Historic Car Brands
A young Jean Redele achieved racing success for WW II, using modified Renault 4CV components, winning the 750cc class in the Coupe des Alpes and the Mille Miglia in 1952-53-54. Gradual improvements to the basic 4CV kit included a five-speed box, replacing the standard three-speed.
Based on the success of his ‘specials’ Redele decided to produce limited production sports cars, branded ‘Alpne’, after his mountain-driving successes.
His first fibreglass-bodied coupe was built on the 4CV platform chassis and was called the A106. It launched in 1954, won its class in the Mille Miglia and was followed by an 850cc Renault Dauphine powered model two years later.
Alpine A106 – X-Ray91270
In 1958 came the A108, with Renault Gordini engine and a tubular chassis. Interestingly, the A108 was also produced in Brazil and may have inspired the local Puma sports car, based on a VW platform.
In 1961 came the A110, with a new backbone chassis that had been proved in the A108 Berlinette Tour de France model that was a consistent class-winner. Despite its rear engine layout and swing-axle rear suspension, the Alpine A110’s distinctive negative wheel camber compensated for that inherent handling imbalance and it proved to be a good road and race performer.
Alpine A110 Berlinette Group 4 – Nitot
Renault Gordini twin-cam engines grew progressively greater in displacement throughout the A110’s career, from the original 956cc, 38kW model up to a final 1800cc and 135kW. There were class victories at Le Mans and many rally wins, including the World Rally Championship in 1973.
Renault Alpine A310 V6 GT pack – Alex Collard
At the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, Alpine unveiled the A310 luxury road car, powered by a Renault 16TS engine and with a claimed top speed of 209km/h. A 2.7-litre V6 model arrived later. The A310 had wishbone suspension front and rear, but its rearward engine position still resulted in terminal oversteer that was countered to a large extent by having fatter rear tyres than fronts.
The A110 had spawned rally-special cars from Lancia (the Stratos) Porsche and Ford, but by then Alpine was focussed on Le Mans once more. An Alpine A442B race car finally won there in 1978.
The A310 became the GTA range in the early 1980s and a turbo version followed in 1985. The next iteration was the wider-bodied GTA Le Mans in 199 and the A610 derivative a year later.
The last true Alpine of the original generation rolled off the line in Dieppe, in April, 1995, but the factory continued to produce special Renaults, such as the R5 Alpines and Alpine-badged mid-engined Clios.
Rebirth of the Alpine brand happened, after several false starts, in 2015.
Alpine Vision 2016 – Surrogate Slav