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Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991)

Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) There was a whole raft of trends in the 1980s, including turbocharging and hot hatches. But surprisingly, the two rarely overlapped because boosted engines were generally reserved for bigger machinery than these so-called ‘pocket rockets’.

So while the 205 GTi, Golf GTi and Escort XR3i were normally aspirated (although there was an Escort RS Turbo of course), it was left to the Renault 5 GT Turbo to carry the turbocharging flag in what was a fiercely fought segment by the time it arrived in 1985. Renault already had a significant track record when it came to turbocharged road cars by the time the GT Turbo was launched, and while the car still suffered from noticeable lag, it was still seriously quick – especially when the wick was turned up.

It helped that the GT Turbo was so light; its featherweight bodyshell helped it to tip the scales at just 830kg, aiding agility and ensuring that every drive was a blast. Even now the GT Turbo is a quick car and you’ll still have plenty of fun in one – if you can find a really good example.

Which one to buy?

If you can go for a Phase 2 rather than a Phase 1 you’re likely to enjoy a greater degree of reliability, but the hot starting problems of earlier cars can largely be alleviated by fitting one of other of the various kits available.

However, the reality is that the GT Turbo you buy should be the first really good one you can find – and the chances are you’ll look at quite a few heaps before you find something worth buying.

Many of the GT Turbos out there have been crashed at some point and a lot of them have been badly repaired. Your mission is to find one that’s not been crashed, hasn’t been butchered either and is as close to factory spec as you can get. GT Turbo buyers now want originality, so if you can find an unmolested GT Turbo of any vintage, that should be the one you snap up.

Performance and spec

Engine 1397cc, four-cylinder
Power 120bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque 122lb ft @ 3750rpm
Top speed 123mph
0-60mph 7.1sec
Consumption 25mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual

Common problems

• Corrosion isn’t normally too much of an issue on a GT Turbo that hasn’t been crashed. The rustproofing was OK so rust isn’t guaranteed, but it’s likely that the sills will need some TLC if they haven’t had some already. Also check the rear wheelarches, tailgate edges, doors and screen surrounds, just in case things have started to bubble.

• The Phase 1 cars got a grey bodykit while it was colour-coded for Phase 2 cars. Many earlier cars have had their bodykits painted to match the rest of the car, so these grey panels are now very hard to find.

• The 1.4-litre engine has a reputation for fragility, but that’s largely because in period many owners tuned them too highly or didn’t improve the fuelling to go with the increased boost pressures. Lean running, detonation then a failed gasket were the result, but 180bhp is easy to coax reliably from this powerplant.

• There’s no fuel injection here; instead there’s a Solex carb, so make sure the engine idles happily and that there isn’t loads of exhaust smoke as the car is accelerated through the gears.

• Ensure that as the engine is idles, the electric cooling fan cuts in. Also look for evidence of the head gasket having failed, as this is far from uncommon.

• Gearboxes are strong and clutches are usually reliable too, but the automatic cable adjuster for the latter can be an issue. Some owners fit a (stronger) Volvo 480 clutch, but a longer actuating arm needs to be fitted or the action is too sharp for road use.

• Most GT Turbos have had their suspension lowered, which is a good thing if done properly. You’re looking for yellow Koni dampers, plus a strut brace up front. Creaks from the rear suspension betray tired bushes, but they’re easy enough to replace.

• The brakes are okay but nothing special, so if you plan to make use of the GT Turbo’s available performance see if the anchors have been upgraded – few cars still sport their original system.

• Interiors are fragile, especially the seat trims which wear through, split and tear. You’ll be doing well to find a decent set of used seats – and if you do you can expect to pay plenty for it.

• You’ll also be doing well to find a dashboard that hasn’t had holes drilled in it, a parcel shelf that hasn’t had holes cut in it and a gearknob that still has all of its numbers showing as they wear away. It’s these details that can really bump up the value of a GT Turbo – and don’t under-estimate the difficulty of tracking down any decent used parts.

Model history

1985: The Renault 5 GT Turbo goes on sale with a 1397cc engine boosted by a Garrett T2 turbocharger.
1986: The GT Turbo gets a water-cooled turbocharger for improved reliability.
1988: Phase 2 GT Turbo features a new grille, a fresh alloy wheel design, revised cooling system and adjustments to the front suspension to improve tyre life.
1990: Raider special edition comes only with blue paint with unique seat trim. Production totals 1000.
1991: The last GT Turbos are built.

Key clubs and websites

• rtoc.org
• www.renault5gtturbo.com
• turborenault.co.uk

Summary and prices

The chances are, you’ve been lusting after a Renault 5 GT Turbo since they were new, like many other people. So many cars have been lost to insurance write-offs or poor tuning however, and demand for original cars far outstrips supply – making them a pricy business.

