A Championship-Winning Marque in Hibernation for Two Decades Has Returned
Between 1961 and 1974, French manufacturer Alpine debuted a small sports car that would be powered by an economic Renault engine that would instead rely on keeping the weight low to derive maximum agility and the most optimal power to weight ratio. The result was a 2-door, mid-engined sports car driven at the rear wheels, that was based on the Renault 8 with a bodywork designed by Giovanni Michelotti. The road-going Alpine A110 delivered around 95 horsepower while being perfectly capable to tip-toe through the corners with great agility since the whole package weighed just 706kg.
The rally spec version though was a bit different though. Instead of the regular R8 powertrain, the Alpine A110 in rally spec got an engine upgrade in the form of the Renault 16 TS, which was further mated to Webber carburettors, delivering a total of 125bhp, reaching a top speed of over 210kmph (130mph). This major upgrade combined with the mid-engine handling and light weight construction ensured that the A110 was destined to become a very effective rally car. In the 1973 World Rally Championship, the Renault Alpine A110 (Renault had bought out Alpine the previous year) went on to win almost every race on the calendar, brining Alpine their first ever World Rally Championship crown. Unfortunately, fame was short-lived for Renault and Alpine, as the Rally world was soon introduced to the most purpose-built rally machine of the time – the mighty LANCIA STRATOS.