Since classic cars exploded in value and people seem to be trading them like real estate, us regular enthusiasts are left to look further for affordable fun. No longer can you sift through dozens of unwanted Supras or Sierra RS Cosworths. They’re not just old cars any more, they’re collectibles — two-door Cossies are at $100,000 now. Seriously. And the four-doors, that around Europe used to be seen outside mobile homes, even they’re at $30,000. Madness.

So you have to use your imagination. Consider the first generation Renault Twingo for a second… Yes, really use your imagination.

These cars were made by the French giant towards the end of its golden era, when an idiosyncratic culture of design ruled. With a design led by Patrick le Quement, the Twingo was released in 1993 and stayed in production with continuous updates until 2007, although in South America the Colombians and Uruguayans kept churning them out into 2012.

Now, le Quement doesn’t do conventional, and if anything you can’t call his cars boring. In the Eighties his Sierra was an aerodynamic shock to the consumerist psyche. Later on, the second generation Renault Megane split opinion just as fervently, yet undeniably cars and cubism was a unique approach, you have to give him that.

Le Quement’s original Twingo is easier to accept — the little masterpiece is cavernous inside, and with a 1.2-litre engine revvy and zippy to drive too, like you may remember Nineties’ Renaults to be, cheery. A wide track for a short wheelbase make the original Twingo a genuinely fun little car, especially when you consider the kerb weight of less than 800kg.

McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray rated the original Twingo too, so you could argue le Quement’s ordinary city har has the cult status to go with the affordability — for just $2,000 you’ve got yourself a much cooler runabout than a generic compact crossover, and if you use your imagination, you can expect the Twingo to finally earn its recognition as a design classic and explode in value any day now…


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