2002 RENAULT Clio 172 CupView vehicle description
2002 RENAULT Clio 172 Cup
The first generation of Renault’s replacement for the 5 was advertised in 1990 with the oh-so-chic Nicole and her well-to-do Papa using their respective Clios to sneak away to meet their lovers. The pitch was that you could have a small and practical car that still felt luxurious.
But by the end of the decade, after proving the concept with the 16V and the Williams, the second generation Clio also came into the clutches of Renault Sport (RS), their high-performance division. These Clio II RS “hot hatches” targeted a very different customer segment to the bourgeois Nicole et Papa.
Following the styling evolutions of the standard Clio, the 172 Phase 1 and Phase 2 delivered 172 PS (hence the denominator) from a Mecachrome-tuned 2.0-litre 16V inline-4 to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. They were also equipped with OZ F1 alloy wheels and interior luxuries including air conditioning and a leather and alcantara trim.
In 2002, keen to produce a stripped down “sport lightweight” version for Group N homologation, Renault released the Clio II RS (172 Cup) with the chassis code CB1N - which is what we have for sale here. The Cup saw a number of items of equipment deleted, had some of the sound deadening removed and was trimmed with lower cost interior fabrics.
Most were painted in D43 Mondial Blue and to further differentiate the Cup it was given lightweight 16-inch Speedline Turini alloys, matt-finish rubbing strips, and a restyled front splitter and rear spoiler. All this effort saved around 89kg compared to the Phase 2 - the equivalent of ditching a fully-grown passenger.
The official 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds was bettered by AutoCar Magazine who timed it at 6.2 seconds making the 172 Cup the second fastest Clio at the time, only beaten by the bonkers mid-engined V6 developed by TWR.
The 172 Cup was replaced by the higher-powered, but heavier 182 Cup in 2004 - although marque enthusiasts still prefer the more hardcore driving and analog handling of the 172.
First registered in September 2002, this Clio II RS 172 Cup is a one owner car. The car was apparently a bit of an impulse purchase, the vendor and her husband having wandered into a Renault showroom where it caught their attention. He recognized it for what it was - one of the first Cup models - and they bought it there and then.
Since then it’s been very much a second car in the household, used for local shopping trips and a few weekends away. The couple lived in Yorkshire when they bought the car before moving to rural Oxfordshire in 2014.
The model-appropriate R12CUP registration will stay with the car.
On the Outside
As expected, the exterior is painted in glorious Mondial Blue metallic and is in pretty good condition with the odd stone chip on the bonnet, a small scratch or two on a wheel-arch and bumper and a few small scrapes on the extreme edges of the doors - especially the driver’s side.
There is a slight orange peel finish in places on the nearside where the car was partially resprayed early in its life (see History Highlights), although the way that the light bounces off the metallic flake you’d barely notice unless you were looking for it.
There appears to be a slight fogging on the headlamps and there is a small gap in the trim across the top of the windscreen, but otherwise the car presents reasonably well for its age.
The 16-inch, 11-spoke alloys look like the original Speedline Turini rims and all are fitted with GT-Radial Champiro tyres. The lacquer on the wheels is starting to bubble and peel, particularly around the hubs and the front nearside rim has been kerb-scuffed but none of the wheels appear to have suffered any significant damage.
On the Inside
As mentioned in background, the interior is upholstered in grey cloth for reduced cost and weight and although the seats would benefit from a deep clean, as far as we can see there are no rips or damage beyond a light bobbling in high wear areas such as the seat bolsters.
The gear shift and steering wheel are clad in leather, the rim of the latter being slightly rippled at the hand grips.
The dash top and doors are padded plastic and in good order, and the rest of the trim is either hard plastic - subject to the inevitable light scratching on handles, in storage wells and where shoes scuff past getting in and out - or it is painted body colour creating pleasant design accents.
The original CD/Radio is fitted and, along with other interior electrics, is reported by the vendor to be working as it should.
The carpets are tidy and in good condition and there are fitted Clio floor mats front and back for additional protection. They appear to be from a standard Clio rather than an RS model but they do the job functionally if not aesthetically. Up above, the headlining too appears clean and damage free.
Under the bonnet, the engine and its ancillaries look to be in good order with the expected oxidation across the light alloy intake manifold and head. The only thing out of place is that what looks like the intake temperature sensor is held in by cable ties.
The vendor lives in a small rural village, so the roads can get very muddy thanks to farm vehicles. Unsurprisingly there is a fair bit of mud on the undersides of the car, and under that you can see patches of surface rust on jacking points, suspension components and subframes. The exhaust back box is also starting to corrode around the hanger attachment weld.
However there doesn’t appear to be any damage and a good underbody wash, a bit of wire brushing and some new underseal here and there should make a big difference.
Open the rear hatch and you see the suspended parcel shelf is present and unmolested, with the carpet and boot-linings intact and damage free. Under the floorboard is a spare wheel well but - presumably for sporty weight-saving - no spare wheel. Instead the carrier is there holding the wheel brace and towing eye and a can of tyre-weld sits alongside.
The car’s MOT expires toward the end of this month but the test history shows a reasonably good performance over the years with failures relating mostly to replaceable items. The history folder includes all the car’s MOT certificates back to its first in 2005.
Not long after our vendor bought the car, in fact when they were in Leeds to assign the personalised registration (long before you could do it online), it got scratched along the passenger side in a multi-storey car park. You’d like to think this was accidental - someone squeezing out of their own car and dragging a bag buckle or coat zip along it. Regardless of cause, an insurance claim was made and the side of the car was professionally resprayed.
The car has reportedly given years of satisfactory service and only recently has there been anything untoward. When the car battery started to drain excessively, even when replaced, an investigation pointed the finger at the alternator which was duly swapped out back in February of this year.
What We Think
Despite the low mileage for its age, it’s clear that this car has been used and enjoyed, not cosseted away and only brought out for a wash and wax every Sunday. Although a little time and effort in that department would improve its presentation, such a nimble and engaging car deserves to be driven and to wear its dirt and the odd stone chip with pride.
From a peak of over 2,000 on the road in the mid-noughties, there are now fewer than 500 Clio 172 Cups in regular use in the UK, so to find a one-owner example for sale with less than 40,000 miles on the clock has to be uncommon if not rare.
We think this limited edition, future classic will fetch between £8,000 and £12,000. As mentioned, the car comes with the personalised plate R12CUP - which is surely worth a four figure sum by itself.
There’s a strong club scene for RenaultSport cars, giving access to plenty of advice, spares and social events if that’s your thing. If not, just enjoy this nippy little terrier as a daily driver or for a bit of weekend action.
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- Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 39,900
- Chassis Number: VF1CB1NDF27193848
- Engine: 1998cc
- Gearbox: Manual
- Steering position: Right-hand drive
- Colour: Blue
- Interior: Grey
- Estimated Price: £8,000 - £12,000