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How Your Renault Dealer Will Make You Young Again

Aug 5, 2008
Tell you what, being young was brilliant. Yes, I know I'm only 24 now, but I'm talking about when I was six or seven and could play with my toy cars, build vehicles that defied the laws of physics out of Lego and race my dad on Scalextric. Sitting in the cinema recently I watched Speed Racer (I believe I make up exactly 100% of the world's population that has viewed said film) and I really rather enjoyed it. Set in the future, the crux of the film revolved around a lad handily called Speed Racer who raced around a full size Scalextric track in a futuristic car. Many gravity defining minutes later, with bright neon lights whizzing past my eyes I was hooked - the drive home never seemed so slow and boring.

This got me thinking, is it socially acceptable for a 24 year-old man to push toy cars around the floor? Or how about digging out some Lego again? After much deliberation I decided against this as I hope to hold on to my latest girlfriend and crying to her over swallowing a Lego brick isn't attractive. Finally then I opened the dust covered box to my Scalextric and I'm not ashamed to say I spent all weekend assembling, tweaking and then racing around and around until my trigger finger went numb. The collection of cars I'd amassed surprised me too, I have everything from NASCAR, Formula One, super cars, British Touring Cars and Le Mans racers. Despite this clearly showing I was spoilt rotten when I was a lad, it also drove home the point that the only car I can remember was not the shiny Ferrari or limited to 100 edition of the Jordan Formula One car, but the 1991 Renault powered Benetton Formula One car with the front wing missing due to a high speed collision with my dad.

I think it's the circumstances surrounding me acquiring the car that made it my favourite. Having been dragged from car dealership to car dealership with my parents I finally found a nice seat to be bored on at a Renault dealer. In front of me stood a glass cabinet towering upwards and halfway up I could see this brilliant toy. The Renault dealer knew the score and struck up a deal that involved me getting the car and my dad parting with lots of pictures of the Queen for a turbo-charged Renault 25. Even now when I think of that story I regress back to being a seven year old and long for something socially acceptable to feel like this all the time. Seventeen years later and it appears the local Renault dealer is on hand to make this story come full circle.

Due to the success of Renault in Formula One in recent years and that their production cars are selling like hot cakes thanks to creative styling, competitive pricing and good reliability some bright spark in marketing thought up a way of combining the lovable Clio with Fernando Alonso and co as they tear up the track around the globe. Welcome to the RenaultSport Clio 197 F1 R27 - catchily named it's not. Aimed squarely at men wanting to regress to childhood and competing against the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Mini Cooper S and Golf GTi, the hot Clio has a lot to contend with to be successful.

I like to remain impartial when reviewing a car, but put simply the R27 looks so jaw-droppingly awesome that even if the rest of the car was rubbish it wouldn't matter. Finished in the brightest yellow, fitted with a wide-arch body kit, more air vents than a skyscraper, Recaro racing seats, unique graphite alloy wheels and the most gorgeous F1 inspired rear diffuser, the R27 instantly sent me back to 1991. The fun however doesn't stop on the outside as the R27 sits on Renault's latest racing chassis which is 27 percent stiffer at the front and 30 percent at the back than previous sport versions and makes the car feel like it's on rails, turning every road into a giant Scalextric track.

The driving experience gets better when you consider why it's got 197 in its name - that'll be the amount of horses crammed under the bonnet. A six speed gearbox helps get the power to the road as quickly as possible although you'll want to drive as slowly as you can, not only to show off your racing decals but to conserve petrol as it's probably rocketed another ten pence a litre as I write this.

Only 500 will be made available in the UK through your Renault dealer, with equally limited availability worldwide meaning a 1,500 ($3,000) topping up of the price. Put simply this car made me feel seven again and that - to quote a well known television commercial - is priceless.
About the Author
Dick Jonson just loves his performance Renaults so jumped at the chance to review the Sport Clio 197 F1 R27 at his Renault Dealer
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