*This is a translation done by a machine.
What kind of car is the Alpine A110 sports car? It is probably not necessary to explain that at this point. The achievements of this small sports car, whose overall length is about the same as a Japanese small hatchback and whose width is only a few centimeters wider than a mini car, are so great in historical terms, and moreover, the strength and depth of the impression it has left on our minds is immeasurably large.
The late JeanRedele, founder of Alpine and creator of the A110, was originally a car enthusiast just like us. He grew up with a father who ran a garage, and after getting a job with Renault, he opened a Renault dealership in Dieppe, the town where he was born and raised. While working, he modified Renault 4CVs and drove them in public road races and rallies. I think it was natural for him to establish a factory named "Alpine" in 1955 to express his love for the joy of driving on mountain roads.
Alpine's first production car, the A106 Mille Miglia, was a sports car that, with a few modifications, could compete in competition. The same was true of the A108, which was the first to adopt a backbone frame with large-diameter round steel tubes as pillars, a design that would be carried on through to the A610. The same is true of the A110, which was developed on the basis of the A108. Each was also available as a cabriolet, and some models were available with four seats (or rather, 2+2). This was followed by the A310 with a strong Gran Turismo flavor, the GTA (Japanese name: V6 turbo), and the A610.
However, wasn't it up to the A110 that Redele truly wanted to make? Alpine models after the A310 are also attractive and fun to drive, but Redele is a manager who came from a driver's background. It can be inferred that a car that was closely related to competition was what he wanted. Of course, it was also because the A310 remained popular, but it may have had something to do with the fact that after debuting the new model A310 in 1971, the company continued to make the old A110 that debuted in 1963, and quit the company that was under the control of Renault a year after production stopped in 1977. I can't help but imagine.
In any case, the A110 was born from Redele's will, and was built according to the rules of a lightweight chassis with a tubular steel backbone frame and FRP body, and an RR layout with excellent traction, and was undoubtedly a sports car that achieved great success in motor sports as Redele had hoped. The car is a sports car that has been very successful in motorsports, just as Ledele wanted. It is no exaggeration to say that it was especially fierce in the field of rallying, winning its first World Rally Championship title in 1973, but how many victories, including national and regional championships, has it won? I think it is hard to even imagine.
One of the best examples of the A110 is the Group 4 version, which was developed and marketed for competition. According to the technical data published in foreign magazines at the time, the standard 1600S weighed 820 kg when fully fueled and ready to run, but in the Group 4 version, the weight was further reduced by 50 to 100 kg by reducing the FRP body ply and eliminating interior trim, although the weight may vary depending on the specifications. The engine displacement was increased to 1.8 liters due to a change in rally regulations from 1973, and power was increased to 178ps, 40ps more than the standard 1600S. It is easy to imagine the significant improvement in performance. And it is clear that this contributed greatly to the WRC crown.
At least once or twice, you have seen a photo or video of the Competition A110 with its large flared or ballooning fenders, and your heart has been racing. The Group 4 version of the A110 is the final evolution of the competition sports car that Redele wanted to create, and the most powerful model yet. You can't help but be excited.
|Tomoyuki Shimada's Highlights!|
The car introduced here is a replica of the Group 4 version. It was built by VEC Racing, an Alpine special shop in France, based on a 1970 1600S, and was used as a demo car for various events in the Auvergne region. The result seems to have been highly evaluated even in the field, and it was introduced in the mook book "AUTO PASSION" on the subject of Alpine in several pages. It has been in Japan ever since a prominent Japanese Alpine specialist visited VEC Racing in the mid-1990s to check the actual car and purchased it.
The car has not undergone major specification changes since its arrival in Japan, and although it has undergone minor improvements and occasional maintenance, it seems to have basically remained in the state that VEC Racing has completed it in. The current owner, the second owner in Japan, purchased the car in 2016, and since then it has remained mostly the same as when he purchased it, with the only modifications being the addition of a flywheel cover and the front side of the two fuel tanks, which were not functioning.
As expected of an Alpine specialty store that built this car as its own demo car, the workmanship is indeed superb. The silhouette and lines of the balloon fender body are, of course, undisturbed, but the interior roll bar, competition side brakes, EFA 602 full harness, map lump, HALDA tripmaster, Breguet aircraft timer, and hot-wire windshield all look as if they could go into actual competition. The car was built with the best parts available at the time, some of which are now extremely hard to find and expensive.
Large brake calipers, quick steering rack, reinforced lower wishbones, reinforced Bilstein dampers, 364 gearbox, engine mount stay, competition car reservoir tank, copper radiator, front oil cooler, brake balancer, Group 4 Bucket seats, etc., the list of modifications is endless.
The odometer shows 14375 km, but I am not sure how long it has been running. Currently the hazard lights do not come on and the fuel gauge works and does not work. The lower fog lights do not come on either, but that is because the wiring was already cut when I purchased the car. Conversely, that is the extent of the defects that seem to be defects.
Since purchase, there are some faint scratches around the front and on the fenders from bouncing stones, some non-serious deterioration on the front and rear weather strips, and some very light FRP body cracks in the paint on the front bumper, but the appearance of the car doesn't feel fatigued and overall looks neat. The interior and engine compartment are in very clean condition. The engine "probably stock" seemed to be in good shape, as did the idling sound coming from the Devil exhaust note, and there was no sign of a bad mood.
The owner said, "I have hardly driven the car for the past six years, except for occasional trips to the mountain passes for fun. But it is very fast, partly because it is lightweight." Recently, he has been riding more and more infrequently, and he thought it would be okay to sell it if he had someone who would love it, even though he could keep it.
It's not fully original, but it's designed to run well anyway. The A110 has long since joined the ranks of collectible cars, but here is a car that is perfect for enjoying the speed and fun it has to offer. While it is great to collect and enjoy the powerful styling, I personally feel that it would be better if you could enjoy the lightness, handling, and traction of the car to the fullest, as well as the painstaking performance that makes it a mountain pass fighter.
Originally written by Tomoyuki Shimada
Photo by Junichi Okumura
Published on October 2022
|Year of Purchase||Sep 1996|
|Color||Yellow × White × Red|