19/01/2017

Me & my car No.3

Our search for the biggest Renault Sport enthusiasts in the land continues and this month we catch up with Luton couple Dean and Elaine Hollingworth.
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It’s fair to say that Dean and Elaine are nuts about Renault Sport cars – they’ve even fitted a Renault Extra van with a 325bhp 5 GT Turbo nitrus-powered engine to go drag racing in! But let’s concentrate on the cars in their locker, both past and present.

Currently they own a Clio V6, Clio 172, 5 GT Turbo and a Mégane 230 F1 Team R26. The last named is Elaine’s although she confesses to craving after her recently sold Clio Williams.

“I really enjoy the Mégane, it’s a great drive, but the Clio Williams – I really miss it. I was more a Ford person (cringe) before I met Dean but he’s converted me and when I drove the Williams the 100 miles home after buying it… that rates as the best drive I’ve ever done in any car. The smile on my face – and the seats were the most comfortable in the world!”

Dean also has a soft spot for the older stuff and the 5 GT Turbo he owns is a real pride and joy.

“I bought it in 2000 when I was 18. I remember calling the insurance company and them laughing at me! The insurance came in at £2300 on top of the £3000 I paid for the car. But I had to have one – I’d wanted one since I was about 12.

“I’ve had other 5 Turbos since along with a Clio Williams plus Clio 172s, 182s, a Mégane... They are all fantastic cars. But this one has stayed with me and I’ll never sell it – it’s gone too far for that. It’s fair to say it’s far from standard – I’ve modified all sorts, taking the original component designs and then recreating them with different materials. There’s now about 80,000 miles on the clock but the engine gets a rebuild every 500 miles.

“I also really love the V6. It came up about ten years ago and I had just enough to buy it. The nice thing is the two previous owners had been Renault Sport enthusiasts as well so it had been well maintained. There were 27,000 miles on the clock and that’s now at 37,000.

“However I’m not one for simply polishing my cars and putting them on display. I like to use them for what they were designed and enjoy my track days.”

Elaine continues: “We’ve got a tripped planned to the Nurburgring in June and a few other Renault Sport owners are coming over with us.”

But it won’t be the 5 GT Turbo, V6 or Mégane that are going. Instead it’s a new project that Dean and Elaine are working on that will be tackling the 14-mile Nordschleife.

Dean explains: “We’ve got a Phase 1 172 currently that we’re turbocharging for the Nurburgring trip. Obviously that’s not factory standard so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes around there.”

The couple are often on Renault Sport forums chatting with fellow owners and enthusiasts whether finding the latest ‘meets’ or on the look-out for the next bargain buy. Dean admits there is one Renault that he dreams of one day owning…

“The forums and owners clubs are all great places to get talking with people and finding out what’s out there and we’ve even just sold a 172 to Belgium. It’s a great community. But the car I’d love to own?

“It’s the 5 Turbo 2 Group B rally car but the price they go for these days is astronomical. I’d need to win the Lottery and then probably wouldn’t keep it for very long. But just to say you owned one…”