This Renault R5 Turbo 2 Is Hiding A Naughty Secret

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It might even be one-of-a-kind.

Say what you will about French automotive build quality years ago, or lack thereof, but the country certainly knew how to build some awesome hot hatchbacks. The Peugeot 205 GTI immediately comes to mind, as does the Renault 5 Turbo, a pretty wild-looking Gandini-designed, mid-engined canyon carver. Renault wanted to respond to Italian automaker Lancia's rallying success with the also-mid-engined Stratos. Instead of developing a new model from scratch, Renault opted to heavily modify its existing Renault 5. Major work was necessary to turn the front-engined road car into a rally-ready race car.

Aside from the radical bodywork and engine relocation, engineers figured out a way to convert the supermini from front-to rear-wheel-drive. Power came from a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four rated at 158 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque and paired to a five-speed manual gearbox.

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Renault's plan called for 1,000 examples to hit the road in order to meet Group 3 homologation requirements. Production got underway in 1980 and lasted until 1986. The R5 Turbo 2 was later introduced during that period, though it lacked a few features and was a bit less expensive. It still looked cool as hell.

Both versions are quite collectible today, but this 1985 model year example currently up for auction on Bring A Trailer is not exactly all-original. Just one of 200 "8221" homologation models built, it was imported new to California. However, its original engine was ripped out in 2007 and replaced with a turbocharged 1.3-liter Mazda 13B rotary. The listing does not provide a power output but a September 1998 issue of Turbo & High-Tech Performance magazine that featured this specific car is included in the sale and it says it packs 300 hp.

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The 13Bs are supposedly capable of pumping up to around 500 ponies, so 300 is definitely possible. The original Renault five-speed manual remains. Other notable features include staggered-width 15-inch Gotti alloy wheels, cross-drilled brake rotors, a fire suppression system, and black Turbo 2 body graphics. The odometer reads 21,000 miles though the accuracy cannot be confirmed.

The interior's cloth-covered seats appear to be in great condition. There's also a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Jaeger instrumentation, and boost gauges located in the center of the dash. The engine was removed and serviced in 2018 and it has no history of accidents or other damage.

As of this writing, the highest bid is $33,000 (already the price of a Hyundai Veloster N) and the auction will end on April 4.

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