1955 - Ongoing

Alpine

Alpine Key Features

  • Type of car:  Automotive manufacturer
  • Body type:  Sports cars, racing cars
  • Country of origin:  France
  • Built in:  France
  • Sold in:  Worldwide

Information about Alpine

In the annals of automotive history, few names are as resonant as Alpine. Established in 1955 as the Société des Automobiles Alpine SAS, this French manufacturer of sports cars and racing cars was born out of a passion for motorsport and engineering finesse. Its originator, Jean Rédélé, was not merely a garage proprietor from Dieppe; he was a visionary who achieved his first taste of success with the Renault 4CV in the post-war era. In 1973, Alpine was acquired by Renault, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between the two companies.

From the get-go, Alpine carved out a niche for itself through innovative techniques and exceptional engineering. Utilizing Renault 4CVs, Rédélé won several major events, such as the Mille Miglia and Coupe des Alpes. He then pushed the envelope further by employing lightweight aluminum bodies and specialized five-speed gearboxes. These initial experiments culminated in the creation of the Alpine brand in 1954, inspired by Rédélé’s victories in the Coupe des Alpes. The first car to carry the Alpine nameplate was the A106, designed in partnership with carrosserie Chappe et Gessalin. This initial foray used a glassfibre construction, marking Alpine as one of the pioneers in this field.

As the brand grew, so did its design sophistication. The A108, produced between 1958 and 1963, incorporated the Dauphine Gordini 845 cc engine, which was eventually expanded to 904 cc and later 998 cc. By the 1960s, Alpine had begun making waves internationally, with production of the A108 even extending to Brazil under the name Willys Interlagos Berlineta.

However, it was the A110 Berlinette Tour de France that took the brand to new heights. First introduced in 1962, this car started with a humble 956 cc engine but was eventually equipped with powerful 1800 cc engines that produced 180 bhp. With a competitive weight of just 620 kg, the A110 dominated rally championships throughout the late 60s and early 70s. In 1971, Alpines took the top spots in the Monte Carlo rally, and in 1973, the A110 1800 clinched the World Rally Championship, defeating heavyweights like Porsche, Lancia, and Ford.

By the 1980s, Alpine had moved on to the A310 and subsequently, the Renault Alpine GTA range. This latter series was more advanced, boasting PRV V6 engines and innovative manufacturing techniques, such as the use of high-pressure water jets for precision cuts. Special editions like the GTA Mille Miles and GTA Le Mans were also introduced, enhancing Alpine’s allure as a manufacturer of exclusive sports cars.

However, the early 90s saw a decline for Alpine, and the last car to bear the Alpine name, the A610, rolled off the production line in 1995. After a hiatus of over two decades, Alpine made a comeback in 2017 with the introduction of the new A110, cementing its legacy as a brand synonymous with performance, innovation, and French engineering excellence.

Today, the Alpine business unit stands as a testament to the brand’s enduring appeal and its significant role in the history of motorsports and automotive design. With a past as illustrious as this, Alpine is not just a name; it’s a legend.

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