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Alpine (French pronunciation: [alpin]) was a French manufacturer of racing and sports cars that utilised rear-mounted Renault engines.
Jean Rédélé (1922 – 2007), the founder of Alpine, was initially a Dieppe garage proprietor, who began to attain considerable competition good results in one of the few French cars developed just following Globe War 2. The company was purchased in 1978 by Renault.
Utilizing Renault 4CVs, Rédélé gained class wins in a number of key events, which includes the Mille Miglia and Coupe des Alpes. As his encounter with the tiny 4CV constructed up, he incorporated many modifications, which includes for example, special five-speed gear boxes replacing the original 3-speed unit. To give a lighter automobile he built a quantity of unique versions with lightweight aluminium bodies: he drove in these at Le Mans and Sebring with some good results in the early 1950s.
Encouraged by the development of these cars and consequent consumer demand, he founded the Société Anonyme des Automobiles Alpine in 1954. The firm was named Alpine soon after his Coupe des Alpes successes. He did not realise that over in England the previous year, Sunbeam had introduced a sports coupe derived from the Sunbeam Talbot and named the Sunbeam Alpine. This naming problem was to cause problems for Alpine all through its history.
Coach Alpine A106 Mille Milles 1955 (1st alpine).
In 1955, he worked with the Chappe brothers to be amongst the pioneers of auto glass fibre construction and produced a small coupe, primarily based on 4CV mechanicals and called the Alpine A106. It employed the platform chassis of the original Renault 4CV. The A106 achieved a quantity of successes via the 1950s and was joined by a low and fashionable cabriolet. Styling for this vehicle was contracted to the Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti. Below the glassfibre physique was a quite stiff chassis based on a central tubular backbone which was to be the hallmark of all Alpines constructed.
Alpine A110 Berlinette (1962-1967).
Alpine then took the Michelotti cabriolet style and developed a two+2 closed coupe (or ‘berlinette’) body for it: this became the Alpine A108, now featuring the Dauphine Gordini 845 cc engine, which on later models was bored out to give a capacity of 904 cc or (subsequently) 998 cc. The A108 was built among 1958 and 1963.
In 1962, the A108 begun to be produced also in Brazil, by Willys-Overland. It was the Willys Interlagos (berlineta, coupé and convertible).
Willys Interlagos Berlineta, the Brazilian A108
By now the car’s mechanicals were starting to show their age in Europe. Alpine have been already functioning closely with Renault and when the Renault R8 saloon was introduced in 1962. Alpine redeveloped their chassis and produced a number of minor physique alterations to permit the use of R8 mechanicals.
This new car was the A110 Berlinette Tour de France, named soon after a successful run with the Alpine A108 in the 1962 event. Starting with a 956 cc engine of 51 bhp (38 kW), the same chassis and physique created with comparatively minor alterations more than the years to the stage where, by 1974, the tiny car was handling 1800 cc engines developing 180 bhp (134 kW)+. With a competition weight for the automobile of around 620 kg (1,367 lb), the functionality was exceptional.
Alpine accomplished escalating accomplishment in rallying, and by 1968 had been allocated the complete Renault competitors price range. The close collaboration permitted Alpines to be sold and maintained in France by normal Renault dealerships. True leading level good results began in 1968 with outright wins in the Coupe des Alpes and other international events. By this time the competitors cars have been fitted with 1440 cc engines derived from the Renault R8 Gordini. Competition successes became several, helped considering that Alpine were the 1st business totally to exploit the competitors parts homologation rules.
In 1971, Alpine achieved a 1-2-3 finish in the Monte Carlo rally, employing vehicles with engines derived from the Renault 16. In 1973, they repeated the 1-2-three Monte Carlo outcome and went on to win the World Rally Championship outright, beating Porsche, Lancia and Ford. For the duration of all of this time, production of the Alpine A110 elevated and manufacturing bargains had been struck for A110s and A108s with factories in a quantity of other countries which includes Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Bulgaria.
