Jean Rédélé took over (Figure 1) in 1946 shortly after the end of World War II at age 24, the Renault workshop of his parents in Dieppe (Normandy). Even more than the serial cars interested him the tuning. First object was the newly appearing Renault 4 CV. He participated very successfully in competitions from 1951.
It did not stop with engine tuning. Prototypes are developed with the help of Italian design and car body manufacturing. 'Superleggera' was there just very timely. There were bodies from lightweight tubular frames coated with aluminum. In the picture you can see the A 106 of 1956. The company was founded a year earlier. The name 'Alpina' pointed to the 'Alpenpokal' recently gained.
There were all pure rear-engine cars except the Formula One racing cars, coming from the slowly enlarging company headed by Rédélé. In the beginning one acted on the assumption of 4 cylinders and 747 cc. The performance is increased by up to 80 percent, albeit with a rated speed too much related to the performance characteristic beyond 6000 rpm.
Pretty much for the good ohv engines from Renault's small cars, especially since their crankshafts were beared only triple as normal in its class in the time. Unusual were the five possible gears of the transmission. The swing axle was maintained for a very long time, but tolerable by hard springs and later the double shock absorbers. In the picture above the A 108 on the basis of the Dauphine, which indeed by far not as good sold as the A 106.
The offer of car bodies including convertible, long and fastback version was by now quite extensive. They remained partially in production, when the legendary A 110 appears in 1963. It was based on the technique of the Renault 8, an already much better basis for engine tuning e.g. by five crankshaft bearings.
The A 110 was the ultimate success of the company and high profile far beyond the borders of France, very supportive by tremendous racing success. It should have been up to more than 80 victories in appropriate competitions annually, including first place finishes at the Rally Monte Carlo 1973 (Fig. 3), the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978, the rally European and World Championships. Meantime, next to the two additional manufacturing facilities in France, was established a foreign license production for example, in Belgium and even in Brazil.
The A 110 ran through several stages of development from the 1000 cc of the R8 up to 1600 cc of the R16. Over time, the performance almost doubled. The speed level remained relatively high, whereas the later 1600S engines tended again to a something more high torque level even at medium speed range.
Striking is the low construction height of the vehicles, the at the cars with short-wheelbase offered not just exuberant space especially for tall passengers. That was something mitigated at the successors A310 und V6GT. But the emerged no longer under the direction of Rédélé. He has sold his shares gradually to Renault. After the expiry of the last model, one produced in the remaining factories sporty Renaults (pictures above).
Those who are particularly interested in the Société des Automobiles Alpine should look at the very detailed Wikipedia dossier this time. 12/13
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