Alpine A 610

Rédaction : Albert Lallement  


The Alpine A610 Turbo, revealed in 1991, was a totally new car, despite using the same basic construction as the previous GTA model.

Despite being recognised as the most advanced of all the Alpine models, it unfortunately arrived too late to help the Dieppe-based manufacturer out of its financial difficulties. The A610, though it had undeniable qualities in terms of both powertrain and styling, failed to meet with the commercial success it was expected to achieve, and was removed from Renault's catalogue in July 1995, marking the end of the Dieppe-based brand after more than three decades.

The most notable differences between the previous GTA and the A610 were the new retractable headlights and side cooling vents in front of the rear wheels.© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Aesthetically, the Alpine A610 is a more refined version of the previous GTA coupé launched in 1984, using the same chassis and the most recent development of its V6 PRV engine. Despite its resemblance to the GTA, the lines of the A610 have been carefully reworked to achieve a better weight distribution. Furthermore, to mark this ultimate Alpine, the historic logo with the A arrow in blue on a white background is back on the radiator grille.

The Alpine A610 had a strange fate, as most of its production was sold in Germany, whereas in France the Porsche 911 was preferred... © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

A high-end GT 

When the new A610 Turbo was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1991, the manufacturer placed all its hopes in this model to revive Alpine's flagging sales. The Le Mans version, which was the latest evolution of the GTA V6 Turbo, had sold just 325 units since its launch in 1990. The French manufacturer was looking to relaunch this range, which had been part of its catalogue since the early 1970s, with a high-end, resolutely sporty model. From the outset, however, Alpine's latest model did not excite die-hard fans of the Dieppe-based brand. Its lines largely replicate those of the previous GTA, just as the latter had already reinterpreted those of the 1970 A310. The rear of the body undeniably mirrored the design and volumes of the GTA, while the front featured the lines of the Alpine GT Turbo designed in 1986 for the North American market, from which it took the retractable headlights. On the outside, the A610 was distinguished by its Azev alloy wheels and the air vents on the sides to cool the brakes and the engine compartment.

Seen from the rear, it is harder to distinguish the Alpine A610 from the GTA due to its considerably limited restyling. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Faithful to the V6 GRP 

The A610 retained the same chassis with a central beam connecting the front and rear assemblies, but its structural rigidity was improved. The multi-tubular subframe and polyester floor used in the front of the GTA was replaced by a heavier, more rigid, metal pressed sheet  assembly and floor. The bodywork and hull were made of composite materials, with reinforced connections to help withstand the extra engine power. To power its latest A610, Alpine continued to rely on the PRV 90° V6, a tried and tested engine developed in partnership with Peugeot, Renault and Volvo in operation since 1974. This engine, with a reputation for robustness and reliability, was equipped with a block built entirely from aluminium, with its cylinder head, combustion chambers and intake ducts redesigned to improve flow. In addition, fuel and ignition were now electronically controlled. Finally, the engine's increased performance (250 bhp for a maximum torque of 35.7 mkg at 2,900 rpm) required the installation of a larger air/air exchanger.

On the inside, the A610 was particularly refined, with the only options available being leather upholstery and a CD player. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R.

Bérex development 

While the design of the Alpine A610 was created by Renault's advanced design department in Rueil-Malmaison, under the direction of Guy Greffier, its technical development was assigned to Bérex (Bureau d'Études et de Recherches EXploratoires) located on the outskirts of Dieppe. Alain Serpaggi, a former racing driver who had distinguished himself behind the wheel of Jean Rédélé's cars, was in charge of all the studies and tuning of this coupé. Le Bérex, part of the Rueil centre, was specifically responsible for mechanical engineering and the dynamics of small production vehicles, with Alpine models accounting for 30% of its activity at the time. By the time the A610 was designed, this structure, managed by Remy Kaiser, had 210 employees. The design office was equipped with state-of-the-art CAD equipment and had direct, permanent access to Renault's Research and Development Centre. The workshop, directed by Richard Bouleau, one of the pillars of Alpine who designed the first Alpine racing prototypes with Bernard Boyer, is used for the production of models and prototypes. Finally, an integrated test centre with several test engine  benches and a roller test bench. The Alpine A610s are all built individually in small, autonomous workshops, where they are assembled from start to finish by the same team of employees.

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The final Opus

The 'Magny-Cours' special series, named after a small village in the  French region ‘Nièvre’ and a major centre of French motor racing, is the last commercially available version of Alpine's last model. Built in just 31 units, it was at the time the final French Grand Touring sports car produced in series. The A610 "Magny-Cours" was presented on 5 June 1992 at the Magny-Cours circuit, during preliminary tests organised by several Formula 1 teams. After the GTA V6 Turbo "Le Mans" launched in 1990, it was the second time that Alpine had selected the name of a French circuit for one of their limited series models. The model was launched in an attempt to revitalise sales at Alpine, where the Dieppe factory was then building just two cars a day. The A610 was fitted with specific features, starting with a pearlescent green body colour and special wheel rims. The interior was particularly well designed, with black leather seats and trim, and a unique numbered plaque on the dashboard bearing the name 'Magny-Cours'.

