Classic Sports Cars

Alpine A110 Berlinette (1963-77)

July 3, 2012

Alpine A110 Berlinette_01The Alpine A110 Berlinette was unveiled at the 1962 Paris Motor Show. The car had been developed from the Alpine A108, but was more stylish and more dynamic, with an even lower engine cover, a larger glazed area and the rear lights from the Renault 8. The engine was borrowed from the Renault 8. Marc Mignotet developed numerous versions of the Renault 8 engine, with capacities of 956cc, 1108cc, 1255cc and 1296cc. Under the leadership of Amédée Gordini, the 1108cc unit of the Renault 8 reached a power output of 95hp thanks to a dual carburettor. Subsequently, the engine bay housed the 1289cc engine from the Renault 12TS, then the 1470cc, 1565cc and 1647cc units from the Renault 16, and the 1605cc from the Renault 17.

The new engine demanded changes to the air intakes. With the radiator mounted at the rear, cooling exits were opened in the resin bodywork behind the rear wheel arches, disguised with four chrome strips. The changes served only to heighten the elegance of the A110 Berlinette. The restrained, balanced silhouette maintained its extremely pure lines.  It was a bit tricky to get behind the steering wheel. You didn’t climb aboard an Alpine, you needed to slide into it. But once you were behind the wheel, the connection with the car was immediate.

Behind the leather-trimmed steering wheel, the comprehensively-equipped dashboard featured a speedometer and rev-counter. Depending on the version, it could also include gauges for oil pressure, water temperature, an ammeter and a clock. A long list of options were offered for the A110, including additional lights, a large fuel tank, alloy wheels and bucket seats.

Alpine A110 was designed to win rallies. Agility and traction were particular strong points of the car, thanks to the mid-rear position engine. MR layout made the car to easily oversteer, but that could be controlled using the steering and throttle. Those who drove the car often suggested that it holded the road better when cornering than it managed in a straight line.

6892 cars were manufactured at the Alpine’s factory in Dieppe, France, before the production ended in 1977. Production got its peak in 1971 when 1024 cars rolled off the assembly line. The Alpine A110 Berlinette was also produced in small quantities in Brazil, Mexico (around 300 cars), Bulgaria (approximately 200) and Spain, at the FASA plant (approximately 1,500). In total, over 7500 Alpine A110 Berlinette models were manufactured.