ALPINE, born from the passion of a man, Jean REDELE, for cars and for competition.
Renault dealer since 1946, he started to run with the latest model in 1950: the 4CV.
In 1952 he wins his category in the MILLE MIGLIA with an improved 4CV, which started the ball rolling. The 4CV was modified, and then another body designed by MICHELOTTI was installed on the original base, turning it into the “4CV Spéciale”.
It wasn’t enough, so he entrusted the build of a lighter body onto the base of the 4CV to the Chappe brothers, specialists of a new material – polyester – which was appearing in automobiles in France. The first ALPINE was born in 1955, the A106 referring to the 1060 type of the 4CV, with a fiberglass-reinforced polyester-resin body. The body-platform assembly took place in the workshops of his father-in-law, Monsieur Escoffier, a Renault dealer based in Paris.
In 1959, the A108, its heir, was based on a 4CV platform with a DAUPHINE rear crossbar. J. REDELE launched at the same time the A108 cabriolet with a reinforced chassis – it’s the first stuttering of the backbone chassis!
The specific bodywork of the “A108 sport coupé” that followed was called “Tour de France berlinetta”, with an elongated rear to accommodate the longer engine, with its 5 extra bearings. The design – a rear swingarm-mounted engine – had as many advantages as disadvantages, but it stayed nearly unchanged until 1976 after having shown that in rallies that sophistication wasn’t essential for winning, until a “world championship” in 1973!
However the A110 in 1962 is radically different, with a backbone chassis supporting a Renault front suspension, and at the rear, a tubular frame only supporting a 1’000 cm3 Renault engine, then 1’100 the following year, 1’300 in 1966 and lastly 1’600 in 1969.
In 1972, the rear suspension had reached its limits in transmitting power, so they had to improve again to keep up with the competition, and to increase its clearance on the roads of the world championship that were sometimes quite lumpy.
A suspension of stacked triangles at the rear (as at the front) would bring an improvement.