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The Alpine Berlinette Turns 50

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!

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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2 Responses to “The Alpine Berlinette Turns 50”

  1. If only!!! I wish they would put this into production, not so I could own it (that would never be a possibility) but just for the chance to see it! I agree it is the most beautiful car, it has every feature that I feel makes a car beautiful.

    Great post!

    • Geoff says:

      Thanks for your comments Mike.
      The DeZir is indeed, er, DeZir-able, but I’d still go for the original Berlinette. As you rightly say – if only.
      Geoff

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