17/10/2017

Me & My Car(s) No.7

Andy Hamilton’s collection of sporty Renaults has been varied – they include a MK1 Clio 16v and a 19 16v – but it’s his current model, a Flame Red Mégane 250 Cup-S, that he’s most proud of…
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In fact most of the eight Renault Sports that Andy, from Acton in West London, has owned have been Méganes.

However it all started with that MK1 Clio which he bought from a very interesting dealership.

“I bought it brand new in 1992 from Radbourne Racing in Wimbledon – they were Renault Sport’s official motor sport importer to the UK as well,” recalls Andy. In fact Radbourne later morphed into R.Sport and, now R.S.Promotions, continues as appointed parts supplier for both the UK Clio Cup and Clio Cup Junior racing categories!

Andy continues: “I kept the MK1 for a few years but then traded it in for a Clio Williams 2 – all the ‘phase 1s’ were gone.

“At the time my wife and I also had a 19 16v – that was the first model that Renault used to get into British Touring Cars with Alain Menu and Tim Harvey and we even won a VIP day out at Brands Hatch with the team! The Clio Williams and a 19 16v made for a pretty cool driveway back in 1993!

“The 19 had really good handling and was very under-rated. The Williams was just fantastic. But then I really started following Colin McRae in rallying and got wooed to the dark side of Subarus!”

Fast forward to 2008 and all could be forgiven for Andy went back to his beloved Renault Sports, now buying them through the Renault London West dealership.

 

“I went for a Glacier White R26 Mégane for a year but then had to sell it due to the recession! The more sensible option seemed to be a silver 175 DCi MK2 Mégane so I got one – it had bags of torque mid-range but I missed petrol cars so, when the finances were right, moved on to a silver 225 Trophy.

“It felt much better, much more to my liking. It was low mileage, never missed a beat and I had for three very enjoyable years.


“Next up was an Oyster Grey Mégane 250 Cup – this was now into MK3 territory, the newer shape. I went for all the options, too. But the three year itch struck again and I swapped it for my latest car, the 275 Cup-S, again with plenty of extras. It is similar to the 250 Cup but it’s been refined in lots of areas and, for the money, it is very hard to beat.

“I’d say nothing else gives the same fun as a Renault Sport for the same money. Also they are not overly ostentatious cars but people still give you a nod. My Cup-S was even complimented the other day by a chap in a 911 GTS – that says something.”


Andy’s keen eye for detailing recently helped his 275 Cup-S to win ‘best modern car’ in the Origine R.S Show’s Concours competition at Brooklands Museum.

He adds: “The R.S. community is brilliant. I’ve met some fantastic people through it.

“There was a 5 Turbo at Origine R.S. and that, I suppose, is my dream car if money was no object – or maybe a Clio V6. I just love how bonkers both cars are – I mean, how many mainstream manufacturers has ever had the bottle to design something like those?”

Like most R.S fans though he is now waiting “with bated breath” for more details on the new Renault Sport Mégane.

“It certainly looks the part – I borrowed a GT for a few days and the rear steer is very good. It looks like it is going to be a winner. I’d always go for better handling and that is what R.S.s are famous for.”