The Renault 5 of the AIR-5 car club at the 2022 edition of Losange Passion International, in Linas-Montlhéry (France).
The Renault 5 of the AIR-5 car club at the 2022 edition of Losange Passion International, in Linas-Montlhéry (France).

Head to the ski slopes with a Renault 5, take it on daily errands, or drive off to meet with other car enthusiasts at events around Europe: this and more are the sorts of adventures enjoyed by members of the AIR-5 car club that brings together fans of the iconic Renault model that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

For a view into a larger-then-life collection of cars and a friendship not bound by barriers of automotives, it is time to see what is happening in the region around Orleans, in the heart of France. More than sixty Renault 5 models of all types lined up inside a vast 1,000m2 shed. This is the home to a growing collection of fond memories that belong to a group of six friends. Let’s meet them.

A very 80s vibe permeates the shop floor where Matthieu, Benjamin, Virginie, Cedric, Nicolas, and Eric share in their collection of some 60 Renault 5 cars, with all sorts of types and colours on display. From one of the very first 1972 R5’s (in its typical orange paint) to the legendary R5 Turbo sports edition, every model has a place in the vast shed located just outside Orleans, where life just isn’t the same without a Renault 5. A city car born in 1972, unlike no other, and with more than 5.5 million units sold, it has become a permanent fixture in the lives of the AIR-5 group of car collectors, now friends for just over a decade. Where did their passion come from? And what do they actually do together? We tagged along as they prepared the 2022 edition of Losange Passion International, France’s largest gathering of Renault afficionados that was held on Saturday, October 1st at the UTAC car track in Linas-Montlhéry (France).

“It’s totally useless, but perfectly necessary”

A first car for some, a parents’ car for others: everyone has a Renault 5 story to share. France’s most sold car for a 10-year stint, it has left its mark and continues to leave is mark on millions of French minds. This vast garage is a prime example as each member owns between five to 30 R5 cars. As the club’s president, Matthieu, put is: “It’s totally useless, but perfectly necessary”. Unable to let a single one of them go ever since he acquired his very first R5, his collection has constantly grown.


“My Dad gave me a blue R5 for my 18th birthday. At first, I didn’t want it, but I haven’t been able to get rid of it since. It’s his fault I love the R5 so much!”

Matthieu, President of the AIR-5 Club and R5 collector

A tool kit in the trunk and a decorated workshop

To continue breathing life into their cars and the R5 legend, each member follows one rule to the letter: drive, no matter the weather, no matter the distance, no matter the occasion. Last weekend, Lemon Yellow, Graffiti, Orange, Pearl, and several other Renault 5s that have not yet been given a name, headed off towards Montlhéry (Paris region), for the 6th edition of the Losange Passion International (LPI). A trip that required careful preparation: change the lamps, check the oil and... throw a tool kit in the boot, ready to tackle any situation! "I have an alternator, starter plug, and even spare fuses," says Matthieu.

Careful preparation before heading off  towards Montlhéry (Paris region), for the 6th edition of the Losange Passion International (LPI).     

But these gatherings are not the only opportunity for everyone to get together. The friends already share many other memories: holidays in the Alps, Normandy, Biarritz, or trips around France to pick up more R5s. Their garage has become a community.


Holidays in the Alps, in a Renault 5

A unique and emblematic place that is caught in the same era these cars came from with plenty of vintage pieces decorating the space: a Minitel, a rotary dial phone, a radio-cassette player, and numerous vintage posters. But their ambition doesn't stop there. They have big dreams for their garage: they want to be able to repair everything on site, thanks to the addition of machines and tools for machining, milling, painting, etc.



The R5 collectors have big dreams for their garage: they want to be able to repair everything on site, thanks to the addition of machines and tools.


“We all have different motivations for being here. Some like tinkering with their car, I like taking my R5 out for a drive; but above all, this is a place where friends hang out together of an evening.”

Virginie, Secretary of the AIR-5 Club and R5 collector


The R5, a way of life

For Benjamin, a young landscaper, the Renault 5 is more than a car, it's a way of living a simple life, while enjoying every moment.


“Our cars aren’t ones you put in a glass cabinet; the goal is to keep them on the road.

I go on holiday with my R5, I go to work in R5.

It's more than a car, it's a way of life. »,

Benjamin, Vice-President of the AIR-5 Club and R5 collector



 

The R5 hasn’t become a piece of national heritage out nowhere. A fun, simple, popular car is also timeless and eternal for many. And it is sure to remain that way for a long time yet!