﹒In current family for last 10 years ﹒Serviced yearly with 2 oil changes ﹒Will come with a fresh MOT
﹒Ready to be enjoyed
Renault Sport (aka ‘RS’) was originally formed in 1976 by the merger of the Alpine and Gordini competition departments. Initially primarily responsible for Renault’s considerable range of activities in the motorsport arena, it has since played a growing role in the performance versions of Renault’s road cars. Despite Williams themselves having no involvement in the development of the car, the car named after the F1 team, the Clio Williams, was in fact the work of the RS team. But it wasn’t until 1999 that a model was launched bearing the competition department’s name: the Renault Sport Clio.
The first in a line of widely celebrated hot hatches, the car that later would be known as the Clio 172 (as later versions adopted the 182 suffix to denote an increase in power), the Phase I Clio featured wider front arches and a 2 litre 16 valve engine with variable valve timing that produced a power output of, you guessed it, 172PS. Driving the front wheels through a five speed manual gearbox, the Clio was good for 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds which is pretty feisty but the real attraction is the chassis which is where the RS team had most input. In 2001 the Clio was facelifted and the Clio RS received the same cosmetic tweaks as well as an uplift to its standard equipment which now included Xenon lights and automatic air conditioning. However it was the fattened torque curve and revised chassis settings which earned it a place on Evo Magazine’s illustrious car of the year gathering which puts it in rarefied company.
Later versions of the Clio grew in size, weight and complexity. Although the 197/200 models of the Clio have their own following, the market today sees a good deal of crossover between the prices of the earlier cars and their successors which just goes to highlight the appeal of the first Renaultsport-badged Clios.
This example has been in the same family for the last 10 years and was originally purchased by the seller’s daughter from another family who had apparently transferred ownership between various members of their family. The car has seen light usage over the last five years, adding fewer than ten thousand miles and, with the daughter having emigrated in 2018 with no imminent return on the cards, the car is being offered for sale.
The service book comes laden with 17 stamps in addition to the pre-delivery inspection which show that the car has always been regularly maintained, being serviced every year. Despite the light usage, under the current family’s ownership, the oil and filter has also been changed twice each year between services and it’s also had a great deal of attention lavished on it with new pedal box, fuel injection rail, air flow meter, fuel pump, battery, original spec exhaust and shock absorbers. In short, it hasn’t wanted for anything.
Despite the extensive attention, the owners have resisted the urge to try and improve on Renaultsport’s work and the car has been maintained in a completely original specification including the wheels and exhaust.
In addition to the V5, the car is accompanied by the full service pack containing the aforementioned stamps, all the original booklets and owner’s manual and a collection of receipts and old MOT’s.
For all its status as a renowned performance car, the Renaultsport Clio’s interior still owes much to the rest of the range and time has not been kind to many examples. This is categorically not the case here as the condition does little to betray the age or mileage of the car. There is no sign of the common ‘melting steering wheel’ issue while the seats are showing little sign of wear, with only some patination of the driver’s seat bolster and a small hole in the corner of base (caused by a key protruding from a jeans pocket). The dash, meanwhile, shows no marks or scuffs and the headlining is pristine. All of the buttons and switches function as intended, though the air conditioning could use a re-gas to blow properly cold. The carpets and boot are unmarked and under the boot carpet is all clean with the full size spare and original jack and toolkit present.
The metallic silver paintwork presents well, with very clean door shuts evidence of a rigorous cleaning regime. The bodywork has tight panel gaps and is very straight aside from a ‘minor indiscretion’ in the form of a small dent at the rear of the passenger side and a small dent towards the front of the driver’s door. Both appear to be within the realms of the possible for a paintless dent removal job. There is also a scrape at the base of the front bumper on the driver’s side which has been touched in. The wheels are original unrestored Renaultsport items and show some kerbing but are shod with tyres which were fitted fewer than 4000 miles ago in 2017.
The way the car drives is testament to the amount of attention lavished on its maintenance. It still feels tight and fresh and there are no vibrations, rattles, squeaks or knocking from the engine or drive train. The engine is very responsive, reportedly burns no oil and operates at the correct temperature in both summer and winter time. The gearchange is smooth with no sticky or crunching gears and there is no clutch judder. The power assisted steering is as it should be no squeaks or play and there are no noises on full lock. The brakes stop the car well and pads and discs are all in good condition. Under the bonnet there are no signs of any leaks. Mechanically, this car is ready to be enjoyed.
Despite the appearance of some widely-admired recent additions to the genre, it’s often been suggested that we are now past peak hot hatch. Modern regulations simply won’t allow for the same approach of taking a large engine, squeezing it into a small family car and sorting the handling of which the Clio is such a great example. Added to this, the usability of hot hatches is both a blessing and a curse, at least for long-term survival rates. That’s why values of the best-kept, standard examples are on the up.
While not quite concours condition, the car you see here has been meticulously maintained mechanically and, with the wheels refurbished and the bodywork sorted, would be nearly there as the interior is remarkably well preserved when compared to the many of the survivors. But, while showing it off would be one way to enjoy it, hot hatches are meant to be savoured from the driver’s seat and, with this one in peak condition, there would surely be the temptation to get out on the open road. That’s a decision for the lucky next owner. If you want your name on the V5 of a prime example of a Renaultsport Clio, then get your bid in now. There aren’t many left in this condition and you may regret it if you let this one pass you by.
** The photos in this listing have been provided to us by the seller **
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