Prices range from around £2000-£4000 for cars in varying states. You’ll need at least £6000 for a mint example, although exceptional cars at a dealer could cost in excess of £10,000.

Words: Richard Dredge
Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991) Renault 5 GT Turbo buying guide (1985-1991)
Last updated: 26th Jun 2015
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Renault 5 cars for sale

6 Search results
Renault 5
3195 125000 GBP
  • 1982 Renault 5 Turbo 2

    £97,500 £97,500

    This stunning Turbo 2 was the subject of a thorough restoration and conversion between 2010 and 2013, to replicate a Maxi 5 Turbo. Parts were sourced from 3s Development and Valera Competicio, leading European Renault 5 Turbo specialists. The car has since been the subject of further work by John Price Rallying to bring it up to the high standard in which it is now offered for sale. Virtually all parts have been replaced or restored, and the work carried out included: Rear body strengthening to Renault Sport specification Engine rebuilt less than 500 miles ago and believed to be delivering 275BHP Maxi cam New Renault Sport specification gearbox Twin plate clutch Renault Sport pedal box Uprated cooling AP brakes and discs Suspension and shockers renewed/restored Compomotive Maxi rims Quick steering rack with stabiliser brackets Full Maxi body kit, including large vented bonnet Rare Carbon Kevlar cooling radiator duct Race interior Fire extinguisher system The car is offered for sale with all its original glass in place and lockable doors. It is therefore suitable for road use, or as a basis for a competitive hillclimb or historic rally car.

    • Year: 1982
    For sale
    Cheshire Classic Cars
    01244 529500
  • 1981 Renault 5 Turbo 1 Group 4

    £125,000 £125,000

    This iconic car started life as a 1981 Renault 5 Turbo, known as a Turbo 1 in the UK to differentiate it from the more common Turbo 2. The first production run was designed to homologate the car for international competition and accordingly the first production vehicles had many lightweight components and a lightweight body, including aluminium doors, roof and tailgate. PTO 625W was uprated in 2009 by 3S Development to compete in the FIA European Historic Rally Championships. This consisted of a strip and rebuild to meet full Renault Sport specification and comply with FIA requirements. This included, but was not limited to: Body and chassis strengthening to Renault Sport factory competition specification Competition cooling and aluminium pipework Original Renault Sport Tour de Corse dry sump engine and Renault Sport peripherals Group 4 Cavennes front suspension Tour de Corse rear suspension AP closed back classic calipers and discs Braided Maxi wiring loom Fire suppression system Heated front screen Recaro competition seats Competition instrumentation Pierangelo Rossi successfully campaigned the car in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 championships, with Luca Beltrame as co-driver. The his

    • Year: 1981
    • Mileage: 1981 mi
    For sale
  • Renault 5 TL 1980

    £3,195 £3,195

    Renault 5 TL de Juillet 1980, 1ère main de famille, 45144km certifiés Rare 1ère main en superbe état général, rien à redire pour ce très bel exemplaire passé d'une grand-mère à son neveu. Ultra saine de soubassements, jamais repeinte, intérieur comme neuf, pompe à eau récente avec contrôle du plan de joint, le tout en concession Renault! Tous renseignements par téléphone. Elle sera vendue avec une révision en atelier suivie de son contrôle technique. Livraison possible

    • Year: 1980
    For sale
  • Renault 5 Turbo 2

    £79,995 £79,995

    The centrally mounted 1397cc unit in the Turbo was derived from the Renault 5 Alpine hot hatch, known as the Gordini in the UK. Using a modified Lancia Stratos as a testbed, Renault began work on increasing the engine's output from a normally aspirated 93hp to a turbocharged 160hp; the result is what you see here.

    • Year: 1983
    • Mileage: 60761 mi
    For sale
  • Renault 5 Turbo

    £89,995 £89,995

    The centrally mounted 1397cc unit in the Turbo was derived from the Renault 5 Alpine hot hatch, known as the Gordini in the UK. Using a modified Lancia Stratos as a testbed, Renault began work on increasing the engine's output from a normally aspirated 93hp to a turbocharged 158hp; the result is what you see here.

    • Year: 1981
    • Mileage: 35815 mi
    For sale
  • Renault 5 Turbo 2

    £71,060 £71,060

    Renault 5 Turbo 2 1985. This beautiful Turbo 2 is in excellent condition and performs as it should. Finished in original rouge #705. Covered only 112,300 km, please contact us for further information and photos. F0000308

    • Year: 1985
    For sale
    Brooklands Classic Cars
    (intl)+61 3 9584 4909
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