The Renault Sport Spider, or simply Renault Spider, is one of the most memorable roadsters ever produced. From 1996 until 1999, the Spider drew respect and gained Renault a heavy reputation as a formidable racecar manufacturer. Codenamed Project W94, the concept version was introduced at the 1994 Geneva Motor Show. Built on a RMR layout, the design standards have yet to be equaled in terms of bold innovation and eye-grabbing appeal. Think Dodge Viper. Still today, when a Spider drives past you, you will stop, turn and stare. They are just that unusual – to not notice would suggest that you need a red-tipped cane.
The butterfly doors open vertically and slightly outwards. There is no front windshield although you can have the Sport Spider fitted with a miniaturized wind-blocking shield to keep your teeth and eyes free from most bug smacks. The vehicle length is only slightly over 12 feet at 149.4 inches and the gross weight of the latest model released (1999) is just 2050 pounds. Huge air scoops run down both doors to cool the 2.0-litre 16-valve 148 hp straight 4-cylinder engine in the boot. From sitting motionless, you can be propelled up to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds.
The hood lifts to expose a very small storage compartment and interestingly is not guaranteed by Renault to stay in place after reaching speeds in excess of 40 mph. It must have been a French thing; Renault said that the Spider is not an everyday car, so owners didn’t need common, everyday guarantees. That’s not to say that the Spider isn’t a relatively safe car. It was constructed with an aluminum chassis which is both low in weight and high in strength. There is also a very obvious roll bar in position. Plastic composites comprise the body – again for lessening the vehicle’s weight and enhancing overall speeds. On that note, the reported top speed of the Sport Spider is 134 mph.
The Spider was made to be a driver’s car. There’s nothing fancy added – not even an AM radio. You wouldn’t want to cheat yourself of one second of the sound the responsive engine makes. As you slip through the gears of the 5-speed manual transmission gaining speed, you realize that the Spider is made for performance, getting noticed and handling – not for roomy comfort and family vacations. With no predecessors and no successors, the Renault Sport Spider remains in a class of its own.
You can purchase a rare used Spider today for right around $35,000 to $40,000. Just be careful because most likely it will have been enthusiastically driven even if it has low mileage. If you are a classic car collector, have the vehicle inspected by an expert to determine if it has been involved in a few traffic accidents or is in need of significant repairs. Renault Spiders have a big reputation and are desired by many, so be alert to the signs of it having been stolen and be sure to install a vehicle anti theft device. Renault Spiders are definitely an unshakable and exciting component of automotive design history.
This is an article about the model Renault Spider