Alpine cars

Alpine car
Alpine was a French manufacturer of racing and sports cars. Societe Anonyme des Automobiles Alpine was founded by in 1954 by Jean Rédélé, and the name is correctly pronounced "al-peen". Alpine cars used rear mounted Renault engines.  In 1996, Renault announced that the model A610 would be the last Alpine ever built.

Early Alpine history

Jean Rédélé was a Dieppe garage proprietor who managed achieve considerable competition accomplishments in one of the few French cars produced just after World War 2. With the help of a Renault 4CVs, the achieved class wins in several major events, including the important Coupe des Alpes and Mille Miglia. Jean Rédélé started to work with the Renault engine and alter it to more accurately fit his racing needs, and after a while he had for instance incorporated a special 5 speed gear box instead of the normal 3 speed variant. He also worked with the body of the car to make it lighter and built several special versions in lightweight aluminium. During the early 1950’s, Jean Rédélé met considerable success at Le Mans and Sebring with his light weight car.

In 1954, the customer demand for the modified car had grown so big that Jean Rédélé could form the Societe Anonyme des Automobiles Alpine in 1954. The firm was named Alpine, a name that alludes to Jean Rédélé’s success in the Coupe des Alpes. The name did however cause considerably trouble, because in 1953, the Sunbeam Car Company had introduced a sports coupe named Sunbeam Alpine. 

In 1955, Jean Rédélé and the Chappe brothers became auto glass fibre pioneers when they released the A106, a small coupe based on 4CV mechanicals. This car used the platform chassis of the original Renault 4CV and was styled by Italian designer Michelotti. Under the lightweight glassfibre body, the A106 relied on a stiff chassis with a central tubular backbone. This construction was to become the hallmark of all Alpine cars. Throughout the 1950s, the A106 achieved a long row a successes and was soon to be joined by a low and elegant cabriolet version; also styled by Michelotti. Later own, Alpine took the Michelotti cabriolet design and based a 2+2 closed coupe model on it (a so called berlinette). This car was named A108 and was produced from 1958 to 1963.

Present Day

Today, the factory in Dieppe produces RentaultSport models, such as the Renault Sport Mégane 225 and Renault Sport Clio 197. This factory is also used to build all the Renault Sport Track, Tarmac and Gravel Racing Meganes.

The Alpine continues to be highly popular and a much sought after car, and there is currently a rich assortment of Alpine clubs active in the United Kingdom, the rest of Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan. There are some rumours about Renault using the Alpine name for a new sports car in 2008 or later, but this has not been confirmed.

Examples of Alpine success

1946
Rédélé prepares his Renault 4CV and is later on successful at the at Rallye Monte Carlo.

1953
Rédélé prepares five racing cars for Renault, and all five cars go on to achieve the first places in their category in the Mille Miglia. The 1952 Alemanno bodied Renault 4CV also wins several rallies.

1954
Wth a tuned 4CV, Rédélé and his friend Pons achieved a victory at the Coupe des Alpes.
1971
An A110 from Alpine wins the International Rallye Championship.
1973
Once again, the A110 from Alpine wins the Rallye World Champion.
1974
Alpine builds a series of factory racing Renault 17 Gordini's and wins the Press on Regardless Rally - World Rally Championship Round in Michigan USA.

Alpine Street models

Alpine Racing models

Renault sport models at Dieppe

 

 

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