Car Cafe Classics: Our Top 5
13th May 2019
5. Renault 5 GT Turbo
At 29 years old, the Renault 5 GT Turbo kicks off our list and is the youngest model in our classic line up. Probably a modern classic to some, but no matter what you class the GT Turbo as, when was the last time you saw one on the road?
This particular example is one of the later versions, with 120bhp, as apposed to 115bhp, which earlier cars had. This gave the 'R5 Turbo' a lot of poke back in the day, with 0-62mph occurring in just 7.3 seconds, which is still nippy today. Back then, it would have been mega in a tiny car such as the Renault 5. This was thanks to a 1.4-litre inline four turbo charged engine, and with a weight of under a tonne, it gave this compact 'Reno' an impressive power-to-weight ratio. The car was modified extensively back in the day, so seeing one standard and in this condition is a rare treat. This 1990 version rolled back the years at the meet, and certainly received many admiring glances.
4/3. Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk1)
The Mk1 Golf GTI introduced the much loved 'hot hatch' to the world. Golf GTIs have since enjoyed many new generations over time and have gone on to be the textbook answer for the perfect hot hatch, that can pretty much cope with anything you throw at it. Plus, it will never look out of place, whether it be in a supermarket car park or outside a posh restaurant or hotel.
The Mk1 is undoubtedly an automotive icon, and two fine examples joined the Car Café meet, both finished in iconic Mars Red. Together, they made for quite a spectacle with both cars being the later 1983 model, which incidentally was the last year they produced the Mk1 Golf GTI, after the car first appeared in 1977. This means, instead of the original 1.6-litre engine, these pair of icons came with an enhanced 1.8-litre engine, making 112bhp. Good for 60mph in just 8 seconds, which was crazy fast for the '80s. Seeing not one, but two Mk1 GTIs in such good condition is always going to be hard to ignore.
2. Alfa Romeo 1600 GT Junior
Technically, there were two Golf GTIs so we have gone straight to car number 2 in our list; a gorgeous Alfa Romeo 1600 GT Junior. It is fair to say that this classic is the by far the prettiest in our list, but then Italians know how to style a car don't they? And being an Alfa Romeo, beauty is part of the heritage. At 43 years old, the years have been more than kind to this graceful coupe.
Housing a somewhat throaty 1.6-litre twin cam engine, the GT Junior not only looks stunning, but also sounds glorious too. The car was created to fill the gap between the similar models Alfa produced at the time, the smaller-engined 1300 Junior and the larger-engined 2000 GTV. As you can expect, we were delighted to see this gorgeous Alfa at the Car Café meet. We weren't the only ones.
1. Ford Cortina Lotus (Lotus Cortina)
A Lotus badge on a Ford Cortina? No, this isn't some custom job of the owner's possible two favourite brands. Instead, it is now a somewhat rare occurrence where by two manufactures work together to produce a car, and even apply their contrasting emblem on the finished car too, unheard of in today's models.
But if you know your cars, you'll know this is the legendary Ford Cortina Lotus, aka 'Lotus Cortina'. The already popular Ford Cortina became an absolute animal when made in conjunction with Lotus - in a good way of course, as Lotus know a thing or two about making a car handle, and the Lotus Cortina was a fine car because of this, and an made an impressive racing car too. With the signature green stripe on the side, and the Lotus badge on the rear quarter, it certainly looks like an old school racing car, and a similar Lotus Cortina was driven by none other than legendary F1 champion Jim Clark. For the heritage and rarity, the Lotus Cortina had to be our number one.