Don’t you just love it when a manufacturer throws out the rule book and builds a car that looks completely out of place along with the rest of their line? Like Toyota turning its back on ‘The Toyota Way’ with the GR Yaristhe one developed by Albert Biermann kia stinger and a Lexus-badged front-engine V10 supercar. And then, of course, there’s the Renaultsport Clio V6, the start of which is as crazy as its wide-arched silhouette would have you think it is.
It all starts with a bizarre championship. The Renault Clio Cup is, or was, the highlight of a BTCC weekend. It was a recipe for total chaos: fill a grid with (relatively) cheap race-spec Clios, get a group of teenagers who wanted to show the world how talented they are, and pit them against each other on Britain’s best circuits. It was a huge success and when the second generation Clio arrived in the late 1990s, Renaultsport wanted to build on the success of the Clio Cup by changing the formula. Only a little.
Legendary race car builder Tom Walkinshaw Racing was called in to push a Laguna-sourced 2.9-litre V6 in the middle of Renault’s new supermini. The result was a short-wheelbase, wide-arched monster that would form the one-make Clio Trophy series. Naturally, viewers were impressed to see the improved supermini and (somehow) some great people at Renault managed to get a street version to be greenlit by senior members.
Interestingly, the first-generation road-going Clio V6 would be assembled by TWR in Sweden, with production moving to Dieppe in France for Phase 2. This meant that the mid-engined Clio had a home-grown feel, especially in the interior. . TWR left the interior largely unchanged, with the aluminum-look base from the standard Clio’s hilariously ugly three-spoke steering all the way down to the gear stick. You get a set of Renaultsport seats from the clio 172. Well, that’s all.
But none of that matters when you essentially have a road legal Clio Trophy. The phase 1 examples produced a not inconsiderable 230 hp which, of course, was sent exclusively to the rear wheels and managed by a six-speed manual gearbox. Combine that with the Phase 1’s short wheelbase (widened for Phase 2) and considerably wider track, and the Clio V6 earned a reputation for being a bit of a pain in the corners. That, and there was no traction control to act as safety below when reality hit the fan. It’s not hard to see why the cult classic status drew attention.
Does that soften the price blow? well the Phase 1 we have here I’m sure you’ve done some of the work. The previous (and only) owner has rebuilt the front and rear subframes, new struts and top mounts, and fitted a new timing belt. That’s just scratching the surface of what is clearly a car that appears to have been incredibly well cared for. That’s partly why it costs £44,950. a little more than the example (admittedly modified) we introduced a couple of years ago, but a quick nose around The market it suggests that prices have risen rapidly over the last 18 months, and the V6 was never what you’d call cheap. But it has never been less than a modern classic either.
SPECIFICATIONS | RENAULT CLIO V6 PHASE 1
Engine: 2946cc V6
Transmission: 6 speed manual, rear wheel drive
Power (hp): 230 to 6000rpm
Torque (foot-pounds): 221 to 3750rpm
Registered year: 2002
Registered mileage: 55,000
new price: £26,675
yours for: £44,950