Renault / Alpine A610
In the 60′s and 70′s, French car company Alpine was most famous for is A110 rally car that in 1973 won the first ever World Rally Championship for Renault.
Renault and Alpine had a long history of previous partnerships, Alpine designed and built racing and sportscars that used Renault engines and had basically become their motorsport division. In 1973 Alpine were eventually bought out and Alpines Dieppe based factory then became the base for all future hot Renault/Alpine cars. Subsequently Renault merged Alpine and the recently acquired tuning firm Gordini to form Renault Sport.
The A610 is the last in the line of cars that stem from the original Rally winning A110. Based largely on the previous GTA (1986 -1991) which itself was an evolution of the A310, a rear engined sportscar initially powered by a 1.6 Litre 4 cylinder Renault/Gordini engine and later a V6 PRV. Even though the A610 looks similar to the previous GTA, (mainly because Alpine had a limited development budget at the beginning of the project) only the windows are carried over. The new A610 had a steel backbone chassis with a plastic composite body, the engine, a rear mounted V6 PRV as in the GTA, was enlarged from 2.7 to 3.0 litres and turbocharged resulting in a very healthy 250bhp. When released the French car was considerably quicker than it’s main German rival the 944 and a less expensive match for the 964 911.
Even though reviews of the time were favourable (fast, grippy, excellent benign handling), the A610 failed to sell in large numbers. Only 818 cars were ever built with just 67 of those being Right Hand Drive versions. In the UK the A610 was badged as a Renault due to the confusing matter of the name Alpine being owned and used by Sunbeam on the 1950′s Sunbeam Alpine Mk1.
In 1996 the A610 ceased production and with it the went the Alpine name (although rumours still persist of a forthcoming Renault/Alpine sportscar). The Dieppe factory is pressed into producing the next Renault sportscar, the Spider.
The A610 is reasonably rare in the UK but there are cars for sale, and for around the £8k mark you could pick up a tidy example.
Alpine cars Wiki
Alpine A610 Wikipedia entry
Club Alpine Renault
Evo new Alpine news article
Super Alpine information page