Meet the weirdo from Renault

The Sport Spider was a cute road-legal track toy

4w ago

At the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, Renault revealed something that changed the way we think about their cars. This was the time when Espace and Twingo were the peak of their lineup, and those models were quite boring. But, at the mentioned car show, the French company gave us the quirky Sport Spider.

This was proof that even a boring company can sometimes make something fun and weird. Initially, the car didn’t have a windscreen, but more of a “virtual windscreen” which was attached onto the bonnet. Later, it received a full windscreen, but that was mostly put on cars that were exported to the UK.

On the other hand, the roof was never an option, and the scissor doors made it look even cooler. The interior is completely stripped out and featured as little things as possible. There were two seats, a dashboard with a couple of buttons and a steering wheel. This is because the Sport Spider was meant to be a racecar.

It didn’t even have any power assist, but it did come with airbags and standard seatbelts. The all-aluminium body meant that it was very light (only 930 kg), and thanks to the 2.0-litre 16-valve straight-4, engine borrowed from Clio Williams, was producing 148 HP. Since the car was light, that was enough for 0-100 km/h time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 211 km/h.

But, the whole purpose of this car is to be a racer...and it was. It was actually designed to compete in a one-make racing series called Renault Spider Cup. And the racing versions had their engines tweaked a bit, now producing 210 HP and could reach 250 km/h.

Unfortunately, over the years, people have forgotten about the Sport Spider. That’s probably because it is very rare. When it came out, it was very expensive, and people didn’t want to pay a lot for something with a Renault badge. Also, around that time, Lotus revealed the Elise, which was a much better track car than the Spider. Only 1.635 were ever made, and they are remembered mostly by hardcore Renault enthusiasts.



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Comments (12)

  • Saw one on the road in Birmingham just a few weeks ago..

      1 month ago
  • These things were so cool! Wish we had them in the US along with the 1st gen elise

      1 month ago
  • We’re they road legal? Might be an interesting “25 year import” car to look at in the US ...

      1 month ago
  • I remember seeing a few of them as summer daily drivers when were new. They were absolutely impressive! In Spain only the windshield version was available, as is ilegal to drive with a helmet on public open roads.

      30 days ago
  • I used to love these cars! Only ever saw a few on the road but a neighbour of mine growing up had one in yellow and one of the old V6 Alpines too. Great cars and always loved seeing them!

      1 month ago