The Day’s Forgotten Car: 1996 Renault Sport Spider

On sale for just three years, the Renault Sport Spider weighed under a tonne and was yellow**.

1996 Renault Spider:
1996 Renault Spider:

Speaking of redundant names, was it really necessary to call it a Sport Spider? Or did Renault have plans for a Non-Sport version such as an estate variant or one with a weak powerplant meant strictly for posing?

Renault meant this car to be an image-builder and part of a one-model race series. I wonder how many 1.4 litre Meganes and 2.0 Safranes they sold as a result. Image builders are cars people want and which people buy. They are also cars which should be comparable to the rest of the range so if people can’t get the real thing they might plump for a cheaper, slower vehicle that’s somehow related to it.

BMW do this with the 335i which probably helps sell a lot of dark blue, base model 3s with grey cloth interiors and 1.8 litre engines. Or do people just buy them without thinking too hard about it?

** and two or three blue and black ones were made as well. 

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “The Day’s Forgotten Car: 1996 Renault Sport Spider”

  1. Reminds one of the marketing by Smart of their Roadster a few years after the demise of the Renault. They too had a similar production run of only three years and were meant to reflect and revive the basic sports car era of the fifties.
    Renault’s low production of 1639 and current number of 23 licensed in the UK will guarantee its future collector status while Smart having turned out around 43,000 with 866 licensed will be coming along behind.

  2. Renault Sport, Richard. Not Sport Spider. Renault Sport are the people who make racing Renault cars and engines, and a line of modified roadgoing Renaults for people who enjoy accelerating, braking and going round corners very quickly.

    1. I looked at some brochures: RENAULTsport Spider is how they style it.
      Wikipedia calls it Renault Sport Spider.
      And Renault Sport, I notice, is given credit for its build.
      It is the policy of DTW to regret factual errors of this type.

    2. No harm done. The thought of an un-Sport Spider was amusing.

  3. The engine was held in by stressed cables as I recall, a remarkably complex solution to saving weight. This is the sort of thing that Lancia would do if they were still in manufacture.

  4. The appeal is evident – I am not so interested in race-tracking so I will pass. I can imagine they must be a nice alterative to Caterhams and Ariel Atoms. It was very much a car nobody expected from Renault. Their core customers don´t really care; the race-track set would be interested and there are not so many people able to afford a car that can´t do more than hurtle around Donington or Thruxton, however competently. I am glad it exists though.

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