Prototype Parade No. 286 | Model Cars November 1968 | Drawn and described by Graham Scott
Renault Alpine A110
S INCE the early fifties, it has been said that the French Motor car industry has been content to uphold its honour at Le Mans only in the smaller classes. In fact the `little blue cars' have dominated the bottom end of the entry list.
It started with a partnership between M. Rene Bonnet and M. Charles Deutsch, who formed Automobiles D.B. and were quite successful together with Dyna-Panhard and Monopole.
But by 1957 only D.B. remained and at the end of 1962, M. Bonnet and Deutsch parted, both forming their own firms, neither of which were as successful as D.B. Eventually the large Matra aircraft combine took over Autos. Bonnet, and developed the B.R.M. engined prototypes of 1966-7. M. Deutsch decided to give up racing after Le Mans 1967.
Luckily, to continue the tradition, the firm of Automobiles Alpine entered the fray in 1963 with a prototype of the present production model, the A.110, and built a sports prototype for 1964. Alpine had been founded by M. Jean Redele in 1952 and went into production with an all fibreglass sports car in 1955. Even with this great experience of unity construction, the Dieppe based company decided to build a spaceframe to support the otherwise strong fibreglass body. Only the doors and the removable front and rear panels are unstressed.
From the rather bulbous car of 1964 evolved the longer tailed version drawn, which was raced in 1965, 1966 and 1967 in 1150, 1300 and 1500 cm.3 classes powered by the Gordini twincam 4 cylinder Renault engine. The table shows the results of all Alpines at Le Mans, where the greatest achievement has been to win the Index of Thermal Efficiency twice, in 1964 and 1965. The car I have drawn was the one driven by Jacques Chienisse and Roger de Laganeste in 1967.
Now the experience built up by the smaller French manufacturers is being used well, for France is again emerging into major motor racing; Matra into Formula one, and Alpine into Sports Prototype, the aim being to win at Le Mans. Amedee Gordini, who himself competed at Le Mans seven times, has designed a vee 8 based on the Renault 4 to conform to the new 3 litre limit, and this was lowered into the A.210 chassis for testing, although a new body and chassis has since been designed, numbered A.220.
In the face of stiff opposition from Porsche, and the J. W. Ford G.T.40, Alpine hope to bring off the first French win at Le Mans since Talbot-Darracq in 1950. Eighteen years is a long time but I hope the French national anthem will play for Alpine at Le Mans in 1968.
Specification: Chassis: space frame using round tubing with cast alloy suspension supports, bonded to fibreglass body. Suspension: front and rear: double wishbones, outboard coil spring/damper units, anti-roll bars, outboard brakes (Girling). Wheels: cast disc, front with six holes, rear twelve, centre nut fixing. Engine: Renault Gordini 4 cyl, 2 o.h.c., two twin carbs., Lucas electronics. Gearbox: Porsche 5-speed.
Le Mans 1963
48 A.110 J. Rosinski-C. Heins crashed
49 A.110 R. Richard-P. Frecobaldi clutch
50 A.110 G. Verrier-B. Boyer bearings
46 A.200 R. de Laganeste-J. Morrogh 17th, 1st TE
47 A.200 M. Bianchi-J. Vinatier 25th
54 A.200 H. Grandsire-R. Masson gearbox
59 A.200 T. Zeccoli-P. Vidal 20th, 2nd TE
46 A.210 M. Bianchi-H. Grandsire retired
47 A.210 R. de Laganeste-J. Vinatier retired
50 A.210 P. Vidal-P. Revson engine
51 A.210 R. Masson-G. Verrier engine
44 A.210 J. Chienisse-R. de Laganeste (S-C) 11th, 1st TE
45 A.210 R. Bouharde-G. Verrier 12th, 3rd TE
46 A.210 M. Bianchi-J. Vinatier 13th, 2nd TE
47 A.210 P. Tiovenen-R. Jansson retired
55 A.210 A. de Cortanze-J. F. Piot retired
62 A.210 H. Grandsire-L. Cella 8th, 3rd P, 5th TE
45 A.210 M. Bianchi-J. Vinatier 13th, 6th TE, 9th P
46 A.210 J. Rosinski-H. Grandsire 9th, 5th TE, 6th P
47 A.210 J. C. Andruet-R. Bouharde retired
48 A.210 R. de Laganeste-J. Chienisse (S-C) 12th, 4th TE, 8th P
49 A.210 A. de Cortanze-A. le Guellac (S-C) 10th, 3rd TE, 7th P
55 A.200 J. L. Therier-F. Chevallier (NART) retired
56 A.210 G. Larrouse-P. Depailler retired
58 A.210 P. Vidal-E. Offenstadt retired