5 very little known features of the Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 is one of those models with a heart that marks whoever tries them. He already left a mark on his time, but also when he came back to life in modern times he remained faithful to his concept, which is worthy of applause. We tell you 5 freaks that few know about the Alpine A110.

The third of a lineage that started with the A106 and A108, it is the only car of the brand that, for the time being, has been revived in modern times. And his story doesn’t end here: a similarly focused zero-emission sports car has been confirmed in Alpine’s new electric era. Will it be an Alpine A110e?

His characteristic gaze was a long time coming

Although its slender silhouette can be pointed out as one of its identifying elements, the truth is that if there is a feature that characterizes the A110, it is its look. That front with four round headlights is most distinctive, to the point that the designers of the modern version kept it practically intact.

The funny thing is that it is not something that was there from the beginning. When the original went into production, it only had two headlamps and all four were offered as an option. It was not until the year 68 when they were already mounted as standard on the model.

1973, the year of the legend

The Alpine A110 did really well in competition (we’ll explain why in the next point), but 1973 was when it hit the table for good. That was the year in which the World Rally Championship, the WRC, was inaugurated, which the French brand won with authority.

And it is that it occupied the first four positions of the Montercalo Rally, achieving a double in Portugal and many other victories. However, the joy only lasted that course: in 1974 it was superseded by another legend like the Lancia Stratos.

The drop in the rear axle

Yes the four headlights are tremendously representative of the model, as is the particular fall of the wheels of the rear axle that makes it look like the bottom of the wheels is out in any snapshot (except in jumps). What we call ‘camber’ can be neutral, positive or negative, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

In the case of the A110 it is negative, around 2 and 2.5 degrees, which gives it a characteristic image and counts among its pros with a great support in curve, which increased the step by these and gave it a great adherence in the exit of the same. The downside is that if you “oversteer” the accentuated oversteer made it very difficult to regain control.

An extreme setup… but a winner

Negative camber was a pillar of the Alpine’s great rallies performance, but the secret to its success it was in the synergy that it generated with the configuration of the car: it had both the engine and the gearbox behind the rear axle, something very unusual.

And? This made that axle very loaded and basically overloaded, giving it excellent traction, something many of its rivals lacked. Thus, an immediate acceleration at the exit of these was added to the good passage through curves, achieving excellent performance.

Of course, in return it was a really demanding vehicle for the driver, who had to have very good hands to be able to take it to the limit.

A member of a very exclusive family

This curiosity is not so much about the Alpine A110 in particular, but about its position with respect to its brand: the French firm is close to turning 70 years old (a figure that it will reach in 2025) and it is not that much has been lavished on diversify models, since they have only produced eight in their entire history.

Add to this the fact that the A110 occupies two of those positions, since we are counting both its original version and the one that led to its rebirth in 2016. In a nutshell, the sports car has been 25% of the company’s historical product portfolio.

This article was published in Autobild by Mario Herráez.