Rumors have suggested that Renault has been working on reviving their classic Alpine brand along with a successor and modern interpretation of the classic Alpine A110 “Berlinette” sports coupe from the 1960s and 1970s. For those who are not familiar, Alpine was a small French automaker that specialized in motorsports and sports cars utilizing Renault engines that sat at the ass end. So in a sense, you could say that they were France’s Porsche. Renault later absorbed the brand in 1978, which then went defunct in 1995.
Fast forward to today and Renault has already confirmed that they were reviving the Alpine brand. But in order to do so and to substantiate its potential success, the French automaker has to reestablish some market awareness and footing in an already competitive worldly automobile industry. So their answer is to revive the A110.
Currently, Renault has been seeking partners to help them build their future Alpine models, even this specific A110 Berlinette revival. That said, AutoCarUK reports that Alfa Romeo’s recently introduced 4C sports car may be used to underpin this future Alpine. It may also used for a future Caterham sports car in hopes to perpetuate the growing sub-supercar niche, aimed specifically at us younger driving enthusiasts and traditionalists. In other words, this sounds like nothing short of a miracle…
Renaults current boss Carlos Tavares supposedly said that “styling is about 70% done,” and the new A110 will be purely modern interpretation of the original A110. He also tipped that it will be a two-seater sports coupe weighing in at only 1000kg, or just a click over 2,200lbs. It will cost around £50,000, or around $76,395 US at today’s exchange rate, and will have 280bhp on tap. Doesn’t sound like much, but with only 2,200lbs to lug around, some serious performance is to be expected.
It will be made primarily of steel in the form of a spaceframe, but will utilize aluminum and composite components. The future Alpine A110 to be will also have all-independent suspension and a mid-mounted 2.0L turbocharged four-banger mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic from the Renault Clio Renaultsport. A traditional manual rower will also be available.
“We have time to discuss and decide,” Tavares told AutoCarUK. “The production car is about three years away, but about a year before that we will probably show a concept. In the meantime, we will find other ways to feed the brand.”
So why am I making a big fuss about this?
Alpine is specifically known for its motorsports competition and production of sports cars that were made specifically to meet homologation standards. They’re historically a major part of many endurance and rally staples such as the Mille Miglia and Coupe de Alpes a.k.a. the classic French Alpine Rally. But their biggest highlight was with their victory at the infamous Rallye Automobile de Monte Carlo, or just the Monte Carlo Rally in short, where the A110 won in first place in 1971, but more importantly, in 1973.
But above all, the Alpine A110 Rally was the winner of not just any race in 1973. It was the first ever winner for the world-renowned World Rally Championship league during its inaugural season in 1973. The A110 is perhaps the most famous car from the Alpine brand due to its long list of historic rally victories. It was sold to the consumer under the homologation standards of the World Rally Championship and its earlier days as the International Championship for Manufacturers, where the A110 was already well known. And unfortunately, the A110 endured only one year of WRC victory as the crown was then handed off to the Lancia Stratos in 1974.
So listen up Gen Y-ers. You can pretty much say that Audi’s, Mitsubishi’s, and Subaru’s claim to fame with the World Rally Championship—which has majorly contributed to their success clearly seen with their marketing—all owe a great deal of their inspiration to the Renault Alpine A110. In other words, there’s a reason why people our age race around in Mitsu Evos and Scoobaru STIs. And let’s not forget Audi’s hugely successful selling point, Quattro all-wheel drive, which was made famous with the original WRC champion, the Audi Quattro sports coupe. They all obtained their fame by being the winning automobiles for many World Rally Championship seasons. It’s the sole purpose as to why they all sell like hotcakes these days.
And as a firm believer of respecting your elders, any who appreciates any automobile that has made a name for themselves from the World Rally Championship owes a great deal of respect to the A110. And because of that, this is a car that Renault needs to bring to the United States and a car that every serious auto enthusiast in the making needs to be aware of.
Renault, if you’re reading this, please send it our way. Or, at least fly me to France to experience it.
You can also check out some original footage from a French film featuring the A110 in action in its glory days below.
– By: Chris Chin
Video Source: Hemmings YouTube