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    RENAULT 5 TURBO

    The story behind the very first 0001 R5 Turbo ever made, restored and back on the road.

    The Original / Words Davy Photos Etienne Crebessegues

    WE’VE GOT OUR HANDS ON ONE OF THE RAREST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL FRENCH CARS OF ALL TIME, THE ORIGINAL NO. 0001 R5 TURBO…

    If you were to draw up a list of the most iconic performance French cars of all time, chances are the Renault 5 Turbo, especially in full-fat Phase 1 guise, would be very near the top. This car has passed into Régie legend, and its Group B exploits, particularly those stunning giant killing performances with Jean Ragnotti behind the wheel, are burned bright into the memory of any Renault rally fan. Of course as awesome as the competition car was, the road cars were what really captured the public's attention.

    At launch at the #1980-Brussels-Motor-Show , the unassuming hatch caused quite a stir, and a brief look at the spec shows why – a rev-happy, pushrod 1.4 located longitudinally in the middle of the car which, thanks to a Garrett turbo, could push 158bhp to the rear wheels. The 3576 cars built between 1980 and 1984 were assured a place as modern classics from the start, and have always been highly prized by collectors. That said, while all R5 Turbos are special, some are more special than others.

    The car you see here looks much like any other, but it has a fascinating story to tell, one that stems from it being the very first R5T to roll off the line. This means that it spent the first few months of its existence in wholly spectacularly fashion, being photographed for a wealth of Renault promotional material, and even being driven to within an inch of its life by none other than Mr Ragnotti himself! Being the first car meant that it was (along with 399 other examples) a Turbo 1, and one of the cars built by Renault so that the FIA would allow them to take the car rallying. You'd assume, with a pedigree like this, the car would've been snapped up by a private collector, or at the very least used for clubman level rallying, but no. Chassis 001 was in fact sent to a regular dealership in Southern France where it was sold to a man who had no idea of its provenance and used extensively for a number of years. Time and extensive use took their toll – these were always highly strung, extremely specialised little buzz-bombs at the best of times – and eventually the first owner tucked the slightly tired R5 away in a garage, where it stayed for the next 25 years!

    The story might well have ended there and then, had the man's nephew, a Mr Cedric Lelon, not begun asking questions about the rally legend gathering dust in the garage. Eventually, Cedric convinced his uncle to let him take the car, and began the, not inconsiderable, task of unearthing it from under a quarter of a century's worth of boxes and stored household paraphernalia. We don't know what Cedric's actual words were when he finally wheeled the car out into the sunshine and was greeted by the plaque on the dash stamped '0001', but we're willing to bet it was some kind of Gallic swear word! (Zut alors! or Mon Dieu perhaps? – Davy)


    Further research into the car began to shed light on its history, including its starring role in most of Renault's official launch literature for the R5T. The clincher? A trip to the Renault History Collection with the car in tow to allow some experts to give it the once over, plus the small detail of a subtly sunken fuel filler cap. All other examples have a slightly different cap position, but Cedric's was noticeably deeper, a detail that corresponded with the various period photos he'd amassed. Of course, simply identifying this R5T as the first didn't mean it hadn't suffered.


    Despite the low mileage covered, it'd still spent a long, long time in a non-too weatherproof garage. Though the majority of the panels could be saved with painstaking metal work, the aluminium bonnet, hatch and roof had all taken the full force of years of household detritus, something that delayed the bodywork restoration yet further. While this was being undertaken by a specialist, Cedric was stripping down the C-type engine, five-speed gearbox and suspension, the rear of which was actually a modified version of that found in the old A310 Alpine, so wishbones and springs replaced the regular car's torsion beam. Though calling the engine tired would probably be being charitable, it was at least in a salvageable state, and it came together nicely once Cedric had honed the bores, fitted new piston rings, gaskets, and given the K-Jetronic injection system and #Garrett-T3 a rebuild.

    After more than a year of steady, painstaking graft, the car was finally back together, looking just as good as it did in its press heyday, thanks to a respray in OE red. The distinctly old school four-pot grumbled into life and, after some careful fettling, fell into an even, perfect idle. Since then Cedric has used the car extensively for shows, plus the odd back-road blast – and can you really blame him? This is a car that was built to tackle twisty, demanding French Asphalt roads, and it's the surface that it well and truly succeeded on, clinching a number of world rally victories before the sheer grunt of the Quattro overwhelmed it. Not that Cedric minds, he now has one of the most significant examples of what might well be the most iconic of all hot classic French cars.

    TECHICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1980 #Renault-5-Turbo / #Renault-5 / #Renault /

    ENGINE: #Cleon-Fonte / Longitudinal, mid-mounted 1397cc four-cylinder 8v, 7.0:1CR, 76x77mm bore x stroke, #Garrett-T3 / #Garrett turbo blowing 0.9BAR, intercooler, #Bosch-K-Jetronic / #Bosch mechanical fuel injection, front mounted radiator and battery.