1973 brought the international petrol crisis, which had profound effects on many specialist vehicle producers worldwide. From a total Alpine production of 1421 in 1972, the numbers of vehicles sold dropped to 957 in 1974 and the company was bailed out through a takeover by Renault. Alpine’s difficulties had been compounded by the want for them to develop a replacement for the A110 and launch the automobile just when European petrol prices leapt through the roof.
Alpine A110 Berlinette Group 4 (1971-1974).
By way of the 1970s, Alpine continued to campaign the A110, and later the Alpine A310 replacement vehicle. Even so, to compete with Alpine’s accomplishment, other manufacturers developed increasingly particular automobiles, notably the Lancia Stratos which was primarily based closely on the A110’s size and rear-engined idea, even though incorporating a Ferrari engine. Alpine’s own vehicles, nonetheless based on the 1962 design and style and utilizing a surprising number of production components, became increasingly uncompetitive. In 1974 Alpine built a series of factory racing Renault 17 Gordinis (one particular driven by Jean-Luc Thérier) that won the Press on Regardless Globe Rally Championship round in Michigan, USA.
In truth, obtaining achieved the rally championship, and with Renault cash now totally behind them, Alpine had set their sights on a new target. The next aim was to win at Le Mans. Renault had also taken more than the Gordini tuning firm and merged the two to form Renault Sport. A number of increasingly effective sports racing automobiles appeared, culminating in the 1978 Le Mans win with the Renault Alpine A442B. This was fitted with a turbo-charged engine Alpine had been the initial organization to run in and win an international rally with a turbo automobile as far back as 1972 when Jean-Luc Thérier took a specially modified A110 to victory on the Critérium des Cévennes.
Alpine Renault continued to develop their variety of models all by means of the 1980s. The A310 was the next contemporary interpretation of the A110. The Alpine A310 was a sports vehicle with a rear-mounted engine and was initially powered by a four-cylinder 1.6 L sourced Renault 17 TS/Gordini engine. In 1976 the A310 was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more strong and newly created V6 PRV engine. The 2.six L motor was modified by Alpine with a four-speed manual gearbox. Later they would use a 5-speed manual gearbox and with the group 4 model get a higher tune with more cubic capacity and 3 twin barrel Weber carburetors.
Alpine A310 V6 GT Pack (1983-1984).
Right after the A310 Alpine transformed into the new Alpine GTA range created from plastic and polyester components, commencing with usually aspirated PRV V6 engines. In 1985 the V6 Turbo was introduced to total the range. This auto was more quickly and more strong than the normally aspirated version. In 1986 polyester parts have been cut for the initial time by robot employing a higher pressure (3500 bar) water jet, .15 mm (.01 in) in diameter at three occasions the speed of sound. In the very same year the American specification V6 Turbo was created.
In 1987 fitment of anti-pollution systems allowed the V6 Turbo to be distributed to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. 1989 saw the launch of the restricted edition GTA Mille Miles to celebrate Alpine’s 35th anniversary. Production was restricted to one hundred cars, all fitted with ABS braking, polished wheels, specific leather interior and paintwork. This version was not available in RHD.
1990 saw the launch of the unique edition wide bodied GTA Le Mans. The auto wore polyester wheel arch extensions with a 1 piece front. Wheels were 3 piece BBS style developed by ACT, 8×16" front & 10×17" rear. Otherwise identical mechanically to the V6 Turbo, the engine was fitted with a catalytic converter and power was reduced to 185 bhp (138 kW). This model was obtainable in the UK and RHD versions carried a numbered plaque on the dashboard. The Le Mans is the most collectable and worthwhile GTA derivative, given that only 325 were produced (299 LHD and 26 RHD). These have been available from Renault dealers in the UK and the country’s motoring press are belatedly recognising the GTA series as the ‘great unsung supercar of the 1980s’
Alpine V6 Turbo Le Mans 1990
The Alpine A610 was launched in 1991. It was re-styled inside and out but was still recognisable as a GTA derivative. The chassis structure was extensively reworked but the central box principal remained the identical. The front was fully re-designed the interior was also greatly improved. Air-conditioning and power steering have been fitted as regular. The total production run for A610s derivatives was 818 cars 67 RHD and 751 LHD. Following production of the A610 ended, the Alpine factory in Dieppe made the Renault Sport Spider and a new era was to start.
