October 25, 2006

Clio Williams... CG will get nostalgic.

I know from looking at the logs for this blog that we do get a sizable amount or readers from outside of the US so this post will be for you.

Here in the US Renault is probably second only to FIAT as a symbol of all that can be wrong with european econoboxes but who can blame americans: the last Renaults sold here were the LeCar and the Alliance, two truly turgid 4 wheel offerings.

But elsewhere on the planet the Renault Clio was an automotive staple, I would dare to say it was the 90's equivalent of the Mini, a small cheap car that had the potential to handle extremely well. GC is from Bogotá and I am from Milano, we both know the guilty pleasure of throwing around light simple cars like these...and I'm pretty sure CG is responsible for the demise of a few himself so I hope he can add his comments to this post.

I guess the closest here in the US would be the Honda Civic and the equivalent of the Civic typeR would be the Clio Williams edition. This was a car that came out at the same time as Williams-Renaults were creaming the competition in F1 and it made for a pretty cool little car, light and tossable with no electronic nannies.

I found this period review of the car, notice the, shall we say, aggressive beating the reviewer gives the car on the track. Contrast that with the milquetoast reviews one sees these days on car programs on US tv.... That's an Axis style test drive if I've ever seen one!

click to download

For the real hardcore (and CG) there is this long movie about the Clio group A and Clio Maxi rally cars. It features Clio legend Jean Ragnotti and while admittedly could use some editing there are some ASTOUNDING bits of driving( there are many but check out @ 19:11 for one...). Ragnotti sums up the Clios well: "they handle and brake very well, are easy to drive and reliable".

click to download

1 comment:

  1. Thanks AC! Great videos!!

    It's a pitty that the US doens't get to enjoy the proper "Hot Hatch" market (A 3000# VW Golf it's not a hot hatch), as the US roads are not well suited for it (nothing beas the comfort of a Lincoln Continental bacseat on a 8 lane 100000mi straight road).

    On a mountain alpine-type road, few things beat the pleasure of a hot hatch. Most of the hatchbacks I owned weighed as much or less than the Elise! (My Saxo VTS was 1850#s). That's what the handling a beauty.

    On a twisty, bumpy, slippery 2 lane road a 1.6L 120hp hatch can embarrass a 911 easily....

    Good setup was key. you need a willing grippy front end, and a swinging rear (toe out in the rear is the norm). You want to induce oversteer by a sudden lift or left foot stab on the brakes, and then correct with agressive throttle to pull the car out of oversteer.

    All time favorites:

    Suzuki Swit GTi (100hp, 1600#s)
    Renault Clio (all generations, although I'm dissapointed about the weight gain of the current one... but still need to drive one)
    Citroen Saxo VTS
    Peugeot 205GTi
    Peugeot 106 (S16 and Rally)

    Heavier ones but still fun:
    VW Golf Gti 16V (MkI an II)
    Honda Integra (and Civic) Type R (the fastest of them all!)

    I've beel lucky to own all of the above except the Peugeots (Citroen and Peugeots are basically the same car). You guys should get one at some point to see what a FWD Elise feels like.


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