Get the kids to school quickly with a people carrier that goes from 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds!
Renault has always seemed like a juxtaposition in the world of motoring. On one hand, they have a portfolio of affordable hatchbacks and family cars that are exceedingly ordinary and in some cases rather dull. Their reputation today isn’t exactly shining, either, with middle-of-the-road reliability that has only just improved since the early 2000s where the brand was best known for producing cars that love to give owners grief.
Then, on the other hand, Renault is a very important figure in the world of motorsport. It’s one of the most significant engine producers in Formula One and names such as Prost and Alonso have experienced victories thanks to their Renault-powered cars and many F1 teams have used Renault engines including Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Williams. The brand also has a long history in WRC, producing iconic rally cars such as the Renault 5 Turbo and Alpine.
So, what would happen if these two worlds collided? If engineers were to take these two extreme ends of the spectrum and combine them? Introducing…the Renault Espace F1.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the commercially successful Espace was due a worthy reward for its sales performance. At the time, Renault was producing engines like no tomorrow and evidently, had one to spare and so they paired the two together to create the Espace F1.
Powered by a 3.5-litre V10 from the 1993 Williams F1 car, the Espace F1 produced around 789 horsepower from this legendary, naturally aspirated engine and not only did it produce an ungodly amount of power, it sounded tremendous too, as F1 cars did back in the day! This engine was the same as the one that would’ve powered Alain Prost’s Williams car in 1993 where he achieved his final victory before retiring.
The Espace F1 was more than just a people carrier with an F1 engine put into it, though. Tuned to the high heavens, this engineering monstrosity was modified with a carbon fibre reinforced body, F1 style chassis with the engine mounted in the middle, widened body and crazy aero including a splitter and a rear wing.
The end result: a hulking yellow widebody minivan that was capable of 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds and capable of a top speed of 185mph. In a straight line, it performed like an F1 car. In the corners, it performed like a minivan that regrettably had 800hp.
This phonomenal automotive icon was revealed in 1995 and unsurprisingly dropped the jaws of those in its presence. Celebrating not only the 10th anniversary of the Espace but also Renaults success in the world of Formula One. The Espace F1 would also go on to be used for several press events, including Sir Frank Williams himself experiencing the power of the engine that had brought his team several victories for the first time.
Today, this car is proudly displayed at Matra’s automobile museum in France and stands as a monument to one of the weirdest motoring creations of the 90s.
Let us know what you think about this motoring marvel, in the comments!
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