The Alpine A 110 is the rally car par excellence, the embodiment of one man’s pioneer spirit and passionate dedication to the world of motor racing. Born in Dieppe in 1922, the son of a Renault engineer, Jean Redele grew up tinkering with cars and fascinated by the race track. He started to enter competitions in a self-modified Renault 4CV, winning his class in the Mille Miglia.
Redele became the youngest Renault dealer in France and, with unlimited access to parts, he started to design his own lightweight sports coupes. He founded the Alpine company in 1954 and in 1960 showed his A108 2+2 closed coupe (berlinetta) at the Paris Autosalon. It had a fibreglass body on a steel backbone chassis and was fitted with an 850 cc rear-mounted Renault Dauphine engine. Redele named it the ‘Berlinette Tour de France’.
This was the car which, when fitted with a more powerful Renault 8 engine, morphed into the legendary A110 Berlinette, unveiled in 1963. Redele carried on tinkdering and the Berlinette kept evolving. What had started out as a little 956 cc 51 bhp coupe ended up as an 1,800 cc with 180+ bhp, and was available both as a coupe and a cabriolet.
Year after year, the latest version kept winning all the most prestigious prizes and thrilling the rally-driving world. By 1968 Renault was pouring the whole of its racing budget into Alpine with the inevitable consequence that in 1970 Redele’s company was swallowed up by his powerful patron. The economic downturn of the 1970s eventually brought about Alpine’s demise in 1977.
The Berlinette was never intended to be anything other than a rally car and as such has never really been equalled. This light, lowslung car drives like a dream. There won’t be another like it in a hurry.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1962 (until 1977)
Displacement ranging horn 1,103 cc to 1,647 cc OHV Straight Four
Top speed 133 mph (km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW
In 1971 Ove Andersson won the Monte Carlo Rally in an Alpine M10 and the same year the M10 won the International Rally Championship, in 1973 it became the First World Rally Champion.