Tag Archive | "alpine"

The Return Of A Legend – Possibly


As we head inexorably toward the dubious delights of a Christmas identical to every other Christmas in every way, it is nice to think back to balmy June when we here at Motor Blogger brought you news of something completely different – the Renault DeZir. This was a superb concept car shown at  the Paris Motor Show that harked back to the days of the iconic Renault Alpine A110 – arguably the most beautiful sports car ever. That’s it in the picture, leading the concept.

Thanks to the links between Caterham and Renault in Formula One, we might, just might, see a couple of new sports cars that hark back to that glorious past. Legendary designer Mike Gascoyne has joined the Caterham team and moves are afoot for the two companies to collaborate equally on this project.

The cars are likely to be built at Renault’s facility in Dieppe utilising the other company’s expertise. Anyone who has ever driven a two-seater built by Caterham will know what to expect. A spokesman has revealed details of the creation of a (modern) sports car with the DNA of the original Alpine A110.

The new company – officially called ‘Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham’ will first produce a sports car built on an alloy chassis, the design of which will hopefully hark back to those golden days. Apparently Caterham will design the soft top and Renault the coupé .

No news yet as to where the engine will sit – either at the back or amidships but ‘rear-drive’ is spoken of in hushed tones. Power will no doubt come from engines out of the Renaultsport stable, possibly a 1.6 litre turbo at some advanced state of tune. As you might expect, the companies remain tight-lipped about details, thus maintaining the mystery whilst issuing teasing morsels of information.

Fans of the Caterham Seven need have no fear. This isn’t a replacement for the stripped down road-racer. The all important price-point has been a subject of conjecture but the word is that, in these financial hard times, the car will be very competitive priced.

Isn’t it great that in a world of Euro-boxes there are still manufacturers who are willing to take a punt on something different. If the new car is priced at under forty thousand pounds, drives like a Seven and looks even a bit like the Alpine then the companies will sell every one they can make, recession notwithstanding. 2015/6 is spoken of – do an inventory of surplus body parts and start saving now.

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The Alpine Berlinette Turns 50


Some cars are just so gorgeous, so iconic, that you can scarcely breathe in their presence. The Alpine A110, popularly known as the Berlinette, is a French sports car built, unsurprisingly, by Alpine and powered by Renault engines. It was made from 1961 to 1977 in various versions and in this writers humble opinion is the best looking sporting car ever – and I don’t say that lightly.

The car was once famous for beating all-comers in rally sport, initially with the famous Gordini engines which developed – wait for it – 95bhp at 6500rpm. The car reached international fame during the 1970-1972 seasons when it participated in the newly created International Manufacturers Championship, winning several events around Europe and being considered one of the strongest rally cars of its time. In the hands of the brilliant Ove Andersson it won the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally. Sadly, by 1974, it was starting to show its age and, although the company tried substituting new fangled fuel injection instead of Weber carburation, no extra power could be gained and the car had to give best to the mighty and infamous Lancia Stratos.

In honour of its noble heritage, designers at Renault have come up with the concept Renault Alpine A 110-50, dedicated to performance and driving enjoyment. That’s it in the snap. If you compare it with the original cars (look for pictures on the web and be in awe) you’ll see all the design cues from 50 years ago shining through. They’ve built the new car out of carbon fibre and painted it in a new shade of blue which refreshes and reinterprets the famous original ‘Alpine Blue’.

The Renault designers of this modern beauty have ‘reinterpreted’ (that’s designer language for ‘sort of copied’) the styling but, for future reference, have also included the new design ‘language’ first introduced in 2010 in the DeZir concept at the Paris Motor Show. The front end of the DeZir is expected to be pretty much be the face of future Renaults and you can see it clearly in the Concept Alpine.

Inside, the Concept Alpine has a steering wheel, designed in-house, incorporating a colour screen and including the same technology as a Formula Renault 3.5L single-seater to provide drivers with all the information they need. But it’s not all for show. The efficiency of the new car is largely generated by ground effect created by a hidden splitter in the front bumper which generates significant down force. Add to this a 3.5L engine driving the rear wheels through a six speed semi-automatic box and you’ve got a true sports car worthy of the name of its illustrious predecessor. If only they’d actually produce it! Va Va Voom!

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