Monday, April 30, 2012

1981 Renault R5 Alpine

I have to believe, based on the emails I get and the comments posted on the blog, that Just A Car Geek has a higher percentage of R5 / Le Car fans than any other North American car blog or website. (That would be a "per reader percentage." I'm not saying that JaCG has as many readers as the well known sites. It's also a complete - no facts or research involved - guess.) Maybe that has something to do with the fact that yours truly is an R5 / Le Car fan.

With that in mind, there was no way I could pass on a chance to write about this car, even though I have some concerns about it.

This is an R5 Alpine. While it's not as powerful as the R5 Alpine Turbo (or, most certainly, the R5 Turbo), it's still a very cool car.

The R5 Alpine came with a 1397cc "hemi" engine. It was good for around 97 HP. (The US Le Car engine was a 1397cc non-hemi and produced just 55 HP.) That was good enough to get the car to 60 in 9.7 seconds. Top speed was over 100 MPH.

Besides the more powerful engine, the Alpine's suspension was stiffened and it came with a 5 speed transmission. Visually, it had a front air dam with fog lights, different trim and custom wheels. (I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the wheels. I prefer the "mag" wheels that were offered as an option on the US Le Car.)

This car has a few red flags. The seller claims it has 38,015 miles on it. Unless it was once owned by Edward Scissorhands, the steering wheel looks like it has more than 38,000 miles on it. The car has obviously been repainted. (There is black undercoating on the inner fenders. It didn't come from Renault like that.) That in itself is not unusual for a 31 year old car, but it looks like the hood doesn't line up quite right with the fender and headlights. The seller says the engine was rebuilt 4 years ago. A 38,000 mile car with a rebuilt engine? Hmmmm...

There could be some very innocent reasons for the things I pointed out above, but this is a car that needs to be checked out thoroughly before you bid on it. (That's not going to be super simple either, as the car is located in Mexico.)

If you're an R5 fan and can take a quick trip to Mexico, this is a very cool car and one worth checking out. Just check it out very, very closely.

Located in "Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico," click here to see the eBay listing.

1 comment:

Daniel Jop said...

I came accross this article almost 5 years too late, I am 30 year old mexican adult who has owned several Renaults ( 2004 Clio RS, 1984 R5 TX, 2005 Megane II RS and currently both a 2003 Clio Sport and a 1979 R5 TS). So I know these cars too well by now.

Observations are several:
1.Alpines were never sold in Mexico ( Exception of the A110 called Dinalpin because the truck manufacturer called Dina, built these under license during the 60s).
2. From 1978 to 1983 all R5´s had the 1.3 engine until 1984 on their last year that upgraded to the 1.4 with double pulley water pump and electronic ignition among those ugly american spec bumpers.
3. The car in this ad seems to be a 1984 TX with some modifications ( rear wiper, older style gauges with the tachometer which was exclusive to the TS from 1979-1980)
4. Those seats are from a 1984 TX
5. Retrofitted with aftermarket bumper
6. Retrofitted with older style headlights ( later ones got sealed american spec beams)
7. Those wheels where the regular Mirage wheels, standard unless it was the base LS model with steel wheels
8. Sunroof was not a dealer option
9. Mexican 5´s never got hemi heads and ALL of them had the single barrel Solex/Bocar carburetor

That being said, part offering to convert them is somewhat easy except for the gearbox, which was also never offered with the 5 speed gearbox.

If you are still updating this blog i would love to help you with Renault material since Renaults are somewhat more common in Mexico and the brand is still present after it came back after AMC/VAM demise.