    TRANSMISSION: Five-speed gearbox, uprated clutch.

    BRAKES: Discs all round power assisted.

    SUSPENSION:
    Front: Uprated spring and damper package, ARB.
    Rear: Double wishbone arrangement, uprated springs and dampers, ARB.

    WHEELS & TYRES: 13in Split rims, Michelin tyres 190/55HR340 (front), 220/55VR390 (rear).

    INTERIOR: Renault 5T1 interior with red vinyl, dash and door cards, blue carpeting over engine and floor, various boost, engine temperature and oil pressure gauges.

    EXTERIOR: Renault 5T three door bodyshell in OE red, aluminium doors, roof, bonnet and boot, wide arches with cooling vents, fibreglass bracing in front.
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    Greg Parton
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    Greg Parton
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    1972 #De-Tomaso-Pantera Paragon in white – Perfection Pantera

    The #1972 #De-Tomaso Pantera

    Some cars have just got “it”. As petrolheads we all know finding a car with that special X factor takes time and when you do come across one you need to grab it with both hands. The De Tomaso Pantera was and still is a car that possesses that unexplained element that makes it undeniably distinctive, and when Greg Parton found a one-owner 1972 model owned by a retired gentleman in Sandton, he knew that he had to have it for his collection. So what is it exactly that makes the Pantera so special? Could it be the fact that there are so few left in South Africa that you could probably count them on one hand? Or maybe it’s the fact that you get stunning Italian looks combined with raw American muscle under the bonnet? Maybe it’s because you could get it at a fraction of the price of a Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari 308? Whatever it is, the Pantera has “it” in spades.


    The other thing that you’ll find in a Pantera, besides that special X factor, is the many foibles that the car was plagued with from the factory. Build quality was considered extremely poor in the early models and the car was notorious for overheating. But one could argue that this is part of what gives the car its character and in a way this is what results in many love/hate relationships between owners and their Panteras. Elvis Presley famously shot at his Pantera when it would not start. But even though the car has its downfalls Greg refuses outright to modify it. He believes (like many other fanatical purists worldwide) that the Pantera needs to be preserved and that it would be sacrilege to lose the essence of what makes it so damn special. Many owners have been modifying their Panteras to make them more mechanically reliable and some even more modern looking. De Tomaso themselves also slapped on an aggressive front bumper, flared wheel arches and the wing from a Lamborghini Countach in the ‘80s when the design started looking a bit long in the tooth. But the original version like the one you see before you is still the one to have according to the connoisseurs.

    You might recall the jaw-dropping yellow Pantera we featured in our July issue that was built by Ringbrothers in the USA, which is a highly modified version. That #Pantera was special in its own way, but Greg’s personal preference is to keep his Pantera completely bone stock and original. Unbelievably, you can still get every single part for the Pantera from the States. The car was developed in 1971 with the backing of Ford, meaning that the car ended up with whatever engine the Mustang was equipped with in any given year, in this case a bulletproof cast iron #Ford-351-Cleveland . Besides being mid-engined like the Ford GT40, it also shares the same wheelbase and ZF transaxle that is still being produced today. In fact, the Pantera can be restored completely with every original nut and bolt from the factory, which is what Greg intends on doing. There are a few parts that are not original on his car and he intends changing that. He’s already ordered a few shipping containers worth of goodies for his Pantera that are making their way across the pond as you read this.

    But you’d be mistaken in thinking that this Pantera is a complete wreck; quite the opposite in fact. This car is so stunning that I could not believe my eyes when I saw it in the flesh. Sure, the interior may be outdated now but it is still a wonderful place to sit; a more than snug fit if you are taller than six feet (which Greg is). You sit a few inches off the ground with the vast 5.7L V8 grunting six inches from your ear, emitting a spine-tingling bark from the four provocatively raised exhaust pipes at the rear, which is my favourite styling bit of the car, along with the exposed chrome gear gate. The rest of the car simply cannot be faulted. I finally met one of my heroes, a car that I had as a bedroom pin-up poster as a child and I was not disappointed. This is truly Pantera perfection.

    OWNER: Greg Parton
    LOCATION: Durban
    MAKE: #Ford
    MODEL: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera
    ENGINE: Original Ford 5.7L 351 #Cleveland-V8
    TRANNY: Original #Ford-GT40 #ZF transaxle
    SUSPENSION: Original
    INTERIOR: Original
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    Greg Parton
    Greg Parton created a new group De Tomaso Pantera

    De Tomaso Pantera Open Group

    The brilliancy of Italian coachwork is known and recognized the world over. Among the great Italian coachbuilders, Ghia Studios of Turin stands unsurpassed. In all its 50 years Ghia has never displayed more superb styling or meticulous detailing than in the de Tomaso Pantera. Here is feline grace captured in tautly smooth steel, an exciting marriag...e of form and function, with body and frame welded as a single structure to make this a singularly light yet most rigid car of high performance.

