Alpine A 110 1100

Rédaction : Albert Lallement  


The Alpine A 110 was launched in 1962, and two years later it received the 1100 engine developed for the Renault 8, which turned the Berlinette into the brand's iconic model.

The launch of this new version was accompanied by the withdrawal of the A108 and the 956cc Berlinette Tour de France A110 at the conclusion of the 1965 model year. With this 1100 model, the Alpine A110 became a formidable competitor in international rallies. The arrival of the 1300 engine, also from the Renault 8 Gordini, in spring 1965 further underlined the Berlinette's qualities.

With the 1100 version, the A110 Berlinette became a formidable competitor in competition, as in this case at the 1965 Cognac Trophy where Bruno de Villemandy finished 4th in his category. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

From 1964, the production of Alpine was focused by Jean Rédélé on the A110 range with the five-speed engine of the Renault 8, at the expense of the first Berlinettes combined with three-speed engines coming from the Renault Dauphine. In the following years, he continued to increase the power of this car but retained the features of the chassis and engine that made the car so successful. During this period, the Société des Automobiles Alpine started innovations and the original workshop at the Rue Pasteur in Dieppe gradually developed into a small factory where the A110 Berlinettes were being constructed with less and less manual work.

The body of the new Berlinette A110 1100 is characterized by its pure and sober lines that will make it successful for a decade.© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Rédélé's masterpiece 

With the launch of the first generation of the Tour de France A110 Berlinette at the 1962 Motor Show, equipped with the 956cc engine taken from the Renault 8, Jean Rédélé finally had the elegant and efficient sports car he had been dreaming of for a decade. Although an 1100 engine was already in prospect, one remembered Amédée Gordini's prediction a few years earlier: "Wait a little longer, the Alpine will amaze the world!". Indeed, the A110 will surpass its predecessors A106 and A108 to be remembered as the result of Alpine's creator's oeuvre. The features of this new Berlinette were inspired by Giovanni Michelotti's original design. As the model evolved, the design was modified by the Dieppe factory, led by Jean Rédélé and Roger Prieur. Philippe Charles worked on the front of the car and Serge Zuliani redesigned the tailgate, which had been lengthened by the installation of the R8 engine. In addition, the chrome air vents in front of the rear wheels were replaced by vents above the rear wings. Finally, the fuel filler neck on the left-hand pillar was also removed, allowing the pillars to be slimmed down and the rear windows to be enlarged. All in all, the overall appearance was more restrained and little changed thereafter.

The interior is more sporty than luxurious... On the dashboard, starting from the left, you will find the rev counter, the speedometer, then the water temperature and oil pressure indicators and the ammeter © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

A revolutionary structure

The great originality of the A110 Berlinette lies in the backbone chassis introduced from its predecessor, the A108. This concept, often copied by Alpine's competitors, proved insufficient for any other brand to gain such a dominant position in racing and sports car production. The principle consisted of a self-supporting frame consisting of a large-diameter tubular steel central beam integrated into a glass-fibre reinforced polyester cell. Embedded in the bodywork, the beam thus performs a structural function and provides high rigidity to the assembly. In addition, the central beam allows the steering gear and the various pipes and ducts to pass through, while protecting and insulating them. The resin-reinforced moulding technique, which was almost handmade, did not allow for high production rates, but offered great flexibility in terms of adaptation and transformation. An average of seven moulds were needed to make a Berlinette body, and the total construction of a car required almost 650 hours of work by a team of two mechanics, an electrician and a fitter.

The assembly workshop of the Alpine A110 located in the Dieppe factory. In the background, the laminated polyester bodies ready to be mounted on the chassis-beams . © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

The R8 engine with five bearings 

With the arrival of the Renault 8 in 1962, Alpine had a new five-bearing engine that required modifications to the rear of the Tour de France Berlinette due to its larger size. This four-cylinder "Cléon fonte", with a displacement of 956cc, was so called for its cast-iron block and for its production at Renault's Cléon factory in Normandy. Thanks to the robustness of the new crankshaft, the capacity of the original block could be increased to 1,108 cm3 , 1,255 cm3 and then 1,296 cm3 for the series, by mainly changing the bore. At the same time, Marc Mignotet and Amédée Gordini prepared them for competition with the success we know. The A110 1100 range included a basic "70" model based on the 1 108 cm3 of the Renault 8 Major, producing 66 hp at 6 500 rpm. A "100" version with the R8 Gordini engine with a semi-circular combustion chamber, which produced 95 hp at 6 500 rpm, and also available with an optional 5-speed Claude gearbox. A total of 114 units of this variant were produced between 1965 and 1967.

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Berlinettes abroad

When the Alpine A110 Berlinette was launched in 1963, Jean Rédélé wanted to expand the production of his models through exports. For this purpose, he created the "Alpine Engineering" subsidiary in Geneva, Switzerland, which was in charge of negotiating licensed production contracts abroad. However, the production figures of these "international" Alpines will need to be approximated. The first country to start was Brazil, where 1,500 Alpines were produced until 1966 by Willys Overland do Brazil in Sao Polo, by the name of Interlagos. The largest production was in Spain, where 1,904 cars were manufactured by FASA at the Valladolid plant from 1963 to 1978. In Mexico, from 1964 to 1972, 693 Berlinettes were assembled under the name Dinalpin by the company DINA in Vallejo, a suburb of Mexico City. Finally, from 1967 to 1970, Bulgaralpine built around 100 A110s at the Renault plant in Plovdiv.

