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Among enthusiasts, there are many special phrases which will set brains whirring and pulses racing, but few have the impact of that intriguing two-word combination - ‘homologation special’.

Representing the perfect marriage of motorsport-driven lunacy and humble, everyday origins, the homologation special is the four-wheeled equivalent of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, and few will argue that some of the finest examples of these incredible machines were born out of manufacturers’ desire to dominate rally stages in the 1980s.

The Lancia Delta Integrale, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and RS200, the MG Metro 6R4, and even the Opel Manta 400 all secured their places on the bedroom walls of countless young rally fans in their heyday, along with a particularly unhinged Gallic entry: the Renault 5 Turbo.

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Loosely based on the practical, popular, yet decidedly un-sporty Renault 5 hatchback, the Turbo was an altogether different beast.

Launched in 1980 and reportedly created with the sole aim of defeating Lancia’s incredibly successful Stratos on the rally stage; it featured a mid-mounted turbocharged 1.4-litre inline-four, which sent up to 158bhp to the rear wheels – in stark contrast to most powerful standard Renault 5, which made do with 62bhp and front wheel drive.

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The R5 Turbo also featured aluminium bodywork features designed by none other than Marcello Gandini at Bertone, with dramatic boxed arches and louvred vents.

Ultimately, nearly 5,000 examples were produced, with the reworked and slightly heavier ‘Turbo 2’ model being introduced in 1983.

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As a result of its raucous styling, impressive performance, and ability to make even the most inexperienced driver feel like Jean Ragnotti, many Renault 5 Turbos found their way into the hands of less than sympathetic owners. However, plenty of well-preserved examples remain, including this wonderful, low-mileage example.

Delivered in March 1983, this white Phase 2 car found its way from continental Europe to the UK in 1985, and had previously been owned by prolific Renault and Alpine enthusiast and restorer Alan Matthews for around three decades.

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Enjoyed by the seller for two years but only covering around 2,000 miles in that time, it was listed for auction in April 2020 with just 46,883 kilometres (29,131 miles) on its odometer.

11,000 views, 100 bookmarks, and 22 bids later, the car secured a winning bid of £54,000, setting the bar for the further 23 turbocharged versions of the Renault 5 that have been sold on Collecting Cars since.

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If you own an iconic homologation special, a thrilling hot hatch, or any other head-turning vehicle that is looking for a new home, then contact our Consignment Team today to find out more about selling with Collecting Cars.

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