With safety and emissions regulations tightening, we don’t see cars like the Renault Sport Spider or the Lotus 340R from major manufacturers anymore. These types of cars make no concessions to modern conveniences; they exist simply for the pleasure of driving.

Before the Bicester Heritage Sunday scramble in January, I’d only seen a 340R in the wild once (that was a summer afternoon more than a decade ago), and I’d never seen a Spider in person. So while most people flock to the neighborhood supercars, I was immediately drawn to this pair of small cars.

The Renault Sport Spider was born out of the French automaker’s desire to further enhance its ability to produce sporty and fun cars. Spiders were both road cars and designed for a single racing series, and just 1,800 were produced during a four-year build between 1996 and 1999.

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If you’re in a left-hand drive country, you can order the car without a windshield, but all right-hand drive cars come with one as standard.

Sharing the F7R motor with Renault’s Clio Williams, an output of 150 hp may seem meager, but the aluminum chassis and composite panels mean a weight of 853 kg (1,880 lb), resulting in a strong power-to-weight ratio.

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While the Lotus 340R and Renault Sport Spider were never released at the same time, both share the same spirit.

Launched in 2000, Lotus was limited to 340 units and sold out before release. Take the already light 725 kg (1,598 lb) Exige Series 1 for example, with most of the bodywork removed, the revised weight is just 675 kg (1,488 lb). Fiberglass panels barely cover the extruded and bonded aluminum chassis, with no doors or roof to speak of.

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The optional performance package boosts power to 190hp, which misses the 340hp-per-ton target but still delivers strong performance.

Lotus continued to make limited-edition cars in a similar fashion to the 340R for 2-11 and 3-11, but neither was as raw and focused as the original.

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Both cars are cool in their own right, but I’d love to know which one you If there is a chance, I will take it home, why?

Chardon Ford
Instagram: Chai Ke

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