The Brazilian Berlinette A110 Interlagos retained the body lines of the A108 and received an elegant chrome headlight surround. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections


As part of the official presentation of the new A110 coupé at the Geneva Motor Show, the Renault-owned Alpine brand was resurrected from its ashes on March 7, 2017. The rebirth of Société des automobiles Alpine SAS was announced on 5 November 2012 by Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault Group, after a 17-year production halt. This second-generation Alpine A110 followed the presentation of the A110-50 Concept Cars at the 2012 Monaco GP, Alpine Celebration at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours and Alpine Vision at the Col de Turini in 2016. In December the same year, a pre-order of 1,955 "First Edition" cars ('as a mark of respect related to the founding date of the brand by Jean Rédélé) was launched and all models were sold within days. Production of the new Alpine A110 "Classique" began in December 2017 at the historic Dieppe location and the car went on sale the following March. The A110 has a 1,798 cm3 inline 4-cylinder turbo engine that develops 252 hp at 6,000 rpm. Since then, several limited series have been offered: Colour Edition in 2020, Légende GT in 2021, Jean Rédélé and Tour de Corse 75 in 2022, while race versions of the A110 Cup, GT4 and Rally were released from 2017 to 2019.

The new generation A110, paying homage to its glorious predecessor that was produced until 1977, was selected "Car of the Year 2017" by Auto Moto magazine. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

A remarkable line

Although the bodywork of the A110 Berlinette was discreetly modified over the years at Alpine's Dieppe factory, Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti was responsible for the principal design lines. Jean Rédélé had previously entrusted him with the design of the A106 and A108 models and of the "Rédélé Spéciale", which formed the basis of Alpine production as a whole and already incorporated the side trim for the rear wheels distinctive to the Berlinette. Giovanni Michelotti, born on 6 October 1921 in Turin, was only 16 when he made his debut at Pininfarina. After two years, he was chief designer! During his career, which ended with his death on 23 January 1980, he designed thousands of car projects, more than 1,200 of which were mass-produced by Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Abarth, Triumph and BMW. This independent and eclectic designer left his mark on the Italian bodywork of the 1950s and 1960s, alongside luminaries such as Bertone, Vignale, Pininfarina and Zagato.

The successful design of the A110 will evolve very little between the version 1100 of 1963 (top) to the ultimate 1800 Group 4 of 1973.. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

The Paris Motor Show of 1964

The presentation of the A110 1100 at the 51st Paris Motor Show at the Porte de Versailles from 1st to 11th October 1964 was an important event in the history of the Berlinette. The engine with 4 cylinders and crankshaft resting on 5 bearings taken from the Renault 8 and the Caravelle will indeed allow numerous developments offering to the A110 a constant rise in power for many years. The new 1100 Berlinette, displayed on the modest stand of the Dieppe brand opposite that of the Régie Renault, was priced at 17,890 Francs for the 66 bhp version and 22,000 Francs for the 95 bhp version derived from the R8 Gordini. The production of this model A110 1100 amounts to 111 examples in 1965 including 58 of the 95 HP version. As a comparison with the Alpine's French sports car competitors equipped with the same 1,108 cm3 Renault engine, we mention the Matra-Bonnet Djet V with 72 bhp at 17,500 Francs and the Djet V "S" with 94 bhp at 23,000 Francs. The Renault 8 was priced at 7,490 Francs for the 50 hp Major version and 11,500 Francs for the 95 hp Gordini version.

The Berlinette A110 1100 is the novelty of the Alpine stand at the 1964 Show. Pictured here in front of the GT4 cabriolet and coach (left) and the F3 single seater (right).© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections


Marc Mignotet, born on 5 March 1910, was for more than 20 years the official preparator of the engines of Alpine cars, especially those taking part in races. In 1945, after working for several manufacturers for several years, this excellent mechanic established his workshop in Gennevilliers. He gained his reputation by preparing Renault 4CVs for private drivers, including engineer André-Georges Claude, who designed a five-speed gearbox for the 4CV. One of Claude's clients was none other than Jean Rédélé, who immediately saw in Mignotet the valuable preparator he lacked when he was studying his first prototypes. As early as 1964, Mignotet was working on the 956cc engine of the first A10s, which he then increased to 1,108cc and then to 1,296cc. During their fruitful collaboration, which lasted until Alpine's official withdrawal from rallying in 1974, most of the engine versions used in competition passed through his hands. Marc Mignotet ceased his activities in 1985 and died on 23 December 2006.

ALPINE A 110 1100 (TYPE 1100 VA 70 FROM 1965)

Engine:  type 688, 4 cylinders in line, longitudinal, rear overhang 

• Displacement: 1,108 cm3 

• Bore x stroke: 70 mm x 72 mm 

• Power: 66 hp at 6,500 rpm 

• Fuel supply: Solex 40 horizontal carburettor 

 Ignition: battery, coil and distributor 

• Timing: side camshaft, 2 overhead valves per cylinder 

• Transmission: Type 330, rear wheel drive, 4 speed gearbox + M.A. 

• Tyres: Kléber 145 or 155 x 380 (front and rear) 

• Brakes: hydraulic, Lockheed discs on all 4 wheels 

• Length: 3850 mm 

• Width: 1460 mm 

• Height: 1130 mm 

• Wheelbase: 2100 mm 

• Front track: 1250 mm 

• Rear track: 1220 mm 

• Weight (empty) : 570 kg 

• Maximum speed: 175 km/h

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