RENAULT 5 MkII (19851996)
Looking for a classic that’ll stand up to the rigours of everyday use but which won’t break the bank? This is well worth a look
The original Renault 5 was a landmark car, a work of genius designed by Michel Boué, who never lived to see his fabulous creation go into production – barely changed from his initial sketches.
With 5.5 million made, Renault played it safe when it cooked up a replacement, so when the all-new MkII car (dubbed Supercinq) appeared in 1985, it hardly looked any different. Yet there was a fresh platform, the engines were now mounted transversely instead of longitudinally, and the interiors were more conventional and of a much better quality.
When the Supercinq arrived in the UK in February 1985 there were 1.0-, 1.1- or 1.4-litre petrol engines with the last available as an auto. A year later things got more interesting with the arrival of the GT Turbo, with a 115bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine. The normally aspirated 1.6 GTD diesel appeared in June 1986, a year before the 1.7 GTX joined the range and the GT Turbo’s power was boosted to 120bhp.
With the launch of the Clio in 1991 the 5 was on borrowed time, but Renault ran the two side by side, with the latter offered in Campus or GT Turbo forms for a few months.
Compared with the original R5 there are a lot of Supercinqs around, including regular editions in good condition. But it pays to shop around, as the Renault Owners’ Club’s Alasdair Worsley explains. ‘It’s not unusual for someone to buy a 5 for way over the odds, often from a dealer, assuming the extra money is buying a minter – only to find out later that they’ve bought a heap. From time to time we get people approaching the club after a purchase when what they should have done is get in touch beforehand – we know where most of the good cars are, and what they’re worth.
‘Parts availability is surprisingly good because some much later Renaults feature components that fit the 5. Also, the club has a warehouse full of parts, many at really low prices. Add to this the fact that these cars are still being broken because of their low values and there’s a healthy supply of good used bits too – some of which are given away by members keen to help each other. So the 5 is not only very cheap to buy but it’s ridiculously cheap to run.’
‘ We know where most of the good cars are and what they’re worth’