Renault 5 Turbo 3 debuts as a 400 hp restomod tribute

In the 1980s, Renault wanted to emulate the rallying success of the mid-engine Lancia Stratos and decided to inject some venom into the Renault 5 Alpine, which is the hot hatch version of its supermini at the time.

The result was the Renault 5 Turbo, with 400 units being produced to comply with Group 4 regulations of the FIA World Rally Championship. Unlike the car it is based on, the R5 Turbo featured a new rear bodywork that was styled by Marc Deschamps at Bertone, which became instantly one of its most recognisable traits

The redesign was necessary to fit turbocharged Cléon-Fonte engine behind the driver, which sent drive to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. This was opposite of the front-engine, front-wheel drive setup found in the Renault 5 Alpine, and in 1981, a competition-spec R5 Turbo driven by Jean Ragnotti won the Monte Carlo on its first outing in the WRC.

When Renault was done with the homologation models, a second version called the Turbo 2 was introduced that used more conventional parts to bring down the price tag. While cheaper, it still retained many of the go-fast parts of the Turbo 1, so there was still plenty of performance on offer.

In honour of the homologation special, a French, Los Angeles-based company called Légende Automobiles has revealed a new restomod dubbed the Renault 5 Turbo 3, which it says combines the best bits of both cars – the Turbo 1 and Turbo 2 – with a good heaping of modern technology to improve it even further.

At first glance, there’s no doubt that the firm got the looks right. The R5 Turbo 3’s design closely mimics the classics mentioned, albeit with contemporary touches like LED lighting all around. Additionally, the body is hand-built using carbon-fibre and the staggered wheels (16-inch front and 17-inch rear) are available in two different designs.

Moving towards the rear, you’ll find air curtains incorporated into the C-pillars as a nod to the past, while the rear side glass is framed in carbon-fibre. The company also added an extended rear wing on the roof and a two-piece diffuser, the latter featuring custom-made square exhaust tips.

The exhaust system is linked to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that reportedly makes over 400 hp, and in keeping with heritage, is paired with a manual transmission driving the rear wheels. The company notes that the R5 Turbo 3 uses the latest version of the front and rear double wishbone geometry from the competition Maxi Turbo, making the car wider and more capable than its predecessors.

Inside, the general layout of the cabin has been retained for the restomod, but there’s now a fully digital instrument cluster display in place of the analogue dials. The controls for the dual-zone automatic climate control are also modern, while orange accents are applied throughout the interior. A pair of thin seats with racing harnesses and a roll cage completes the living space, along with exposed mechanicals for the gear lever.

“In a world that has become increasingly more digital, we were yearning for a time-machine that could transport us back to the analogue 80’s whenever modern life became a bit bland,” the company said. “We ignored all financial advice and spared no expense in making sure that this is the best possible version of the B-segment icon. In doing so, we created something unapologetically uncompromised,” it added. There’s no official pricing yet, but don’t expect it to come cheap, as with most restomods.

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