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My Story

Having wanted a Renault 5 GT Turbo since I was at school, when I was 18 after getting rid of my 1.1 Fiesta I bought a Turbo Replica, due to the cheaper insurance.

On June 26th 1998 I was out with my best mate Terry in the early hours of the the morning driving along Forest Road, Walthamstow, North East London. I was driving about 30 mph on a single lane road when just as I was approaching a traffic island a Chevrolet Camero came over my side of the road doing a stupid speed and hit us. I swerved into the bus lane next to me to try and avoid impact but due to the speed they were doing (70 mph the police said) had no chance and ended up being hit on the drivers side of the car and being spun round into a bridge. I think the swerve into the bus lane probably saved both our lives.

The wreckage of my Renault 5
The Chevrolet Camero that hit us

The Camero got left at the scene of the accident and the occupants got out, into another car and drove off leaving me not being able to get out of the car with a fractured pelvis, punctured lung and internal bleeding and my best mate Terry with severe whiplash and shock.

When I got to hospital after being eventually cut out of the car the police were already there waiting to give me a producer.

I hope the person responsible for this terrible collision that fotunately
we managed to survive lives with it on their conscience every day for the rest of their life !!

I found out later that the owner of the vehicle had reported the vehicle stolen after the accident, the original ignition keys were found in the ignition and the police say that this is amongst other things not enough evidence to prosecute the owner of the vehicle with anything and he didn't even get a producer like I did in my hospital bed. There is no doubt in my mind who I feel was responsible for this accident, but I or the police can't prove anything apparentely.

Anyway with the crap solicitor I was given by my insurance company he set about trying to get compensation for my injuries from the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). Many medical checks later I received some compensation.

I eventually got a GT Turbo in February 2000. A white H reg.

Picture taken the day I bought it.

I think the first couple of weeks of owning the car was the longest period of trouble free motoring. From then onwards it seemed like one thing after another went wrong with it. I remember the first time the car went to overheat and I took it to a local garage and a guy there asked me if I had ever owned one of these cars before and I said "No". "Then by the time you sell this car you will have learnt so much about cars you won't believe". How right he was.

2 weeks after buying the car it went to overheat and I found out that there was a crack in the cylinder head so it had to spend 2 weeks in the garage trying to get a reconditioned head only to in the end have my old one reconditioned. I later found out that they let an apprentice put the cylinder head back on and that they left the car running for 20 minutes, let the car cool down for 2 hours and then retorqued the cylinder head. This is ultimately wrong as you are suppossed to run the car for 100 miles then retorque them as I found out after. This caused problems later as you will find out. Another Rule Never let a back street garage work on these cars as they are specialist vehicles and should only be worked on by people who have extensive knowledge of them. The next thing to go wrong was the drivers side suppension leg started making a horrible noise when I went over a bump so I went and got a second hand one from First Call Renault in Basildon in Essex.

The next thing to go wrong was the Turbo. I was going along the motorway on a Saturday morning going to get a second hand grill so that I could play around with it and make my own unique grill, but as I was going along I went to put my foot down and there was no Turbo. It had seized up. So I found somewhere that was open on a saturday and had a second hand unit for £150 with a weeks guarantee. So I poodled along as fast as I could go with no Turbo (50 mph) with Fiesta 1.1's overtaking me. Picked it up and fitted it.

It took all Saturday afternoon to fit. Anyway me and my mate we eventually got it on and everything was fine, it was working ok up until 2 days later when I pulled into a garage and there was Smoke pouring out of the exhaust where the oil seals had gone in the turbo, although it still worked. So I went up to Five Alive in Lewisham South East London and bought a Reconditioned unit for £250 + Exchange of your old unit so I gave them my original turbo. Anyway after the performance of fitting the second hand turbo I couldn't be bothered to fit another one so I just paided some-one £40 to do it and then I took the second hand turbo back and got my money back. After this fiasco the next thing was the clutch as the car was getting increasingly hard to select 1st gear and reverse. So I paid £250 to have an uprated clutch put in which only took a day to do because it was done without removing the engine just the gearbox.

Refering back to the first problem where the apprentice didn't torque the cylinder head properly, I began to have the same problem as before where the car was going to overheat and this was when I took the car to BB Tuning. After my visit there I was totally disheartened with the car and the stress of things constantly going wrong was getting me down. The car was turning into a complete nightmare. Anyway they basically said that I needed another engine so I thought once this was done things will be ok. So I got a second hand engine from a crashed GTT with only 38000 miles on it from First Call Renault in Basildon for £250 which I had to go and pick up in the back of my car with the seats down. So I booked a day off work to go and get it and on the way down the A127 my engines no.3 cylinder just gave up.

So after chugging the rest of the journey to Basildon to pick up the engine and chugging back to the garage which by the time I got there the engine must have been completey done in because the amount of smoke that was coming out of the car was terrible. Anyway had it fitted and everything was ok apart from a problem that I had for a long time where the car would be on full boost but the car would hold back. To try and cure this I tried everything replacing the Carb trying 3 different s/h ones, Fuel Pump, Fuel Filter, Reconditioning kit for the carb, bought a reconditioned carb. Nothing could cure it and then the Clutch decided to go again. I thought it couldn't have as I had not long had it done so I replaced the clutch cable and pedal hoping this would cure it but it never and I had to have another clutch (£250 again). After this I thought right I am not paying for anything more on this car I'm gonna sell it. But just before I do i'll see if I can get the problem of holding back on boost and the amount of fuel the car was drinking problem sorted so just before Christmas 2000 I took the car to The engine tuner in Basildon to have this problem sorted and the tappets done. He picked us up from Basildon Town centre and the tappets were nice and quiet but the car was still holding back. He put this down to the cars perc fan not being in place (Idiot nothing to do with the perc fan), so I got a bill for £190 for doing the tappets.

Anyway I finally got rid of the car on February the 5th 2001 exactly 1 year and £2500 + spent on it after I bought the car. When I sold the car £10 fuel was getting me about 35 miles which I found out after selling the car what the problem probably had been all along and the only part of the fuel system that I hadn't replaced which was the fuel pressure regulator. I was sad to sell my baby even after it had give me so much grief. But there's only so much you can take.

There will always be a place in my heart for the Renault 5 GT Turbo as no other car comes close in terms of looks and character and accleration and who knows maybe one day I may just buy another one as a project car and not as an everyday runabout as they take alot of looking after and it's hard to find a good one as I found out. But i'm not bitter because of all the money I spent on the car, just wiser. That's why I wanted to share my knowledge with the rest of the world so that other people out there don't make the same mistakes I did.

The picture below shows how the car looked when I sold the car and since then I have seen it about and the apperance has been changed completely with different alloys and a smoothed tailgate and bucket seats in it.