2001 RENAULT Clio RS 172 Phase 1

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2001 RENAULT Clio RS 172 Phase 1


First launched in 1999, the Clio 172 is based on the three-door bodyshell albeit enhanced with a number of modifications including wider wheel arches, different front and rear bumpers, a pair of side-skirts, and 15-inch OZ F1 alloy wheels.

The interior was only modestly revised and was fitted with half-leather/half-Alcantara seats that were embossed with the RenaultSport logo.

The biggest changes were to the car’s mechanically specification, which included a two-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine. Developing 170bhp (or 172PS, hence the name…) via a variable valve timing dephaser on the intake camshaft pulley, its power went to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.

Thus equipped, the Clio could hit almost 140mph after passing 62mph in 7.3 seconds, assisted by its kerb weight of just 1,035kgs. Fast and agile, the 172 is a natural track day car and many have been modified, making original cars like this one scarce.

The Vehicle

We are delighted to bring you this wonderfully original, unmodified Renault Clio 172. Thought to be one of just 116 produced for the UK market in Odyssey Blue, it’s had just one previous owner.

MoT’d and showing just over 90,000 miles on the clock, it comes complete with a ‘172’ registration number, so if you’re looking for a Phase I Clio 172 to use and cherish, you’re in for a treat.

Especially as it’s being offered with no reserve…

On the Outside

There are no significant ripples, dents or dinks noted upon inspection; it’s in a remarkable condition for a car whose panels are so thin. The panel alignment is great too.

And the paintwork is stunning. It’s an attractive colour anyway but the way it’s survived the past couple of decades is astonishing.

The original equipment, freshly refurbished OZ alloy wheels are in an impressive condition being free of any signs of kerbing or other misuse. They’re fitted with matching 195/50R15 Uniroyal RainSport tyres too, all of which are nearly new.

We will never get tired of telling you that experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

The headlights are bright and clear but then they were replaced with genuine OE Hella items in 2019. There are recent numberplates too, and the owner even went to the trouble of sourcing them from the dealer who supplied the Clio originally; how reassuring is that?

Faults? Well, apart from the usual stonechips and minor marks all cars collect over the years, the black plastic trim has faded a little (i.e. #124 and #156) and the wiper linkage could do with freshening up (#72).

That’s remarkably little, isn’t it?

On the Inside

The blue leather facings on the seat bolsters are slightly cracked and aged but what wear there is modest and remarkably little given the car’s 21 years old. The worst of it can be seen in slides #108 and #120 but that that is the worst tells you everything you need to know about the rest.

The door cards are good too, as are the carpets. The latter have been protected by overmats, and the overall impression is of a car whose importance was recognised by its owner from day one in the form of love and careful curation.

This can be seen in a myriad of small ways. For example, the original stickers are still in the rear window. The steering wheel has been refurbished. The overmats are new RenaultSport jobbies, and the sill stickers have been replaced.

The parcel shelf is intact and in great condition too, as is the boot.

Oh, and the air-conditioning was serviced in July 2021.

It gives good vibes, doesn’t it?


The discs and pads were replaced on both axles, and the cambelt and dephaser pulley are both genuine Renault replacements. All were fitted in 2016 at 89,000 miles. There was a waterpump too, plus oil and a filter.

They fitted new sparkplugs and a set of HT leads at the same time too, plus a change of brake fluid and new air, fuel, and cabin filters. The coolant is the proper Renault Type D stuff, too. Careful curation, you see?

It was further refreshed in 2020 with a new offside rear light unit, a brake line, an oil seal, and a radiator expansion tank.

Another set of platinum sparkplugs were fitted in early 2021, and the car was treated to fresh oil and a filter in July of the same year.

All that hard work has paid off because the engine sparks into life with alacrity. There are no warning signs illuminated on inspection and it ticks over nicely. Free revving, the exhaust note is surprisingly deep and attractive.

The original air box, inlet pipes and straps are still there, something most of them have lost over the years in the name of ‘improvement’. Oh, and the inlet manifold and fuel rail were removed and dry-blasted before being refitted with new gaskets in April 2021.

The engine bay is pretty good as a result, but we can’t help thinking the new owner might like to refurbish the latching mechanism on the bonnet (#97) and perhaps replace the few rusty fasteners under there.

The rear section of the underside was cleaned and resealed in March 2020, so the floorpan appears strong. There is the usual surface rust on the suspension components and jacking points (i.e. #228) and given how good everything else is, it would be worth tidying them up.

History Highlights

The Clio’s MoT certificate is valid until February 2023 and it was gained, like every one in the past four years, with no advisories.

It comes with two keys, a bunch of old MoT certificates, and a wad of old invoices and bills.

The recent Vehicle History Check is clear.

What We Think

The RenaultSport Clio 172 has long been touted as a future classic, with Classic and Sports Car magazine pointing out in August 2019 that: “Track day fans ‘discovered’ Sport Clios a few years ago and many have been ruthlessly caned, while others have been broken for parts. Cherished survivors are scarce, and collectors are already snapping them up.”

As it rightly points out, finding an unmodified, well-maintained example that hasn’t been thrashed is getting harder and harder, which is why we are so pleased to be able to offer this example.

And, its desirability isn’t yet reflected in the sort of bonkers values we see cars like the VW Golf GTI and Peugeot 205GTi achieve.

Because we think the virtual hammer will fall somewhere between £6,000 and £8,000, which is spectacular value when you consider the performance you’re buying.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 90500
  • Chassis Number: VF1CB1C0F24034079
  • Engine: 1998 cc
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Odyssey Blue
  • Interior: Blue
  • Estimated Price: £6,000 - £8,000

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