It makes sense to work my way up to the full-on rally car, which is fine by me as it means my first port of call is Darren Monk’s magnificent late-model Turbo 2. As its name suggests, the Turbo 2 was the second iteration of the mid-engined Renault 5. The original Turbo, built from 1980 to 1983, had its doors, tailgate and roof made from aluminium for homologation purposes. The Turbo 2, produced from 1983 to 1986, had these panels in steel to help keep costs down, but is no less fearsome for it.
Monk’s car is acknowledged as the finest standard T2 in the UK, and one of the best in the world. The condition and colour – listed as a ‘Brun 769’, in case you were wondering – are absolutely perfect. Walking up to the driver’s door and sliding behind the wheel, I reckon I know just how the original owner felt when the car was delivered to Ringles Garage in Sussex. After a short while and minimal miles, the car was sold to a buyer in Northern Ireland who used it until 1994, at which point it was put in storage. It emerged 14 years later, only to be sold back to Britain and spend a further seven years in storage before Darren rescued it and recommissioned it. Refreshed, but absolutely not restored, its originality (even down to the fitment of fresh OE Michelin TRX tyres) is mind-blowing.