Die-Cast Delights: A Renault 5 Turbo in 1:18 Scale

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Some people follow themes in their diecast car collections. Some folk own a model of everything ever in the entire Ferrari back catalogue. Some folk collect exclusively silver models, and there are, of course, motorsport fanatics who use their collection to demonstrate their allegiance to a given team or driver.
Me? I collect stuff I think is awesome. That’s all. And what’s more awesome than a tiny shopping hatchback transformed into a fire-breathing Group-B rally monster? The answer I’m looking for is “very little”.
It’s the Renault 5 Turbo.

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“TURBO” that’s “TURBO”. Got it? “TURBO”. Yeah.

There have been various breathed-on Renault Cinq’s over the years, starting with the Renault 5 Alpine of ’76, which the British among us enjoyed as the Gordini as the constantly-rebranded Rootes Group got all sniffy about other people using the “Alpine” name. With 93hp in a body weighing less than a bag of Frito-Lay’s finest, it was a nippy little blighter.
Nippier still was the Alpine / Gordini Turbo which came next; same basic mechanical package except for a nice little Garrett snail granting an extra seventeen horses. The nought-to-sixty dash dropped to just under nine seconds. Good stuff, but not nearly as mental as the car represented by the model in these images.
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Click to sniff the exhaust fumes

The 1397cc engine is basically the same in architecture and size, but very turbocharged indeed and expressing itself with 158hp. Said engine was deemed so lovely that Renault thought it better positioned in the rear passenger compartment so that the driver could look at it and caress its metallic form without opening the bonnet. This decision also had the secondary benefit of improving weight distribution and made rear-wheel-drive an obvious configuration. Dress it all with a gung-ho bodykit and scoops galore (the better to cool, ventilate and feed the still-carburettored engine and cover the necessary increase in front and rear track) and a star was born.
Click to hear dat wastegate.
Click to hear dat wastegate.

It was an immediate success, going straight out and winning the Monte Carlo Rally, but despite ever-increasing power levels, culminating in a Dassault Mirage-rivalling 345hp in the Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, competition from an increasingly four-wheel-drive opposition meant the sun didn’t shine on it for very long. However, irrespective of the motorsport background it certainly gave rise to a hell of a road car. And a hell of a 1:18 scale model, too.
Click to suffer gravel-rash
Click to suffer gravel-rash

It’s made by Revell, and is the same model as what went on to be marketed under the Universal Hobbies label.  It’s got it all, really. The doors all open, the engine cover in the passenger compartment lifts (awkwardly) to expose that mid-mounted turbo-four complete with plug wires. The chassis is beautifully detailed with all the custom bits that differentiate it from lesser Cinqs being faithfully represented, and the dashboard, dials and decor are worthy of appreciative gawping.
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Click to zero the trip-meter

It’s a terrific model. If I had a complaint it would be that the shut-lines aren’t 100% consistent and precision of casting isn’t perfect. And perhaps the paint is slightly over-glossy. But none of these complaints are really justifiable in the light of what I paid for it; a fraction over £20 on eBay, and that’s where I urge you to pick up your copy. It may take a while for one to turn up, but it’ll be well worth the wait.
My only problem now is resisting the temptation to score a Clio V6 to go with it.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2015)

About RoadworkUK

RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.

8 Comments

  1. That is the cleanest R5 Turbo I have seen in 16 years. I’m curious about the setting. One doesn’t normally see such clean geometries from stone.

  2. Nice model with great detailing. This is the original series 5 turbo with the special dash and interior. Too bad the real car pictured doesn’t have the wild steering wheel of the model.

  3. This makes a nice contrast to the super-accurate Ottomobile 1:18 resin not-diecast which has perfect proportions but no opening parts. It was even available in the same colour choice, but with much greater accuracy. Why can’t anyone manage to make the best of both?
    http://otto-models.com/3999-thickbox_default/renault-5-turbo.jpg
    http://otto-models.com/4001-thickbox_default/renault-5-turbo.jpg
    http://otto-models.com/4003-thickbox_default/renault-5-turbo.jpg
    http://otto-models.com/3998-thickbox_default/renault-5-turbo.jpg

  4. I used to have that same color (full size car). The steering wheel on the model is correct and the one photo’d is an aftermarket addition.

  5. “And what’s more awesome than a tiny shopping hatchback transformed into a
    fire-breathing Group-B rally monster? The answer I’m looking for is ‘very little’.”
    Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps if, in addition to all that, it’s British.

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