    Pantera’s soundproofed and air-conditioned cockpit is elegantly appointed and richly designed. The emphasis is on luxurious comfort, an avoidance of the Spartan austerity usually associated with sports car interiors. Space-age technology' is reflected in the instilment layout and the central command console, angled to provide optimum visibility for the driver and easy access to the bank of rocker-type switches. The steering wheel and dash pad, of course, are handsomely padded. Uncompromising care is evident in every detail of the interior, from the body-contoured bucket seats to the curved glass of the side windows.

    Pantera is Italian for panther. Under Pantera's sleek skin is a high-performance automobile as you might expect. The midship engine is placed to provide well-balanced weight distribution and excellent road-holding. The magnesium wheels were especially created for the Pantera. Each wheel is independently suspended and provided with its own power-assisted disc brake, internally vented for cooling, giving Pantera superb braking ability. The 351 CID 4V Ford V8 delivers its power to the rear wheels through a five-speed gearbox, fully synchronized in all forward gears.

    In Italy, people still build cars with passion. One of them is Alejandro de Tomaso. And this is his car Pantera. Conceived without compromise. A car so carefully built (it is virtually handmade) there will only be 2,500 made the first year. Mid-engined like a racing car. An ultra-high-performance sports coupe that stands a little higher than the average man's belt buckle, it scats two (and only two) and it’s priced in the neighbourhood of $10,000.

    Obviously, Pantera is for the few who demand something extraordinary. The body is the inspired work of Ghia, the renowned coachbuilder. It is Italian craftsmanship at its finest. Monocoque construction fuses the steel skin and frame into an incredibly strong and rigid structure.

    The engine is a 351 CID, 4-barrel V8 placed just ahead of the rear axle, which gives Pantera some huge advantages over conventional sports cars. Better vision forward. Less power-Ioss. Better weight distribution. And the tightest, most satisfying handling characteristics you’ve ever experienced.

    With five forward speeds fully synchronized, independent suspension of all four wheels (die-cast magnesium wheels are optional), rack and pinion steering, power-boosted disc brakes-even an ingenious sys-tem to prevent you from inadvertently selecting the wrong gear while shifting, the de Tomaso Pantera has to be one of the most impressive vehicles ever offered here at any price.
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    Greg Parton
    Greg Parton created a new group De Tomaso Pantera

    De Tomaso Pantera Open Group

    The brilliancy of Italian coachwork is known and recognized the world over. Among the great Italian coachbuilders, Ghia Studios of Turin stands unsurpassed. In all its 50 years Ghia has never displayed more superb styling or meticulous detailing than in the de Tomaso Pantera. Here is feline grace captured in tautly smooth steel, an exciting marriag...e of form and function, with body and frame welded as a single structure to make this a singularly light yet most rigid car of high performance.

    Pantera’s soundproofed and air-conditioned cockpit is elegantly appointed and richly designed. The emphasis is on luxurious comfort, an avoidance of the Spartan austerity usually associated with sports car interiors. Space-age technology' is reflected in the instilment layout and the central command console, angled to provide optimum visibility for the driver and easy access to the bank of rocker-type switches. The steering wheel and dash pad, of course, are handsomely padded. Uncompromising care is evident in every detail of the interior, from the body-contoured bucket seats to the curved glass of the side windows.

    Pantera is Italian for panther. Under Pantera's sleek skin is a high-performance automobile as you might expect. The midship engine is placed to provide well-balanced weight distribution and excellent road-holding. The magnesium wheels were especially created for the Pantera. Each wheel is independently suspended and provided with its own power-assisted disc brake, internally vented for cooling, giving Pantera superb braking ability. The 351 CID 4V Ford V8 delivers its power to the rear wheels through a five-speed gearbox, fully synchronized in all forward gears.

    In Italy, people still build cars with passion. One of them is Alejandro de Tomaso. And this is his car Pantera. Conceived without compromise. A car so carefully built (it is virtually handmade) there will only be 2,500 made the first year. Mid-engined like a racing car. An ultra-high-performance sports coupe that stands a little higher than the average man's belt buckle, it scats two (and only two) and it’s priced in the neighbourhood of $10,000.

    Obviously, Pantera is for the few who demand something extraordinary. The body is the inspired work of Ghia, the renowned coachbuilder. It is Italian craftsmanship at its finest. Monocoque construction fuses the steel skin and frame into an incredibly strong and rigid structure.

    The engine is a 351 CID, 4-barrel V8 placed just ahead of the rear axle, which gives Pantera some huge advantages over conventional sports cars. Better vision forward. Less power-Ioss. Better weight distribution. And the tightest, most satisfying handling characteristics you’ve ever experienced.

    With five forward speeds fully synchronized, independent suspension of all four wheels (die-cast magnesium wheels are optional), rack and pinion steering, power-boosted disc brakes-even an ingenious sys-tem to prevent you from inadvertently selecting the wrong gear while shifting, the de Tomaso Pantera has to be one of the most impressive vehicles ever offered here at any price.
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