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The Renault R5 Turbo


The Renault 5 Turbo is hot-hatch fire: imagine if today's hot-hatches out-accelerated and out-handled today's mid-engine Ferraris. The R5 Turbo beat up on the contemporary Ferrari 308 — as well as every other supercar — by moving its turbocharged engine to the back, where rear seats used to be.

Compare that to enthusiast cars like today's Volkswagen Golf R, which is merely a GTI+. VW, too, built a mid-engine, rear-drive GTI, the W12-650. But the Germans built one as a marketing exercise. The French put their Le Supercar into production and sold thousands of them to the lucky public.

The photo car is a Renault R5 Turbo 2 Evolution, owned by Bring-a-Trailer cofounder Randy Nonnenberg. The Evo added back in the aluminum bits lost in the switch from Turbo to Turbo 2, and had a bespoke engine with a fractionally larger displacement. For homologation purposes, of course — because this was a WRC rally car.

And what a car it was.

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