Many of us have considered older cars, not only as our first car but sometimes as a project alongside our other car. Then there are others who give their all to their only car and care for it the way a car should be cared for.
Meet Kris Bugeja’s Renault 5, a carefully sourced clean car that will make you smile whether you’re in it or watching it drive by. It’s old French hatch with that little bit of extra customization that makes us all happy. But where to start? Of course, with the visible parts. As the Renault enthusiast might notice, this is a Renault 5 with a GT Turbo kit. The arches have been cut out in order to have spacers fitted while the wheels are also standard GT Turbo wheels which have been refurbished in a beautiful titanium grey. Quality rubber is important so we’re not going on the cheaper end of the spectrum for tires, the GT Turbo wheels are wrapped in Toyo CF1’s. The color is not original Renault, in fact, for the curious ones out there, this Renault 5 was originally white, later resprayed in a Toyota color identified as 3P0.
In this build you can really appreciate the little things such as the nicely rolled muffler tip and the French flag painted on the side of the grille. The grille has also been made by Kris himself. When we asked why he went through the trouble of making one by hand, his reply was short and simple. “The original ones online weren’t exactly cheap and they were damaged for the most part. Replicas usually don’t have perfect fitment. So I just made one myself.” , he says.
We can say the same about the interior, simple and mostly original. The addition of the Jamex bucket seats is welcome in this build and they compliment the interior nicely, narrow but comfortable. They also give it a sportier feel which we think is well deserved. There isn’t much in the way of additional things except for the modern head unit which isn’t intrusive at all. The dashboard is from a GT Turbo as well as the steering wheel.
Here we go for more good stuff. What’s under the hood up front? What we find there is the Renault engine bored to 1.4L using the same 1.1L head and a 32 Weber carburetor. There’s a full 2″ exhaust and an exhaust box with an 3″ outward rolled tip. So we do get some extra power over standard. It also sounds magnificent and delivers the power when you need it.
As you can see in the photos, the engine bay is not shiny clean and there’s a reason for this. Kris doesn’t use this as a weekend car, he drives it on the daily to go to work, to go out and of course, for a nice drive. The exterior however is always clean and polished. We know this at Spartan Plugs because we’ve known Kris for a few years. We were also surprised to find he always carries the cleaning goodies in the boot, just in case some dirt or water splashes on the car on the way somewhere.
With greater power comes greater responsibility, and while Kris gave the 5 some extra power, he also gave the 5 some more braking and better suspension. The rear torsion bar has been lowered, de Carbon GT Turbo shocks, 40mm front lowered using front lowering springs and Bilstein gas shocks. The front brakes have been sourced from a Renault 11 1.4L. We have to keep in mind that the 5 is a light car, so adding extra power with minimal weight addition has a greater effect than increasing power on a heavier machine.
We’ve also been for a ride in the 5 and all we can say is that it’s a joy to be in. We can’t really evaluate the situation much because of our roads so the ride isn’t always as smooth but the 5 delivers wonderfully when it comes to this. We’ve taken it on rough roads, smooth roads, fast and slow and it never disappointed us. We smiled through the journey like little boys getting their birthday presents. Kris has definitely done a good job with this 5 and we hope we can see more examples of them on the island.