Renault A5 Alpine: blue body with 92 HP. Made in 1976.

The Renault 5 is a five-passenger, three or five-door, front-engine, front-wheel drive hatchback supermini manufactured and marketed by the French automaker Renault over two generations: 1972–1985 (also called R5) and 1984–1996 (also called Super 5 or Supercinq). The R5 was marketed in the US and Canada as Le Car, from 1976 until 1983.

Renault marketed a four-door sedan variant, the Renault 7, manufactured from 1974 until 1984 in Spain by Renault’s subsidiary FASA-Renault and exported to select markets.

The Renault 5 became the best-selling car in France from 1972 until 1986, with a total production exceeding 5.5 million over a 14-year period, making it France’s most popular car.

The Renault 5 Alpine was one of the first hot-hatches, launched in 1976 – going on sale two months before the original Volkswagen Golf GTI and two years after the Simca 1100Ti.

The right-hand drive version was shown at the British Motor Show in 1978 and was officially on sale from 4 April 1979 in the UK and was sold as the Renault 5 Gordini because Chrysler Europe already had the rights to the name “Alpine” in the UK and it had just been introduced on the Chrysler Alpine (UK version of Simca 1307) at the time.

This was still months before the right-hand drive VW Golf GTi which also took three years to be converted by the factory to RHD. Use of the name Gordini was from Amédée Gordini, who was a French tuner with strong links with Renault and previous sporting models such as the Renault 8.

This (and the later Alpine Turbo models) were assembled at Alpine’s Dieppe plant, beginning in 1975. UK launch price was £4149, nearly a third more than the previous top model the TS at £3187, showing the considerable changes to the car over the 64PS TS which could not reach 100 mph (161 km/h) compared to the 93PS Gordini which could reach 110 mph (177 km/h).

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