Archive for alpine a108

Save these other cars

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Desirable machines, Green Tech with tags , , , , , , , on 26/05/2015 by Alexander

Yesterday I linked a beautifully-written article on what cars are worth saving from their ICE. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth having a look because the fundamental premise is saving cars that had crap engines but were otherwise lovely.

And because I’m a bit of an unoriginal simpleton, here are some of my own picks:

Citroen DS

Credit: Boldride

Credit: Boldride

No-one in the automotive world can deny the Citroen DS was revolutionary. Materials, aerodynamics, technology, safety and comfort were all redefined by the iconic French car, but it’s Achilles heel was the engine. There was nothing revolutionary about it, in fact, it was quite the contrary. On release, it had a 1.9l petrol unit, derived from the old Traction Avant, a car from the 1930’s. Subsequent engines introduced electronic injection, but you probably won’t see it written down as part of the huge range of the DS’s groundbreaking innovations.

Such a legend deserves to live on, and a technological advance like electrification would suit it like a glove. How you’d get the complicated hydraulics to work is for boffins, but it can’t be beyond the ken of man.

DeLorean DMC-12

Credit: DeLorean

Credit: DeLorean

A no-brainer. The DeLorean had a 2.8-litre Peugeot V6, which was underpowered for such a heavy car. Solution: a torquey electric motor, that suits its subsequent sci-fi credentials perfectly. Back to the Future, indeed.

And the best thing is, someone’s done it!

Alpine A108/Willys Interlagos
I love old Alpines, so much that I put the A110 in my Dream Garage. This particular Alpine was the type of old car powered by one those tiny engines that are bang-slap on the fine line of being suitable for cars or only good for lawn-mowers. The largest put into one I believe was for the Brazilian version (with the lovely name “Interlagos”, and manufactured by Willys, and pictured above) and had 945cc. And as anyone who has had this sort of car knows, the racket these cars make can be unbearable, making it perfect for EV treatment. You’d reach your destination without your ears bleeding and head pounding from a constant thrum of a noisy engine.

And because the A108 is so small, aerodynamic and light, I reckon it would be rather efficient in its energy consumption.

Volvo 200 series
Because classic cars can’t all be sports cars or legends, here’s an example of a humdrum everyday car made famous for its safety and practicality. According to some motoring journalists, the only reason some models had large six-cylinder engines was to be able to lug so much weight around. So hey presto, there you have the perfect excuse to electrify it.

And that’s just the excuse, there are other good reasons to bring one up more to date. There are its fabulous lines that have aged unbelievably well, its comfort or that wonderful interior. Plus, since it was rather reliable, and always a contender for the Volvo High-Mileage Club, it’s probable that 200 series engines have so many miles on them that the pistons have worn down to nubs and all the wiring is flaky and brittle. So you might as well prepare it for even more miles by transforming it into an EV.

Another of the best reasons I can think of is to stop them being slammed by tastless modders.

I loved doing this. I’ll think I’ll do some more later


Dream Garage #2 – Alpine A110

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/07/2009 by Alexander


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