Renault 5 GT Turbo

Tom Forbes ‘I paid well over the value for it but knew it was immaculate and original'

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  • Year: 1998

  • Mileage: 179,000

  • Acquired: 2006

  • Dream car: 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT


Why did you choose the car?

I was seven years old when I first experienced a Renault 5 GT Turbo. A family friend had a brand-new silver one and as we raced my dad in a Passat GT I fell for the French pocket rocket.

I have owned many more including this current Glacier white one. I had been looking for an original example when my friend bought me one! After he did a total overhaul using genuine Renault parts I convinced him to sell it. I paid well over the value for it, but I knew it was immaculate, original and I would be handing it down to my children rather than ever selling it.

What’s the best bit? 

Its originality and it’s a real head turner. People take photos, videos and stop to talk, invariably to say they had one and wished they hadn’t sold it!

What’s the worst bit?

The fear of driving it in case you damage it or break a part that cannot be sourced either from Renault or on the used market.

Any modifications?

None – It is currently running on Clio Turine alloys, but I have the standard 13-inch Speedlines in storage. The original Uniroyal tyres are hard to find so I am trying to preserve them.

What’s it like to run?

Parts have become unicorn rare, like bumper strips, seats and gear knobs and command big money. Some mechanical parts can still be sourced. The community is more accessible with groups on social media platforms offering friendly help, advice and ads.

Any advice for owners?

Try not to drive them on salted roads. The undersides don’t like it with rusty sills being a major issue on many of the few R5s left on the roads today.

Any funny mishaps?  

Pulling into Goodwood Circuit car park, when the anti-perc fan sensor fell through the turbo heatshield and melted the wires, filling the place with smoke and my pants with excrement.