As featured in Practical Classics July 2020
The story began with an all too familiar email from the family of an elderly owner forced to give up driving through ill health and asking for advice/help on finding a caring home for an old Renault. This one was a little different though, as the car in question transpired to be a one-owner 1988 Renault 5 Monaco Automatic with just under 12,000 miles on the clock, which had been garaged all its life. After a conversation with the owner’s daughter, we developed the idea of using the car to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, as the owner is suffering from that cruel disease, and in the process also gaining positive publicity for the Club.
Initially the idea was to have the car collected, but with the address being inside the M25, and therefore within the Low Emission Zone, the quotes for transportation were astronomical. So I decided to go to see the car and assess its viability. Armed with a fully charged battery, fresh petrol and oil, and a boot full of tools, jacks, axle stands etc, I headed south, slightly more in hope than expectation. However the car turned out to be exactly as described – in good condition apart from a broken door mirror and a few battle scars from life in London traffic, and needed only gentle coaxing to fire up, and ran exactly as you would expect for such a low mileage engine. Having tested the brakes and done a visual inspection for leaks, I agreed to arrange to take it for an MOT test a couple of weeks later. At this point, one of the Club’s insurance partners, Lancaster Insurance kindly agreed to sponsor the project by covering the cost of insurance, and so an appointment was made at Halfords Autocentre at Park Royal, where it passed the MOT with only advisories to replace a wiper blade and keep an eye on the rear tyres, which will be replaced as a matter of course. The car then made the 100 mile journey back to Staffordshire with only a minor misdemeanor – an indicator stopped working, which was quickly sorted with a cleaning of the bulb-holder contacts. I say quickly, but as I have never owned a Supercinq before, and there being no owner’s manual with the car, it did take me about 15 minutes to work out how to remove the bulb!
Staffordshire Smart Repairs Limited tidied up the worst of the bodywork issues (see photos) and at a very generous discount, so a big thanks to them, and Paul Cunningham Renault Repairs has promised to donate an updated auto gearbox oil cooler. Paul tells me this should have been done as a service modification as the original design had a tendency to leak coolant into the gearbox.
It’s a lovely car – very good but not quite perfect. There is clear evidence of minor accident damage which has not been repaired to the highest standards. There is slight misalignment of the bonnet and driver’s side wing, and the paint on the bonnet leaves something to be desired so would ideally need repainting if you are a perfectionist. The bonnet soundproofing is missing and an indicator lens has a small crack in it. This may well be replaced before the sale if I can locate one. Underneath though, it is virtually as new without a trace of rust – the MOT tester apologised for making me wait until the minimum test time had passed, because normally he would have spent 10-15 minutes checking rust alone, but there wasn’t any! The interior is almost perfect – a bit of leather care will make it so, and it has the original 1980s car phone system, although the handset is missing. These do come up on eBay fairly often. It has a decent Pioneer radio cassette as per Monaco spec, and also has the suit bag under the rear parcel shelf
So with the idea of showing the car at the NEC no longer an option, and most of the summer’s events cancelled due to COVID-19 we will be promoting the sale of the car on Social Media, but still hoping some outdoor events may yet take place before it goes to a new owner. It will go to highest offer received by the end of August with all profits going to this most deserving of charities. Remember that Gift Aid can be used so that the Alzheimer’s Society can reclaim your income tax, and enhance the money raised by 25% providing that the successful offer is made by a UK tax payer
If you are interested in becoming the next owner, more information can be obtained by writing to the Secretary email@example.com or telephoning me on the number in the front of Renotes. The car is available for viewing in Staffordshire . This is a great opportunity to own a totally rust-free Renault 5, so please be generous with your offers