These are the examples of today’s modern pocket rockets. But which car did the term pocket rocket was first used on? There is no definite answer to that question but many believed that the Renault 5 GT Turbo was the original pocket rocket.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo was first introduced in the mid 1980s. It was rumoured that the Renault 5 GT Turbo was a marketing tool to help promote Renault’s success with their turbocharged engines used in Formula One racing at that time.
The Phase One production Renault 5 GT Turbo was introduced in late 1985. It featured a 1.4-litre eight valve, four cylinder turbocharged engine that is said to be a pushrod unit (overhead valve) that dates back to the 1950s. Coupled with an air-cooled Garrett T2 turbocharger that pushes out 11psi of boost, the engine generates around 115bhp.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo is able to complete the century sprint in 7.5 seconds, all thanks to the car's excellent power to weight ratio (the car weighs a mere 850kg). To differentiate it with the ordinary Renault 5, the 5 GT Turbo came with boxy-looking side skirts. The Phase One car was plagued with turbo lag and poor hot starting issues.
A facelifted version was introduced in 1987. The Phase Two Renault 5 GT Turbo had several major changes which include a water-cooled turbocharger system (which prolonged the life of the turbocharger) and a new ignition system which allows it to rev 500rpm higher.
The above mentioned changes increased the power output to 120bhp. The car also received a new body styling which reduces the car’s drag coefficient. This gives the car a new 0-100km/h timing of 7.3 seconds.
Over the next few years, the car receives several styling changes and the engine and performance level remained pretty much the same. By late 1991, the Renault 5 GT Turbo was discontinued and it was replaced by the Renault Clio 16v and the Renault Clio Williams.
Photo credit: Net Car Show