Modern Supermini – 1974 Renault 5TL

From the North American perspective, we tend to think of the Renault 5 as a car from the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, it actually debuted in 1972, and it’s a credit to its ingenuity as a design that it lasted in production all the way through 1985 in its first iteration, and a further 11 years in the second, which was a completely new Gandini-designed car with a very similar appearance. Imagine that this basic design spanned the presidential administrations of Nixon to Clinton, or from the years of the BMW 2002 to the E36 3-series, and you’ll see how avant-garde this car must have seemed at its debut. Even more amazing, the first generation was designed by a Renault employee in his spare time. You can find this 1974 Renault 5TL for sale for €1500 ($2077 today) in Tortefontaine, France.

1974 Renault 5 left front

The seller is selling this car as part of a move, but it is said to run very well, starting on the button and in great condition with a pleasant patina. It is said to have been driven daily up to a month ago, and has a clean and solid body with rust-free rockers. Cleaning up the wheels and center caps, and possibly the rear-view mirror, might help spiff things up without erasing its history.

1974 Renault 5 rear

Looks clean from the rear too, and with a stated 60,000km, it should be. It’s amazing how narrow those tires are – the mudflaps seem to be twice as wide. Could you even get tires for this car in North America? Perhaps a Mini or other British car parts supplier would have them, although really you’d want some Michelin X tires on there. In any case, they’re new, and brakes are said to have been redone last year, and the car also has a new water pump, thermostat, and hoses.

1974 Renault 5 interior

Check out that funky interior, with the steering wheel matching the dashboard face. This car has the optional in-dash shifter – is there anything more French than that? To that point, did that feature appear on any non-French car? People bring Minis, Fiat 500s and 2CVs over to North America all the time – here’s your chance to own an icon you won’t see at every car show.


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2 Responses to “Modern Supermini – 1974 Renault 5TL”

  1. Pickles Says:

    The r5 was the coolest car in so many ways. Today in the US, it’s phenomenally rare. I’ve looked for one in decent shape (with the fantastic folding sunroof) for at least five years. Virtually none have come available.

  2. Alex Goodwill (@Alex_the_Beard) Says:

    Hi, I’ve just stumbled across the image of this Renault 5 whilst conducting a google image search on amber headlamps. You might be interested to know I actually bought this car last week! I collected it Wednesday and drove it home via Eurotunnel to it’s new home in England. A strange and brilliant coincidence, nice blog BTW!

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