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Alpine A110 Sports Car – Rediscovering the Iconic Lightweight

Alpine A110 Sports Car – Rediscovering the Iconic Lightweight缩略图

Alpine A110 Timeless Formula Blending French Flair with Raw Driver Engagement

Among vintage sports cars and early rally enthusiasts, few automotive brands elicit the passion and devotion enjoyed by France’s fledgling mid-century maker Alpine. Though production spans barely a decade between 1961 and 1977, the plucky Alpine A110 carved out an oversized reputation relative to its diminutive scale. This retrospective examines the Alpine formula, what set the A110 coupe apart from contemporaries, and why Alpine is seeing a resurgence today.

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The Root of Alpine A110 Legendary Lightweight Ethos

Alpine’s roots trace to 1955 when founder Jean Rédélé, already an accomplished rally racer from the Dieppe region of Northern France, envisioned a new sports car combining British lightweight simplicity with continental European ride and handling.

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Early Alpines ran 4-cylinder engines from Renault, another Dieppe-based automaker. While modest in displacement, Alpine’s svelte chassis and focused driving experience emphasized driving prowess over power.Alpine A110 Sports Car – Rediscovering the Iconic Lightweight插图2

After several years of developing competition and small-batch production models, Alpine launched its seminal A110 named for its 1.1L powerplant in 1961. Stripped down yet refined, the A110 proved a formidable rally and circuit racer yet tame enough for daily road use thanks to its balance, four-wheel independent suspension, and precise rack-and-pinion steering communicating clearly to drivers. By 1971, Alpine and its transformed A110 claimed the first World Rally Championship for a vehicle under 1300cc and cemented the brand’s giant-killing reputation.

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On Styling: Gracefully Uniting Form and Function

From its sensuously curved, slab-sided early bodywork penned by Bertone to its later Gordini and A110 1600S variants, the little two-seater Alpine coupe flowed with Gallic panache. Design hallmarks included an elongated, tapered low-drag nose cone, fastback roofline ending in slim photo-etched taillights, and elegantly integrated bumpers.

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Dihedral doors opened widely for easy ingress and egress while dual creases descending rear fenders hinted at haunches tensed to pounce. Inside, business meant driver comfort took precedence over passengers but the inviting interior hardly seemed spartan. Ultimately the A110 brought amateur racers fascinating mid-engine placement cloaked in understated, everyday drivability.

Getting behind the wheel: An Intimate, Unfiltered Sensory Experience

Slip into the Alpine’s form-hugging bucket seat, snug down the slender three-spoke wheel, and flick the ignition to prompt the buzzy four’s diesely rattle through the firewall. Clutch out and the quick-geared transaxle rewards assertiveness with momentum. Gentle inputs steer the nose surely on its path as undulations flow through the compliant chassis directly into the seat and wheel.Alpine A110 Sports Car – Rediscovering the Iconic Lightweight插图5 Dropping gears, windows down, engine and exhaust heating with pace now. Flowing into turns, its steady state cornering welcomes a bit of playfulness. Back on the throttle and the A110 tracks true, hungering for the next curve with poise belying its size and horsepower. In the Alpine A110, sensations overwhelm stats and driver engagement eclipses lap timers. You emerge satisfied by the interaction alone.

Why The Alpine A110 Enjoys Renewed Interest Today

With so few original Alpines made even through the brand’s 70s heyday, the little lightweight survived in modest numbers. But a passionate collector base kept the A110’s memory and driving purity alive even as Alpine itself faded into history pages. In the early 2000s, the same ethos witnessing Honda S2000s or Mazda MX5s emerge found appeal in Alpine’s timeless vulnerability and mechanical transparency pair so rarely found by then. Well-preserved and restored examples traded among aficionados for premiums.Alpine A110 Sports Car – Rediscovering the Iconic Lightweight插图6

Today, Alpine sees fresh life as a performance sub-brand under Renault’s ownership, launching the stunning mid-engined A110 in 2016-2017. Like its namesake forebear, the contemporary A110 emphasizes leanness over brute force, and connection over insulation. Alpine may remain an exclusive niche but its core mission of engaging keen drivers through elemental machines endures thanks to the foundations built by the landmark mid-century A110. For automotive purists and sports car fans today just as half a century ago, the impassioned Alpine A110 delivers outsized delight.

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