Alpine was a French manufacturer of sports cars and racing cars that used Renault engines. The driving force was Jean Redele, who had enjoyed postwar success tuning and racing Renault 4CVs. His outfit constructed performance specials in the 1950s and 1960s, always working closely with Renault, and in addition to producing Alpine cars for sale the company was entrusted with Renault’s competition budget.
This ushered in a period of rally domination, but Alpine’s own manufacturing efforts were undermined by the oil crisis of 1973 and falling sales led to a Renault takeover. Thereafter, Renault Sport was formed by merging Alpine and tuning specialist Gordini. This division built successful rally cars (World Rally Championship winners) and GT racers (Le Mans 24 hour win in 1978), continuing to use the Alpine name on cars.
The first all-new road car to be produced after the takeover was the Renault Alpine GTA in 1986. This 2+2 sports coupe was effectively an update of its predecessor, the Alpine A310, but it wasn’t a commercial success despite the production of assorted models with different engines. So in 1991 the Alpine A610 arrived. It didn’t look so very different from the GTA, but was a completely different animal beneath the skin. It was built at Alpine’s Dieppe factory and retained the company’s essential design signature – steel backbone chassis and Renault engine mounted behind the rear wheels, this time a powerful 3 litre V6 equipped with a Garrett turbocharger.
The motoring press loved this fiery coupe, but despite the glamour of the Alpine name – and special editions like the Albertville and Magny-Cours – the A610 was a miss, with less than a thousand produced over a production run that unsurprisingly ended in 1995. Thereafter the Alpine factory was used to produce the Renault Sport Spider.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1991 (until 1995)
2,975 cc V6 Turbo
Top speed of 165 mph (266 km/h);0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Although now generally known as the Renault Alpine A610, the car was originally marketed simply as the Alpine A610, in an attempt to maintain the prestige associated with the multiple track and rally successes of Alpine cars.