Dinalpin and Bulgaralpine Are French Rally Icons Built in Bulgaria and Mexico
The early 1960s were a weird time for French sports car manufacturer Alpine. 10 years after the company had been founded, the company had produced 2 cars with some success. But, the cars had aging mechanical platforms, and soon, this became very apparent to consumers. They had to make a new car that the public would love. The opportunity presented itself when Renault introduced their new R8 sedan platform.
With some tweaking to the platform and bodywork, Alpine created the car known as the A110. The rear engine, rear wheel drive setup meant that the rear had to be widened and extended a tad, which meant that the styling became more aggressive.
After winning a few rally raced with the Gordini engine, soon a new engine was available: the engine from the Renault 16 TS, which had a nice power output of 125 horses, up from 95 horsepower in the previous generation.
With the success of the Alpine A110, they wanted to expand their markets. But, they also wanted to avoid paying hefty import duties on their vehicles. So, in order to get around this, they decided to have the A110 built in other factories, on other continents.
One example of this was the manufacturing of the A110 under the brand Dinalpin in Mexico. Made from 1965 to 1974 by Diesel Nacional, a Mexican bus company, that at the time was owned by the Mexican government. Although the production spanned 9 years, many say that fewer than 1000 Dinalpins ever came out of the Vallejo City operation. With the price being slightly lower than that of the French Alpines, and no evidence to suggest any lesser build quality, these are a steal!
The A110's were not just built in Mexico, but also Bulgaria. This model was dubbed Bulgaralpine. The Bulgaralpine was a result of a partnership between ETO Bulet and SPC Metalhim, who later produced the Bulgarrenault. Produced spanned from 1967-1969, and the number of cars that came out of that factory is debated. Some say that only 60 were ever made, while the production manager, Ilya Chubrikov, puts the number more around 100.
Few of either exist today, and the chances of finding one are slim, but if you do, you can impress everyone with your new knowledge.