Classic Cars

Alpine A106 (1955-61)

September 28, 2011

Alpine A106 1957The Alpine A106 was the brainchild of a motoring enthusiast, Jean Rédelé. Rédelé was quite succesful racing driver, but his dream was to design a small French sports model using production parts. Rédéle bought a Renault 4CV in 1952 to compete in rally. However, the car was heavy and not sufficiently aerodynamic. After a few inconclusive attempts, Rédelé teamed up with the Chappe brothers, coachbuilders in Saint-Maur outside Paris. The brothers were already experts in plastic technologies. In 1955 their partnership produced the Alpine A106, an attractive car with a polyester body built on a 4CV platform.

In 1955, Renault officially joined forces with Alpine. The aim was to mass produce the Alpine racing car. The craftsmen from Alpine were responsible for assembly and bodywork, while Renault plants produced the chassis, engine and other production parts. In September 1955, the first 3 models in red, white and blue were presented to the press and to the President and CEO, Pierre Dreyfus, on the forecourt of the Renault Billancourt plant.

The A106 engines were fitted in Alpine’s legendary workshop at 13 rue Forest in the 18th district of Paris. The engine existed in 2 versions: 21 and 38 hp. Buyers also had a choice between 2 gearboxes: the original 3-speed gearbox and a new 5-speed version that cost as much as the 4CV car. Despite its price, this “full option” quickly won the favors of users. The A106 was continually improved during the 6 years of production. In 1956, small round indicators were mounted at the front. In 1957, the Frégate windscreen was replaced by a specially designed part. The bodywork also underwent frequent face lifts over the years.