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Spotted: a 1988 Renault 5 GTS

June 30, 2023

The original Renault 5 entered the market in 1972. In its day, it was quite a revolutionary car. Hatchbacks already existed, but hardly in such a compact yet practical form. The bumpers were also special. No chrome bars on the car, but plastic parts that were nicely integrated into the bodywork. By the way, did you know that the now iconic design of the R5 began as a leisure project of the designer? Despite its successor number, the R5 was not a successor to the Renault 4, but was delivered alongside it as a more luxurious alternative. The little Renault quickly became a great success and eventually more than 5.5 million units of this first model were sold.

Renault 5 in all shapes and sizes

The R5’s offerings continued to expand over the years. Originally the car came only as a three-door, but a five-door variant was added to the lineup in 1979. In the form of the Renault 7, there was also a four-door sedan version starting in 1974, but it was only sold in a limited number of countries. In the form of the Renault LeCar, the R5 even had a modest American career.

The fundamentally economical and well-behaved hatchback also provided an excellent basis for sporty variants. So came Alpine and Gordini sports versions, but the absolute pinnacle is the now legendary Renault 5 Turbo, with its substantially expanded body and mid-engine in the place of the rear seats. The Turbo was a homologation model for rally racing.

Renault 5, chapter two

The success of the R5 spurred other manufacturers to come up with similar competitors. In 1984, Renault struck back with the second-generation R5. The familiar trapezoidal body remained, but otherwise the design was completely tightened for the 1980s. To emphasize its great progress over the first model, the new Renault 5 was also called Supercinq, or Superfive.

The new Renault 5 came again as a three- and five-door hatchback. For lack of demand, there was no longer a sedan version, though Renault did supply the Express. An R5-based van to replace the Renault 4 Van. Such an extreme sports version as the original Turbo did not come, but in the form of the Renault 5 GT Turbo, the brand did have a hot hatchback on offer.

The spotted specimen

The second generation R5 failed to match the sales success of the first model, but was still a very popular model. Even here in the Netherlands, they were almost literally on every street corner. Anno 2023, it is unfortunately a singularity to come across the compact Frenchman, so when we came across this one in the village of Driebruggen the other day, we made a photo stop right away.

We see here, to be precise, an original 1988 Dutch Renault 5 GTS. The GTS was one of the more luxurious versions, with a 50 kW (68 hp) 1.4-liter gasoline engine under the hood. The current owner has owned it for just under a year now. It must be a lover, if only because the interior is well protected from the sun. Then this wasn’t even on one of the really hot days we’ve just had now. Besides, this R5 just looks really nice. The peeling top coat of plastics on the rear is therefore a striking contrast to the rest of the car, which seems almost new.

We wish the owner many more happy miles. Hopefully, this Renault 5 will continue to brighten the Dutch street scene for a long time to come.

A new Renault 5?

Will there be another Renault 5 on every street corner in a few years? It just might. Renault is working on a third generation for the model, which should go into production in 2024 after a 28-year “pause. It will be an all-electric hatchback that listens to the name Renault 5 EV and – above all – stays true to its original body shape. The Renault 5 Protoype (concept car) already provides concrete foreshadowing. From us it may go into production unchanged!