Alpine A110

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Renault

Renault Alpine A110

1963 - 1973
Country:
France
Engine:
4 cyl. Rear Engined
Capacity:
1565 cc
Power:
138 bhp
Transmission:
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
134 mph
Number Built:
8,203
Collectability:
4 star
Renault Alpine
Renault Alpine A110
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4>

The Berlinette



The Alpine A110, also known as the "Berlinette", was a sports car produced by the French manufacturer Alpine from 1961 to 1977. The A110 was powered by various Renault engines. The Alpine A110 was introduced in 1961 as an evolution of the A108. Like other road-going Alpines the A110 used many Renault parts. But while the A108 was designed around Dauphine components, the A110 was updated to use R8 parts. Like the A108 available first as a cabriolet and later as a coupé, the A110 was delivered first with "Berlinetta" bodyworks and then as a cabriolet.

The main visible difference with the A108 Coupé was a restyling of the rear body to fit the larger engines, which gave the car a more aggressive look. Like the A108, the A110 featured a steel backbone chassis with fiberglass body. This design was influenced by the Lotus Elan, Colin Chapman being a major source of inspiration for Alpine designers at that time. The A110 was originally available with 1.1 litre R8 Major or R8 Gordini engines. The Gordini engine delivered 95 hp (71 kW) SAE at 6500 rpm.

The A110 achieved most of its fame in the early 1970s as a victorious rally car. After winning several rallies in France in the late 1960s with iron-cast R8 Gordini engines the car was fitted with the aluminium-block Renault 16 TS engine. With two dual-chamber Weber 45 carburetors the TS engine delivered 125 hp (93 kW) DIN at 6000 rpm. This allowed the production 1600S to reach a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph).

The car reached international fame during the 1970 - 1972 seasons when it participated in the newly created International Championship for Manufacturers, winning several events around Europe and being considered one of the strongest rally cars of its time. Notable performances from the car included victory on the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally with Swedish driver Ove Andersson.

The First World Rally Champion



With the buy-out of Alpine by Renault complete, the International Championship was replaced by the World Rally Championship for 1973, in which Renault elected to compete with the A110. With a team featuring Bernard Darniche, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Jean-Luc Thérier as permanent drivers and "guest stars" like Jean-Claude Andruet (who won the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally) the A110 won most races where the works team was entered, making Alpine the first World Rally Champion.

As well as being built at Alpine's Dieppe factory, A110 models were constructed by various other vehicle manufacturers around the world. The Alpine A110 was produced in Brazil under the name Interlagos; a young driver named Emerson Fittipaldi drove one in several races. The Alpine A110 was produced in Mexico under the name Dinalpin, from 1965 to 1974, by Diesel Nacional (DINA), which also produced the Renault vehicles. The Alpine A110 was also produced in Bulgaria under the name Bulgaralpine, from 1967 to 1969, by a cooperative formed between SPC Metalhim and ETO Bulet, whose collaboration also resulted in the production of the Bulgarrenault.

In 1974 the Lancia Stratos, the first car designed from scratch for rally racing, was operational and homologated. At the same time, it was obvious that the A110 had reached the end of its development. Attempts to use fuel injection brought no performance increase. On some cars a DOHC 16-valve head was fitted to the engine but proved unreliable. Chassis modification like the use of an A310 double wishbone rear suspension, homologated with the A110 1600SC, also failed to increase performance. On the international stage the Stratos proved to be the "ultimate weapon" making the A110 as well as many other rally cars soon obsolete.

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Alpine A310
Louis Renault
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Tim Moores
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It is a common mistake but, with respect, these are not Renaults any more than a Lancia or Ferrari is a FIAT.
Societé des Automobiles Alpine was founded by Jean Rédélé in the early 1950s and the first Alpine, the "Coach A106" built on the floorpan of the Renault 4CV, was presented in July 1955. The A108 Cabriolet appeared in 1957 and was the first implementation of the backbone chassis structure, it is not a tubular spaceframe, that was carried through all subsequent Alpines. The A108 Coupé followed in 1959 and the A108 Berlinette appeared in September 1960. The A110 Berlinette came along in 1962 as did the A110 GT4 2+2 variant and in 1968 Jean Rédélé made an accord with Renault for distribution of Alpines through the Renault dealership.
It was during 1967, when Jean Rédélé was in the throes of negotiating with Renault to sell and support Alpines by the Renault dealer network, that the Renault diamond first appeared on the nose of the A110 and ALPINE RENAULT badging appeared on the engine cover. Up until then the nose of Alpines had carried the legend “ALPINE” and the engine covers either no logo, ”ALPINE”, the flying “A” of Alpine or the model designation such as “ALPINE 1300”. However, the chassis plaques give the manufacturer as “Societé des Automobiles Alpine”
Gradually Renault increased their financial support to Alpine’s competition activities as the company sought to derive publicity benefit from Alpine’s competition successes. The Régie eventually took a majority holding in Alpine in 1973, the year that Alpine-Renault won the inaugural World Rally Championship with the A110 and 11 years after the introduction of that model. Even subsequent to Renault taking a controlling interest the Alpine marque identity was retained within the Renault corporate organisation; just like Lancia, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo within FIAT and more recently like Jaguar within Ford.
The first showing of the A310 was at the Geneva motor show in 1971, the year that Alpine won the European Rally Championship for makes with the A110. The A310 concept was actually a co-operative design study undertaken by Alpine and Renault that begin in 1968. But despite that co-operation the A310 did not have a Renault badge on the nose until the V6 variant of September 1976 that also had Alpine Renault moulded into the rear spoiler; the Alpine Renault moulding was replaced by Renault Alpine from about 1980. The replacement for the A310, the V6 GT, appeared in 1985, with its chassis plate bearing the manufacturer’s formal name, Alpine Renault, but badged externally Renault Alpine. However, by 1987 Renault had finally realised that in trying to draw benefit from the Alpine charisma for their general production cars they had generated a significant disincentive to prospective buyers in the top-end high-cost performance market sector from the association with Renaults mass-market cars. So the decision was taken to re-emphasise the Alpine marque to try to regain the lost status and the new GTA received prominent Alpine badging for all markets except the UK where Alpine could not be used as the overt manufacturer designation for legal reasons. By 1990 the Alpine badge was back prominently on the nose of the cars and the name Alpine was again emblazoned on the rear panel. The final Alpine, the A610, was introduced at the Geneva Salon in 1991 and proudly carried external Alpine badging and an Alpine Renault chassis plate through to the end of Alpine production in 1995. Since then various Renaults have been built in the Alpine factory but they are and will remain Renaults not Alpines.
The correct marque designation for our cars is either Alpine or Alpine-Renault.
Tim Moores
A110 Registrar
Club Alpine Renault (UK)
 
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