Spied in the clas­si­fieds Ter­mi­nally groovy used cars

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

All of us here at Au­to­car Tow­ers ad­mire the new Alpine A110, but some of us think its £50k-plus price is a lit­tle steep. Re­sort­ing to the used mar­ket for some­thing as en­ter­tain­ing as the A110, but at half the price, brings us face to face with the ruth­less Re­nault Sport Spi­der. Or wait: do we mean the roof­less Re­nault Sport Spi­der? This mag­nif­i­cently open con­fec­tion was one of the first ve­hi­cles to is­sue from the Re­nault Sport por­tals and was built in the Alpine fac­tory in Dieppe. The Spi­der took its mid-mounted 148bhp 2.0-litre en­gine from the Clio Wil­liams and, with just 920kg of car to pro­pel, the per­for­mance was lively: think 0-60mph in 6.5sec and an even­tual, and very windy, top speed of 131mph. It had a five-speed man­ual ’box driv­ing the rear wheels, an in­dus­trial-strength ex­truded alu­minium chas­sis, a com­pos­ite body with scis­sor doors and dou­ble wish­bones all round. It was fast, nim­ble and fun.

To­day, it still doesn’t lack for vis­ual drama or tac­tile plea­sure. With those enor­mous side air in­takes, its looks are head turn­ing, and its quick-flick (but, like the brakes, unas­sisted) steer­ing and im­mense grip are both still de­light­ful.

Search the web for a Spi­der and you’ll soon find one with legs. Once upon a time, you could buy one for a lot less than the one we found here, but only around 100 of them were im­ported to the UK so you have to ac­cept this is now a col­lec­tor’s car, and sub­ject to the whims of the mar­ket. They cost £25,950 new in 1996, so per­haps this 15,000-mile ex­am­ple’s ask­ing price of £28,995 isn’t so far-fetched. Af­ter all, it’s still nearly half the price of an A110.

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