The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

| 23 Feb 2024
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

It’s the attention to detail that strikes you – that and the shiny floor that’s clean enough to eat from.

Read any recent Renault 5 Turbo story in the UK press and the path tends to lead back to Oliver ‘Olly’ Melliard.

This enthusiast doesn’t unquestioningly follow the accepted wisdom: by measurement, trial and error he finds out what works and why, using his own car as a testbed.

And by examining what makes Renault 5 Turbos tick, he engineers new parts and solutions to make them work better.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

Olly Melliard in this Renault 5 Turbo 2’s boot, refitting the ancillaries to its mid-mounted engine

For example, the supposedly ‘non-serviceable’ de Carbon dampers, unique to the 5 Turbo.

Olly has worked out how to rebuild and re-gas them, and sells the ‘new’ ones on an exchange basis, complete with a perfectly replicated satin-orange finish and stencil-painted lettering, as original.

Looking at the level of detail, you can see where £1500 goes.

Gauges not working? No problem. Auto-electronics specialist Gary can interrogate and repair the mostly analogue displays.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

Electronics specialist Gary tests the Renault 5 Turbo’s instrument cluster before repair or recalibration

“I’m analysing the boards and working out the component values, so I can recalibrate the instruments,” he explains, mercifully offering the short version after losing us at ‘waveforms’.

“We’re pleased to bring that in-house – before it was a 12-week wait,” adds Olly, who has also commissioned new aluminium roof tooling, and offers a brake upgrade to suit either 13 or 15in wheels: “It’s non-invasive, with a servo delete.

“You don’t need Group B brakes for the road.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

A Renault 5 Turbo 2 (furthest) is in for restoration, while Olly’s own Turbo is used for development; Zakspeed (black) and Terzi Escorts ran in the Italian championship

“As a family we grew up with Renaults in every form and my dad always wanted a ‘squashed hamster’, as he called them,” he continues.

“Circumstance kept me from any toys, so when I went to work for Simon Hadfield in 2002 the lifestyle change helped me to irresponsibly buy what Dad had wanted.

“It was then my only car and I commuted in it – I did the weekly shopping in it!

“Renault 5 Turbos are now starting to be owned by grown-ups – many of whom are prepared to spend the money they need: very few have done that over the past 20 years and plenty are now puffed-out, which also means people don’t have a reference point.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

The team at Melliard Motorsport Ltd managed to rebuild the Renault 5 Turbo’s ‘unrebuildable’ de Carbon dampers

Racks of parts – a mixture of recommissioned components and “stuff you can’t make” – line the walls, including light units sourced via eBay, electric Vitaloni Tornado mirrors common with the Ferrari BB, and new-old-stock aluminium R5 tailgates, made at the factory on the original presses by slipping some ally blanks in between production runs.

If you want to buy one think of a number, and good luck ever finding another.

On a table, beautifully anodised clamps and fittings are laid out.

This meticulous method migrates across all Olly’s projects.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

Renault electronics can be brought back to life in-house at Melliard Motorsport Ltd

That’s a real Zakspeed Escort in the workshop – chassis one of a three-car team that won the ’79 European Touring Car Championship – because Olly offers race support and restoration, too: “It’s a proper 1840cc four-speed works car still in its original paint.

“The blue one next to it is Terzi 08, the Group 2 car that ran in the 1980 Italian championship.

“During that year they ran as rivals and it’s the first time they’ve been together since.”

The Group 2 Capri is a new build with Weslake slide-throttle engine: “We’re just going through it to wake it up while the ex-Klaus Ludwig Cologne-built Capri that we run is out over Christmas with its owner.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Melliard Motorsport Ltd

The Ford Capri Group 2 racer (left) is ready for action again

Outside, a Porsche tractor, fresh from auction, belongs to another client and a Group 5 turbo Escort awaits its turn.

“Our work ethic for R5 Turbos follows race-car preparation principles as closely as we can,” explains Olly.

“I think we also offer the personal touch.

“Any customer or enthusiast will always receive real hospitality and first dibs on any information, events or tip-offs by being part of the family.”

Images: Will Williams

This was first in our February 2020 magazine; all information was correct at the date of original publication

The knowledge

  • Name Melliard Motorsport Ltd
  • Address Unit 8, Canalside Industrial Estate, Cropwell Bishop, Nottingham NG12 3BE
  • Specialism Historic race car restoration, preparation and support; Renault 5 Turbos
  • Staff Two
  • Prices £60 (plus VAT) per hour
  • Tel 01159 980590
  • Web
  • Email


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