Logic tells manufacturers that if they need to build a rear-wheel drive racing machine, they should base it on one of their rear-wheel drive chassis. But what if you were Renault in the late seventies, with no rear-wheel drive platform in sight, yet an ambition to chase the mid-engined Lancia Stratos? Enter the front-wheel drive supermini, the Renault 5.
Sure, the R5 had to be extremely modified before it could become a rear-wheel drive Group B monster, but Renault mastered the job, inspiring Peugeot and MG to follow up with the 205 T16 and the MG 6R4 in the mid-eighties.
But the Renault 5 Turbo was the original, with its Bertone-styled wide butt and mid-mounted 1397 cc Cléon-Fonte turbo four-cylinder, which was tuned to produce up to 350 horsepower by 1985.
But the road-going Turbo 2 isn't that extreme. When new, it was cheaper than the original homologation cars, featuring fewer of the lightweight parts than the Turbo 1s. Still, a top speed of 120 mph and a zero-to-sixty run in 6.9 seconds wasn't too shabby from a car that was originally intended to be no more than good a city runabout.