Sunday, 18 July 2010

Mystery Classic Car update and TDF - Blog 96

A month or so ago, we came across an unusual glassfibre bodied car at a small classic car display in Chasseneuil. See Here. We had no idea what it was, as it had no badges, but our good friend Sébastien from Paris was delighted to see this car on my blog and told us that his father Richard was the designer of this, and many other models made by Alpine, a small car designer and builder based in Dieppe and owned by Jean Rédélé. Having done some research, we have found more information on this interesting marque, which from the 50’s, 60’s and beyond proved itself to be an example of the best of French automotive engineering. The following is a heavily abbreviated account of the firm’s history and if you are interested, you can see more at the websites, to which I am indebted for the facts. Any errors in interpretation of these are mine!

Monsieur Rédélé had been involved in motor racing from 1952, when a modified Renault 4CV was entered at Le Mans. Over many years (Alpine was founded in 1955, launching a car at the Paris Salon in that year), he operated his business in co-operation with Renault, and in 1962 signed an agreement with them; Alpine-Renault was born and Richard Bouleau was the company’s chassis designer.
Richard Bouleau
In 1964, they were developing single seater Formula 2 racing cars; racing and rallying was continued by the firm for many years with varying success, but it did advertise the production cars!. The firm’s mainstays in the following years were the A108 and A110 series, fast but fragile rear-engine road-going coupes with Renault running gear and fibreglass bodies. But these were cramped little two-seaters more suited to racing or European rallying than normal road work.

A new model was long overdue by 1971, and Alpine-Renault surprised everyone that year with the new A310, a much larger, more spacious, well-appointed and altogether more practical machine. It became the company's main production car for the next 14 years.

Power came from a 127bhp four cylinder 1600 Renault engine mounted at the rear. In late 1976, the 1.6-litre engine was replaced by a 150bhp 'PRV' (Peugeot/Renault/Volvo) V6 of 2664cc and this boosted top speed to 137mph. Disc brakes were fitted at the rear and production was increased. I understand that the car I saw in Chasseneuil was one of these.




Exactly 2334 four-cylinder A310s had been built in the five years to 1976, but the new V-6 sold even better, helped by further improvements: 5-speed gearbox in 1979 and upgraded interior from 1982. Production continued at Dieppe until 1985, when the Alpine-Renault A310 gave way to the new GTA.

All pictures taken of the car are my own.
Information and R.Bouleau photo credits :-
http://www.veloce.co.uk/shop/graphics/pdf/V4177.pdfhttp://www.veloce.co.uk/shop/graphics/pdf/V4177.pdf
http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=94495
http://www.motorbase.com/vehicle/by-id/-1080608219/
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/alpine-renault-sports-cars1.htm
http://alpineventouxclub.free.fr/histoire.php

TDF update

16 July - Stage 12 - Bourg-de-Péage - Mende 210.5 km
 The stage results are as follows:-
1. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER (KAT) Spanish
2. Alberto Contador (AST) Spanish
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (AST)

No major changes in the overall classification in the top 10; only the time gaps have changed and Contador is now 31 seconds behind Andy Schleck.

17 July - stage 13 - Rodez - Revel 196 km
Stage results –
1. A Vinokourov (AST)
2. Mark Cavendish (HTC)
3. A Petacchi (LAM)

On this flattish stage, the overall positions have changed very little, but tomorrow anything may happen. Not only do they have a very large mountain to climb, but they also have a mountain top finish, which will favour climbers over sprinters.

35 comments:

  1. That is one hot car, Diane! looks like a smarter version of an old Camero... looks like your detective work paid off!

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  2. longpastremembered, not really detective work just a good friend in Paris who knew the car well. Diane

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  3. How interesting Diane and now you mention it I think I recall a company called Renault Alpine in the UK that produced a convertible at one time?

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  4. Hi Lindy, there was a Sunbeam Alpine in the UK I think, but I am not aware of Renault being produced anywhere other than France. I am not an expert though so I do not really know. Diane

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  5. You are right I got my memories confused, Sunbeam Alpine that was it!

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  6. Lindy I get my memories confused all the time, particularly current memories:-)Diane

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  7. That is a cute little car...I've never seen one of them before.

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  8. I like this sporty looking model, even though I'm kind of a truck person myself. Great bit of history.

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  9. Gaelyn, It was history I would never have found out about if it had not been for my friend in Paris. Diane

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  10. Bo I doubt if they ever made it to Alabama, very French. Diane

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  11. Wow, I've never seen like that yet! Thanks for sharing! Have a nice day!

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  12. The car is actually quite attractive. How nice you were able to research its history. It is amazing how many people we meet via the internet. My best to you and Nigel. Blessings...Mary

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  13. Very interesting...cool car!

