Renault Clio Gordini

An old legend revives a baby brawler

illustration by BRENDON WISE words by LOUIS CORDONY

AMEDEE GORDINI was much like Renault’s Karl Abarth. A self-taught engineer, Gordini competed in Formula One with his own team until 1957. And after his exploits there faded, he went to Renault to help with its motorsport ambitions.

He passed away in 1979, but his name adorned some of Renault’s finest machinery until 1986 – peek at the engines of early turbocharged Renault F1s and you’ll see ‘Renault- Gordini’ written on the cam covers.

More poignant to driving enthusiasts, though, was the Renault 8, a compact rear-engine sedan Gordini had his way with after turning its predecessor, the Dauphine, into a Monte Carlo winner. His influence was on its engine, where a 1300cc version featured hemispherical combustion chambers, opposed valves, and masked spark plug tech derived from Gordini’s race donks. It made around 30kW more than the 1.1-litre 8S and reinforced his nickname as ‘The Sorcerer’. A hit with the French, it cemented the iconic blue paint and white stripes as his legend.

Later specials weren’t nearly as good, so to right Renault’s wrongs, we’ve dreamed up a real Gordini.

We dream it. They build it. Sweet dream

The Renault 8 cemented the iconic blue paint and white stripes as Gordini’s legend

Here’s how we’d do it


In a traditional Gordini style of tuning, the 1.6-litre engine would be revised by the Renault Sport rally team, who employ techniques used for the R3T car to extract 155kW and a hefty 350Nm from the relatively minuscule engine.

Servicing periods are reduced to every 5000km.


Renault will learn from the criticism it’s received of its EDC automatic in the current Clio RS and beef up the base Clio’s five-speed manual unit for the Gordini instead. A limitedslip diff borrowed from the Clio Cup one-make series car also smuggles in a higher final drive ratio.


Little needs to be done to the impressive chassis of the Clio RS Trophy. However, Renault would call up Brembo for four-piston front calipers to match the 320mm discs from the Clio one-make car. We’d also employ Michelin Super Sport Cup 2s wrapped around new multispoke wheels. .


We’d revive the original baby blue paint hue and iconic racing stripes (of course). Paying lip service to aerodynamics is a set of carbonstyle side skirts and a new front lip.

Inside you’ll find the Recaro Pole Position bucket seats from the Megane Trophy R. .

Aiding the engine’s plight for more power is a redesigned exhaust that deletes the need for Renault’s silly R-Sound Effect RS system. Exhaust gases route in a straight-through arrangement above 5500rpm, but under that they’re routed through the redesigned rear canister thanks to a mechanical valve. .