Renault Sport Spider

Renault Sport Spider 1990s French sports car

The Renault Sport Spider was focused. It was built with just two objectives - to go like stink in a straight line, and through corners with the minimum of fuss. Both of these it achieved. Top speed was 134mph. Roll was near to non-existent. A mere 1,740lb tried to rein in the Spider's free-revving spirit. Four cylinders were all that were needed to counteract that. Output was 150bhp. The Spider was unburdened, too, by the weight of expectation. Renault never intended that it sell by the shedload. Rather, it was an exercise in optimally combining power and aesthetics. Defiantly impractical, there was no way the Spider would ever reach a mass audience. With that in mind, the Renault Sport design team swung into action. Patrick Le Quément led the way. When the creative dust had settled, what emerged was automotive minimalism at another level. No roof, no windscreen, no side-windows. Exposure to the elements as an art form. There was, however, a wind-deflector - and a roll-bar!

It was a given that the Spider would take to the track. Renault Sport helped set up a dedicated race series for it. Competition cars were boosted - by 25bhp. Spider racing was fast and frenetic - featuring many a top driver. Motorsport fans turned out in droves. Renault were understandably cock-a-hoop. The number of Spiders exiting their Alpine facility - in Dieppe - was relatively small. The 'buzz' they were creating, though, was anything but!

The Spider's chassis was aluminium. That meant light weight - plus, high rigidity. It was suspended by rose-jointed double wishbones. Outsize vented disc brakes came courtesy of the Renault Alpine A610. The Renault Clio Williams supplied the Spider's two-litre engine. 62mph arrived in 6.9s. So, the Renault Sport Spider was about the quintessential driving experience - and not a lot else. A later version did sport a windscreen and wiper. Sorted!

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