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  14. It's a pleasure seeing my dad's face in your blog !!! I sent him the link. I don't know if he'll leave a comment... Perhaps He speaks English, I mean he used to speak.
    I am affraid for LindyLooMac that there was no link between Renault Alpine and Sunbeam Alpine. And for BO, yes there is no chance to see such car in US. They just sold about 100 of the following car named GTA.
    Bye all of you and many thanks to Diane for her wonderfull blog
    Sébastien

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  15. Hi Mary, I met my friend in Paris long before I had my blog, but on the internet, he was learning English (he is now fluent) and I was learning French (I am useless!!) Have a good day. Diane

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  16. Hi Lani, It really is an interesting car with lots of history. Diane

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  17. Automotive history is so interesting! I was amazed a number of years back, when the Cadillac dealership in Knoxville was celebrating their 75th anniversary, and it turned out that very early on, they received the cars by rail and had to do the final assembly on site! Nuts, right? Glad your mystery car has been cleared up.

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  18. My son is car crazy! I am going to email him a link to this page.

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  19. Sébastien, thanks so much for your kind comments. Will chat to you soon. Diane

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  20. Hi Marjie, Almost every car has some small bit of interesting history. Interesting about the Cadilac. Diane

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  21. This is something my Wife would love has she is the one with all the speeding tickets :) the bad thing is if she dosent pay them then I get stopped and arrested It looks very cool Diane :)

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  22. Hi Philip, I would think it is easy to speed in this car! But as Sébastien says only about 100 were made so the chance of finding one is quite small. Diane

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  23. How wonderful it would be to own something so special. I would treasure it forever.

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  24. You are right Joan, it would be difficult to ever sell anything like that. Diane

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  25. That design feature just under the rear window (the horozontal flip up) was a popular design on many cars - wonder if it began with this car.
    I have enjoyed following the TDF when I can - besides the race, the scenery and small towns are wonderful to see.

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  26. Hi,
    It is indeed a cool car!! My husband has 3 of these A310's, one is here in Germany and 2 are in Charente.
    Have a look at my husband's website and you can see our cars.
    http://www.a310alpine.com
    We are in France soon for 5 weeks. If you want to see more Alpine Renault A310's and see some on the circuit, then visit the circuit at Le Vigeant on Sunday 22nd August and you will see many Alpine Renaults including A310's. It is the annual meeting of "AGC'86" Alpine, Gordini Club of the Vienne. Worth a visit to enjoy looking at these fantastic cars.

    Alison

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  27. Actually Bo, there are A310's in the USA that have been imported. We have a frieend in North Carolina who has one and actually I think there is a blue one for sale on Ebay in the staes at the moment. There are Alpine A310's all over the world. My husband knows a lot about them as we have 3.Have look at his website and e-mail him if you have any questions.
    http://www.a310alpine.com

    Alison

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  28. Hi,
    It is indeed a cool car, we have 3 Alpine Renault A310's. We have 1 here in Germany and 2 in Charente.
    http://www.a310alpine.com/
    Have a look at my husband's website for more information about our cars.
    If you fancy a day out on Sunday 22nd August, then drive to the circuit at Le Vigeant - not far from Availles Limousine. "AGC'86" the Alpine Gordini club for the Vienne have their annual track day. You will see lots of A310's as well as other Alpines and Renault Sports cars.
    If you want to know anything about these cars, contact my husband, he has a lot of knowledge.
    And, Bo, there are a few in the USA, we have a friend with one who lives in North Carolina and I am sure there is one for sale on Ebay in the USA at the moment. They were never made in the USA, but many were imported. One of our A310's is 1 of only 6 bought by the Delorean company to use when they were developing their famous "back to the future" gull wing car. More more info on this, contact my husband.
    Looking forward to being in Charente soon!

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  29. Mya, You could be right about the spoiler. Not sure what year the BMW and the Porches had them. The countryside shown on the TDF is excellent, makes you want to travel to new places:) Diane

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  30. Hi Alpine, thanks for all your comments and information, will check out the site. Just may try to make it to Le Vigeant on the
    22nd Diane

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  31. Look out for our car when you are there. It's the "Poisson Dieppois A310", a replica of an A310 that ran in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1977. My husband did all the work himself. We'll be there with a red Renault 4 as well, have to carry a few tools and spare parts as my husband will be taking part in the track day. If you'd like to see the 2 A310's we have, get in touch via the website.

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  32. I apologise for leaving a comment twice, I didn't realise that there was a delay in posting so I thought I'd made a mistake and lost the message!! I know what I am doing now!!

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  33. Alpine, no problem. I will see what is happening around the 22nd Aug. Diane

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