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At the recent launch of the Renault Megane RS 265, we spotted an interesting guest, the rare Renault Sport Spider from the 1990s. Think a Lotus Elise is uncompromising and hardcore? Read on.

Unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, the Spider was produced the following year at the Alpine plant in Dieppe, France. It had no power steering, ABS or heating, and didn’t come with a roof (yes, not even a fabric top!) and windshield. The lack of a screen (added to later models, like the one you see here) meant that helmets were necessary. The two-seat cabin is as spartan as they come, too.

The Spider was powered by a rear transversely mounted 2.0 litre F7R engine from the Renault Clio Williams hot hatch, producing 150 horses. Doesn’t sound like much, but this was before the era of 200 hp hot hatches, and the Spider weighed just 930 kg, thanks to an aluminium chassis and plastic composite body panels.

A total 1,726 Renault Spiders were produced from 1996 to 1999, of which 80 units were 180 hp Spider Trophy one-make race cars. Very cool, until it rains that is!