Facing stringent emissions regulations, automakers are getting ready to sunset the traditional hot hatch powered by an internal combustion engine. Not all hope is lost as aftermarket companies are eager to keep the spirit alive and bring into the limelight some greatest hits from yesteryear. Case in point, Legende Automobiles is a new name in the restomod business and aims to freshen up a 1980s classic – the Renault 5 Turbo.
Preserving the design DNA that made the bonkers mid-engined hot hatch so special, the Turbo 3 is a modern-day interpretation of an original three-door R5. Its hand-built custom body is predominantly carbon fiber to keep the weight low and has been widened to fit larger 16-inch front and 17-inch wheels available in two different designs.
The R5 T3 by Legende Automobiles swaps out the old-school bulbs of the original for LEDs while retaining the unmistakable look of its forebearer. Air curtains in the C-pillar are visual (but also functional) nods to the Turbo 1 and Turbo 2 while the quarter glass is framed in carbon fiber. The beefy rear end hosts an extended roof spoiler finished in red as part of a contrasting finish also applied on the side mirrors, wheel centers, and A-pillars.
Housed in a custom two-piece rear diffuser, the dual exhaust tips have a square shape to complement the angular design paying homage to Renault's design. The Turbo 3 rides low to the ground and uses a double-wishbone suspension at the front and rear representing a modern take of the configuration used by the R5 Maxi Turbo race car.
The less is more layout of the cabin has been retained for the restomod, but with a fully digital instrument cluster replacing the analog dials. The exterior's striking orange accents continue inside and have been applied on the air vents and door straps as well as on the reshaped two-spoke steering wheel featuring a minimalist design.
Legende Automobiles has fitted the Turbo 3 with automatic dual-zone climate control and ultra-thin seats with generous lateral support and a racing harness. Behind them sits a roll cage positioned on top of the engine compartment where a turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces a healthy 400 horsepower.
That's quite an improvement over the original 158-hp output and is now delivered to the rear wheels through a modern sequential transmission or a manual (depending on suppliers), replacing the five-speed manual gearbox of the donor car. Details about the engine have not been disclosed, but we're being told it's a modern powertrain as one would expect from a full restomod project.
Some 1,820 Renault 5 Turbo 1s were made (along with 3,167 Turbo 2s) during the model's six years on the market, meaning Legende Automobiles is addressing a limited crowd. It remains to be seen how many owners will go down the restomod route, but the company says it has "ignored all financial advice and spared no expense in making sure that this is the best possible version of the B-segment icon."