-generation 5 Turbo, many more than the 400 cars required for Group 4 homologation. Another 3,167 cars were produced in the second-generation Turbo 2 model, many of which were fit with steel roofs, and standard seating and dash over their Bertone counterparts in the early cars. In its most potent form, the R5 Maxi Turbo, the car was capable of 380 hp in the 2,000-2,500 cc category of FIA rally racing.

But of course the car we’re looking at here on BringaTrailer.com isn’t exactly your average 5 Turbo. It is one of 200 “8221” models, which were built to homologate the R5 Maxi Turbo for Group B racing, meaning it’s fit with the aluminum roof skin and rubber gutters. Beyond the addition of some (downright sexy) 15-inch staggered Gotti wheels, this Turbo 2 model has been modified with a Mazda 13B rotary engine. Some cry foul, and it’s not hard to see why with this being such a rare car, but I can only grin at the idea of a modified Mazda under the hood, or hatch I suppose.

Installed sometime around 2007, the 13B rotary is force-fed by a Turbonetics turbo and a Life Racing control system. Many supporting systems were custom fabricated for the installation, including an aluminum oil pan, radiator and external oil cooler. A Renault UN1 five-speed transaxle sends power to the rear wheels, and by the seller's videos, it looks like this baby really scoots!

This one is likely to sell at a small discount as long as the Mazda resides in the back seat, but I still wouldn’t expect it to go cheap, as the bidding is already up to $26,000 with seven days remaining. Some of the more affordable 5 Turbos on BaT have sold around $60,000, with some exceptional models getting twice that.

Find it here on BringaTrailer.com.

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