Love turbocharged Renaults? Retromobile was the place to be

22nd February 2019
Gary Axon

France’s two leading and long-standing Parisian vehicle producer rivals – Renault and Citroën – forgot their century-long contests at this year’s Salon Retromobile in Paris, as for once Renault conceded exhibition prominence to Citroën on the occasion of the latter’s 100th anniversary.


With Citroën inevitably stealing the show at the 2019 Retromobile, mounting an impressive display of its proud road car and competition heritage, along with some rarely-seen prototypes, Renault (positioned directly opposite the large Citroën stand) chose to mark an important anniversary of its own, celebrating 45 years of the marque’s turbo era with a raft of (now rare) production road-going models.


Having pioneered the use of turbocharged engines in Formula One competition with its revolutionary RS01 Grand Prix racer in 1977, Renault went on to showcase it first production blown road car in late 1979; the pumped-up mid-engined two-seater R5 Turbo.


Renault displayed an original 1980 Renault 5 Turbo at Retromobile alongside a 1979-season F1 RS02, these high-performance machines being joined by a whole family of turbocharged production Renault models. These ranged from the 110bhp R18 Turbo ‘mass volume’ saloon, via blown versions of the Fuego Coupe, R9, R11, R25 and later R5 GT Turbo. One of the eleven production Renault Turbos exhibited at Retromobile is an uber-rare Safrane Bi-Turbo; a short-lived twin-turbo luxury hatchback, of which only 800 examples were built.

Photography by Tom Shaxson.

  • Retromobile

  • Retromobile 2019

  • Renault

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