The latest Alpine A610 is decorated with the "Magny-Cours" name on the two front doors and green "A610 Turbo" lettering on the rear quarter windows. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Composite materials

From the very beginning, the Alpine brand was a pioneer in technological innovation, using composite materials to build the bodywork of its cars. Composite materials are two to three times stronger than steel at the same weight. The body of the Berlinette was already made of polyester resin reinforced with glass fibre, and the A610 made use of this technique by combining it with several other types of material, weighing a total of 240 kg (including 170 kg for the body alone). In addition to the thermosetting laminated polyester elements fixed to the chassis-beam to reinforce the load-bearing structure, the A610 also makes use of polyurethane, a less rigid material that can withstand impacts without deformation, for example used for the front and rear bumpers. The third main composite material used in the construction of the A610 is Lomod A 1220, a recyclable Polyether-Polyester copolymer developed by G.E. Plastics and used for the car's wings.

Composite materials are used to a large extent in the construction of the A610's chassis and bodywork, as well as in the casting of the removable and opening parts and the interior fittings.© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

The Liberty Rally

In 1992, Dominique Pascal, an automobile journalist and Alpine historian, launched a rather crazy project to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. Accompanied by photographer Christian Bedeï and two mechanics to provide assistance, he travelled 7,579 km in an Alpine A610 Turbo along a route through Europe forming the word Liberté. Leaving Paris on 16 October, they arrived in St Petersburg on 27 October after 114 hours of driving. Their journey taking them to Arnhem, Metz, Berlin, Prague, Poznan, Lodz, Bialystok, Kaunas, Riga and Pskov. Crossing the former Communist Bloc countries East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. The practically new car, supplied by the Alpine-Renault Technical Centre run by Norbert Guillo in Boulogne-Billancourt, had the engine prepared to run on fuel of uneven quality, while its suspension was raised to cope with possible dirt roads and snow.

The bodywork of the Alpine A610 "Liberté" was repainted in the colours of the principal countries visited: yellow, orange, light blue, turquoise blue and fuchsia pink. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections

Production figures and pricing

Official figures from the Alpine factory in Dieppe ( production line) show that from 1990 to 1995, 818 units of the Alpine A610 Turbo (Type D 503 05) were built (with only 14 units built in the last year). Of these, 67 were equipped with right-hand drive for the British market. The limited 'Magny-Cours' version involved only 31 numbered units produced in early 1992. The Alpine A610 was also produced in a special 'Albertville 92' version, with two cars produced specially for the Winter Olympics held in France that year, of which Renault was an official partner. For many years, Alpine's sales policy in the GT sports car market was focused on offering a slightly lower price than its competitors, while at the same time offering lower performance. The A610 was sold for 395,000 francs when it was launched, i.e. around 50,000 francs less than a Porsche 911 Carrera 2, while the Magny-Cours was sold for 433,100 francs in 1992.

In six years, only 818 units of the Alpine A610 were produced, against 6,494 units for its predecessor, the GTA V6 and V6 Turbo. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo ©  Renault D.R. / Archives et Collections


In 1994, sixteen years after the victory of Pironi and Jaussaud in the A442B, Alpine returned to the Le Mans 24 Hours on the initiative of Patrick Legeay, a tuner from the town of Le Mans. The Alpine A610, registered as private team, equipped with a lightweight chassis produced in the Dieppe factory. The engine used by Legeay was a 3-litre V6 PRV supercharged by two Garrett T3 turbos, delivering 430 bhp at 6,400 rpm. With its weight reduced to 1,080 kg, the Alpine A610 Biturbo reached a top speed of 320 km/h. The car entered by the Legeay Sports Mécaniques team was driven by three drivers who made their Le Mans debut: Benjamin Roy, Luc Galmard and Jean-Claude Police. The three drivers achieved a very respectable race, finishing 13th overall and 5th in the GT2 category. Encouraged by this result, Legeay returned to the Sarthe the following year, but the A610 Biturbo failed to qualify. It wasn't until 2013 that Alpine's name was back at Le Mans with the Nissan-powered A450 entered by Signatech (which finished 16th in LMP2).

ALPINE A 610 (TYPE D 503 05 DE 1991)

Engine: GRP (Z7X type), 6-cylinder V-type, longitudinal, rear overhang 

 Displacement: 2,975 cm3 

 Bore x stroke: 93 mm x 73 mm 

 Power: 250 bhp at 5,750 rpm 

 Fuel supply: electronic fuel injection and Garrett T3 turbocharger 

 Ignition: Siemens Bendix electronic management system 

 Timing: single overhead camshaft per bank, 2 overhead valves per cylinder 

 Transmission: UN1 type, rear wheel drive, 5-speed gearbox + M.A. 

 Tyres: Michelin MXX, 205/45 ZR 16 (front) and 245/45 ZR 16 (rear) 

 Brakes: Girling ventilated disc brakes (diameter 300 mm) on all 4 wheels 

 Length: 4415 mm 

 Width: 1762 mm 

 Height: 1188 mm 

 Wheelbase: 2340 mm 

 Front track: 1504 mm 

 Rear track: 1470 mm 

 Weight (empty): 1,420 kg

 Maximum speed: 265 km/h

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