Restomodding isn’t just a matter of giving a vintage car some fancy leather and new metal. It gives beloved classic icons a second chance to thrill drivers thanks to modern tech and quality standards. But for some, the ‘basic’ restomod process doesn’t go quite far enough. Instead of restoration, these clients and businesses go for full-on reimagination. And that’s exactly what Legende Automobiles’ Turbo 3 is the Renault 5 Turbo.
The Legende Automobiles Turbo 3 resurrects the Renault 5 Turbo in carbon-fiber glory
Rallying has been the driving force behind some iconic and bonkers cars. Many of them have been hot hatches like the Lancia Delta Integrale. But before the Delta and AWD cars like the Quattro ruled the rally stage, rear-wheel drive was the default choice.
The Renault 5 Turbo, aka ‘R5 Turbo,’ though, was an unusual RWD rally car. That’s because it started life as an inexpensive, front-wheel-drive subcompact hatch. However, to get the 5 race-ready, Renault’s engineers turned it from a front-engine car into a mid-engine one. They also widened the track, upgraded the suspension, and turbocharged and intercooled the now fuel-injected engine. Et voila, the 1980 Renault 5 Turbo. More specifically, the Renault 5 Turbo 1.
Because of homologation rules, Renault had to offer the road-going version with similar parts to the race car. That means a lightweight aluminum roof and rear hatch as well as a fiberglass hood, doors, and fenders. On top of that, the road-going Turbo 1 got a bespoke Bertone-designed interior, The Drive notes. All of this made the mid-engine hot hatch expensive to buy and make. Hence why the 1983-1986 Turbo 2 models have steel instead of aluminum and a conventional interior, Bring a Trailer explains.
To be fair, the later Turbo 2 Evo cars did add the aluminum parts back in. Nevertheless, Renault’s “cost-cutting measures” mean the Turbo 2 plays second-fiddle to the earlier car, Top Gear says. And that’s where LA-based Legende Automobiles comes in with its Turbo 3.
Taking the Gunther Werks approach, the Turbo 3 doesn’t have aluminum, steel, or fiberglass body panels, Instead, its body is hand-made out of “mostly” carbon fiber. And while the Renault 5 Turbo’s fenders were already flared wide, the Turbo 3 is even wider. But that’s not just for looks: it’s because of the hatchback’s other upgrades.
It’s more advanced and more powerful than the original
Before it got the Turbo treatment, the Renault 5’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine made 92 hp in Alpine trim. But thanks to its modifications, the Turbo 1 makes 160 bhp and 163 lb-ft of torque, Evo reports. The Turbo 2, meanwhile, also makes 160 bhp but only 158 lb-ft of torque. And with its heavier curb weight, the Turbo 2 goes 0-62 mph in 7.7 seconds, rather than 6.6 seconds.
While those figures made the Renault 5 Turbo fast in its day, Legende Automobiles’ Turbo 3 should be even faster. That’s because its mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 400 hp. Just like the original, the Turbo 3 is RWD. But instead of a five-speed manual, it has a six-speed manual—and there’s a sequential option, Motor1 notes.
To put that power down, the Turbo 3 rides on custom 16” front wheels and 17” rear wheels. They’re larger and wider than the Renault 5 Turbo’s original wheels, one reason for the wider body. The other reason is because of its double-wishbone suspension, an upgraded version of the racing 5 Maxi Turbo’s suspension. Legende Automobiles also fits its hot hatch with an extended rear wing, air curtains in the C-pillars, and a two-piece rear diffuser with dual exhausts.
In addition, the Turbo 3 features LED lighting as well as a redesigned interior with a digital gauge cluster and a custom two-spoke steering wheel. Plus, it comes with automatic dual-zone climate control, well-bolstered sport seats, five-point racing harnesses, and a rear-mounted roll cage. Also, cup holders, TG points out.
How much does Legende Automobiles’ Turbo 3 cost compared to the Renault 5 Turbo?
As of this writing, Legende Automobiles hasn’t released pricing details for the Turbo 3. But it’s safe to say this carbon-fiber ultra-hot hatch won’t be cheap. And don’t forget, you have to supply a donor Renault 5 Turbo.
If you’re looking for that donor car, Turbo 2s are more plentiful and cheaper than Turbo 1s. ‘Cheaper,’ though, doesn’t mean inexpensive. A good-to-excellent condition Turbo 1 is easily worth $100K, Hagerty says. And a Turbo 2 in similar condition typically goes for roughly $80K on BaT.
Still, for those looking to revive a legend, the price might be worth it.
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