The final Alpine, an A610, rolled off the Dieppe line at 7. April 1995, Renault abandoning the Alpine name. This was usually a dilemma in the UK marketplace. Alpines could not be sold in the UK beneath their personal name simply because Sunbeam owned the trade mark (because of the mid-50s Sunbeam Alpine Mk I). In the 1970s, for example Dieppe were constructing modified Renault R5s for the world wide market. The rest of the world knew them as R5 Alpines but in the UK they had to be renamed to R5 Gordini. Strangely enough with the numerous organization takeovers that have occurred, it is yet another French business, PSA (Peugot/Talbot/Citroën) who now personal the British Alpine trademark.
The Alpine factory in Dieppe continues to expand in the 1980s they constructed the unique R5 Turbo automobiles, following the rear engined formula they have always employed. They built all Clio Williams and RenaultSport Spiders. The factory proudly put its Alpine badges on the constructed early batches of the mid engined Clio series one Clio V6. The Clio Series 2 was also assembled there with much more recent RenaultSport Clio 172 and RenaultSport Clio 182s.
Amongst 1989 and 1995, a new Alpine named the A710 "Berlinette 2", was created and two prototypes were built. Due to the cost of the project (600 millions Francs), and as adding modern day gear and interior would compromise the cost and performances, the project was canceled.
The Dieppe factory is known as the producer of RenaultSport models that are sold worldwide. This was initially the "Alpine" factory that Renault gained when they acquired the brand in 1973. Some of the Renault Sport models developed in Dieppe are at the moment the Mégane Renault Sport, Clio Renault Sport and the new Mégane Renault Sport dCi is to be constructed on Renault’s Dieppe assembly line. All the RenaultSport track-, tarmac- and gravel-racing Meganes and Clios are also made in the Dieppe factory.
In October 2007, it has been reported that Renault’s advertising boss Patrick Blain has revealed that there are plans for many sports vehicles in Renault’s future lineup, but stressed that the 1st model won’t arrive until following 2010. Blain confirmed that Renault is unlikely to choose a new name for its future sports automobile and will probably go with Alpine to brand it. Blain described it as getting a “radical sports car” and not just a sports version of a normal model.
The new Alpine sports automobile will most likely have a version of the Nissan GT-R’s Premium Midship platform.
The presence of sportier models in the Renault line-up would give the French automaker a far better chance to capitalize on its Formula One particular prowess, getting won two back-to-back planet championships with Fernando Alonso, translating these efforts to its production automobiles is a moot point simply because Renault’s lineup is lacking in the sports car department. Management is hoping to alter all that and is keen to start off constructing sports automobiles once again, as it has in the past, with the revival of the legendary Alpine label.
In France there is a huge network of Alpine enthusiasts clubs. Clubs exist in many nations including the UK, USA, Australia, Japan.
In February 2009, Renault confirmed that plans to revive the Alpine brand have been frozen as a direct result of the 2008-2009 worldwide monetary crisis and recession.
In May 2012, images of a new Renault Alpine idea titled as Renault Alpine A110-50[six] had been leaked prior to its debut in Monaco.
According to a Spanish vehicle magazine it is stated that the road version will be released in 2013.[citation required]
In November 2012, Renault and Caterham announced plans to develop cost-effective race vehicles under the Alpine brand which are to be available in 2016. In this partnership, Caterham will acquire 50% ownership of Alpine even though the new vehicles will be created at Renault’s Dieppe, France assembly plant.