Dream Garage #2 – Alpine A110


Unfortunately, this car is famous for something I don’t really give a crap about: it’s competitive pedigree. Most pictures of it always show it with tacky rally headlights and stickers, while I prefer pictures of it as a gorgeous, streamlined berlinetta.

The A110 started off life in 1961, as an offshoot of the A108 coupé, an amazing-looking car in itself and, very unfortunately, so obscure as to be extremely difficult to find good pictures of and nearly impossible to find details of. Which is a pity, since most of the appeal the A110 has can be traced to the A108.

And though the A110 started out life as an Alpine, when production ended in 1983 it was Renault. Not that this made much difference, since it was powered by Renault engines from the beginning, and interestingly, a 66hp or 95hp 1.1l unit, which sounds a bit weedy for a car with racing credentials. But don’t be fooled, it had a host of other engines, that topped out with a 140hp 1.6l engine.

Its reputation was solidified by the subsequent races it took part in, but which are irrelevant to the “why?” of being in this particular dream garage. The main reason is are the looks: that beautiful silhouette and fantastic styling that puts to shame so many current-day aesthetic flops. That’s the easiest part to explain, especially since I think it’s pretty obvious no-one would want and ugly sprog in the midst of the car of their dreams.

I’ve always been a sucker for coupés. Their sleek profile and two-door cosiness seem to be what attract me the most. The A110 is a small and stylish coupé, the likes of which just don’t exist any more, and makes it all a hell of a lot more attractive still. Most coupés are gigantic, family saloon-sized affairs with massive engines. Seems a bit silly that a two-door car wastes as much space as a four-door version. The A110 is just over 4 metres long (the A108 was just 3.7 metres in length!), making it smaller than a modern-day hatchback. And another thing is that there’s been nothing analogous in recent times, a small, sexy coupé with a piddling little engine. Perhaps the closest there was was the Smart Roadster, though I doubt anyone in there right mind would say it’s nicer-looking than the A110.

So all that remains is us to look at the old Alpine in wonder, and wonder if there’ll ever be a worthy heir.

Alpine A110 Gallery


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