Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
Renault introduced its frugal 5 model to the European market in 1972. It was one of the first “superminis”; larger than a Mini, but smaller than a VW Beetle or Ford Escort, and usually a hatchback with two doors and front wheel drive. The 5 is considered one of the more influential designs of the 1970s. It’s funky yet practical design helped it to sell well to younger buyers.
In 1976, Renault brought the 5 to the US and badged it as “Le Car”. The name not only played upon its French je ne sais quois but also lead to some humor in advertising. Sold through AMC dealerships, the Le Car’s petite, air-cooled 55 hp engine and quirky styling was not a hit with American buyers. Renault pulled the Le Car from the US market in 1981, replacing it with the larger Encore and Alliance (whose name was a nod to the Renault/AMC partnership).
The car seen here is from the second generation of the 5. The 5 GT Turbo was developed in the vein of the “hot hatch” category, along with the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Peugeot 205 GTi. It is often confused with Renault’s R5 Turbo (which is based on the same car, but with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout), a car better known for competing in the World Rally Championship. In 1987, the 5 GT gained a water-cooled, turbocharged 1.4 liter four-cylinder with 118hp. This new engine helped the 1,874 lb. 5 GT Turbo get to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds; by comparison, a BMW 635CSI accomplished the same feat in 7.4 seconds.
Renault replaced the 5 with the Clio in 1991, after selling nearly 9 million units in its 24-year run.
Manufacturer: La Régie Nationale des Usines Renault
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Engine: Water-cooled, turbocharged, 1.4L, four-cylinder, 118 HP
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Top Speed: 120 mph
Years of Production: 1985-1991 (total 5 production)
Production Numbers: nearly 9 million (total 5 production)
Original Cost: £7,360 (GBP in 1988), or approx. $13,000 (USD in 1988) (5 GT Turbo)