While reading through back issues of Motorsport Magazine like every normal person in America definitely does, I spotted a weird claim. There it was, on page 49 of the January 1980 issue. The 165 horsepower mill mounted in the rear of the little hatchback made it the “most powerful current French production model.”
One of the greatest automotive films is Claude Lelouch's C'etait un Rendezvous, a nine-minute high-speed run through the streets of Paris ending with the hero getting the girl. French rally driver Jean Ragnotti paid tribute with his own drive through Paris, only with a slightly different ending.
There's wild oversteer, brutal crashes, NASCAR-grade drafting, and it all comes from pint-sized European econoboxes. This is the 1981 European Championship of the Renault R5 Turbo Cup. They're tiny, they're adorable, and yet they're also these fire breathing mid-engined monsters. Watch them tear each other to pieces.
The next time I hear some suit extol the virtues of whatever small turbocharged car they're hustling, I'm going to show them this Renault R5 and say, "That's nice, but can it do this?" [Retrorides via Tumblr]