With the two Monte Carlo Rally victories and a world rally Championship to its credit, the rear engine, polyester, bodied Alpine A 110 is France’s most thoroughly decorated sportscar. Father of the Alpine was Jean Adele, once the youngest Renault dealer in France, who built his first complete sports car, based on the humble Renault 4CV, in 1954. The definitive, back bone chassised A 110 Berlinette appeared in 1962, and was to stay in production until 1977. Competition victories came quickly as drivers learned to make the best of its agility, despite primitive Volkswagen style swing axle suspension, and amazing speed in just 1300 cc, the light weight A 110 could nudge 120 mph. Sales were slow until Adele finally managed to persuade Renault to market his cars in 1967. Soon A 110s were emerging from the small Dieppe factory at twice the rate, and were being built under license in Renault satellite factories all over the world. Spain, Brazil, Mexico and even Bulgaria all built versions of the A110.
With Jean Adele now heading Renault’s competition department, rallying of the A 110 continued full steam ahead, and it was a top level winner until the mid 70s, causing much consternation to big names like Porsche and Ford. The A 110s days should have been numbered when the up market chisel edged 310 Coupe appeared in 1971, but enthusiasts preferred the old car. Renault kept it in production until the end of 1977.