World Classic Autos Index > Guides Index > Alpine Renault
Alpine was founded in 1955 as a French racing and sports car manufacturer by Jean Rédélé a Dieppe based garage owner who modified Renault 4CVs. The car marque followed in 1955 and was called Alpine after his Coupe des Alpes successes, not realising that Sunbeam Alpine, had been launched in the UK the previous year. In 1955 he produced the Alpine A106 based on the chassis of the original Renault 4CV with a fibreglass body. The design of the body was contracted out to the Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti.The next Alpine model was the Alpine A108, a 2+2 closed coupe / berlinette. This model was built from 1958 until 1963. The success of this model was followed by the A110 which was based on the Renault R8 saloon. Originally fitted with 956cc engines, these grew over to to 1800cc engines. There great co-operation between Renault and Alpine around this time and it was possible to have you Alpine serviced at your Renault dealer. The car has many successes on the rally circuit.
In 1969, Alpine opened a new assembly plant to keep up with demand. In 1971, Alpines finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Monte Carlo Rally and in 1973 won the World Rally Championship, beating Porsche and Lancia. Sadly the international oil crisis badly hit car manufacturers, especially specialist manufacturers. With failing sales the company was bought out by Renault.
Although they contined to be successful on the rally scene with the A110 and its replacement the A310, Alpine faced increasingly stiffer competition from Lancia with their Ferrari powered car. With Renault in control, a effort was taken to win Le Mans and won in 1978 with the Renault Alpine A442B. At this time they also built Formula Three and Formula Two cars. Due to a lack of a competitive Formula Two engine, the F2 cars ran as Elf models with Ford-Cosworth and BMW engines. Eventually Renault developed a competitive engine and so an Alpine wone the European Formula 2 Championship in 1976. Alpine also built a car that was a test mule for the eventual entry of Renault Elf team in Formula One in 1977.
The A310 was eventually transformed into the Alpine GTA range with initially a normally aspirated V6 engine and eventually a turbo charged version. In 1990 the most desirable version of the GTA was launched with only 325 made. The Alpine A610 which was launched in 1991 was a essentially a restyled GTA. Just over 800 of these were built. The last Alpine, an A610, rolled off the production line in 1995. An Alpine called the A710 was designed but due to its cost was canceled.
The Alpine mark was relaunched in 2017 with the model call the A110 and in 2021 the Renault Formula One team was renamed Alpine F1.
Road models - A106, A108, A110, A310, GTA/A610, A110 (2017)
Racing models - Alpine M63, Alpine M64, Alpine M65, Alpine A210, Alpine A220, Alpine A360 - Formula Three, Alpine A364, Alpine A367 - Formula Two, aka Elf 2, Alpine A440, Alpine A441, Alpine A442, Alpine A443, Alpine A450 (revised Oreca 03), Alpine A460 (revised Oreca 05), Alpine A470 (revised Oreca 07)
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