Renault Clio Williams 3 (6) splash

The winning formula for a great hot hatch was not a new concept in the 1990s: a short wheelbase, low weight, and a bigger engine. The 1980s had already provided the legendary Peugeot 205 GTi and the forefather of the car in question, the Renault 5 GT Turbo, so the baseline was set – and it was high.

Could the hot hatch truly be improved without spoiling the character? It’s a question that was being mulled by various manufacturers throughout the ‘90s, and one company that answered it resolutely was Renault, with the Clio Williams.

Renault Clio Williams 3 (2)

Launched in 1993 as a limited-edition homologation special to allow Renault Sport to be competitive in its rallying exploits, this special Clio was named after the then Renault-powered Formula One team, Williams F1. Aside from being the sport’s Safety Car in 1996, the links to Williams and F1 stopped there, with all the mechanical upgrades coming instead from Renault Sport, the dedicated motorsport division.

Renault Clio Williams 3 (3)

Due to overwhelming demand following the initial launch, Renault went on to release additional examples of the model in the form of the Williams 2 and 3, much to the joy of all those who had missed out on the first ‘batch’; but annoying many original owners who saw the promised exclusivity of their limited-edition cars now somewhat undermined.

Renault Clio Williams 3 (8)

Renault Sport built the Clio Williams upon the Clio 16S platform, fitting a larger 2.0-litre 16-valve DOHC inline-four, which produced 145bhp. Other upgrades included the suspension being revised with a reinforced front subframe borrowed from the Clio Cup racer, plus uprated springs, dampers, rear torsion arms, a bespoke four-to-one manifold, thicker anti-roll bars, and a stronger gearbox with closer ratios. The Clio Williams 3 also featured a wider track, with distinctive gold Speedline alloys.

Renault Clio Williams 3 (7)

Sold on Collecting Cars in March 2020, this remarkable, collector-quality example was a genuine UK-market right-hand-drive car, first registered in August 1995. This Renault Clio Williams 3 was finished in the slightly lighter shade of Monaco Blue, over a grey velour fabric cabin, featuring blue seat belts, with matching blue carpets, instrument gauge faces, and gear knob trim.

Renault Clio Williams 3 (4)

Representing an exceptional and entirely original example of the sought-after model with less than 14,000 miles on the odometer; this outstanding Clio Williams 3 achieved a winning bid of £17,000.

Since then, Collecting Cars has sold another 11 examples of this renowned modern classic, not to mention dozens of other rare and low-mileage hot hatches spanning some five decades of great driver’s cars. If you have a special hot hatch to sell, then get in touch with our team today to find out about the next steps.

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