These Alpines Are French National Treasures
Owner: Jean-Pascal & Eric
Year, Make, and Model: 1971 Alpine A110 & 1976 Alpine A310
Location: southwest of Paris, France
Photographer: Antony Villain
The Vallée de Chevreuse, southwest of Paris, is a green and peaceful area full of forests and open country, crossed by roads that become regional classic car enthusiasts’ favorite playgrounds on weekends.
We are three friends fond of Alpines: Jean-Pascal and his fully restored (by him!) Alpine A110, Eric and his A310 4 cylinders recently released from prototyping workshops, and of course Antony, our talented photographer who accompanied us to shoot.
The drive began with Les 17 tournants, the “17 turns”, one of the highlights of the Tour de France. This ongoing series of tight corners suit our cars, due to their lightness and agility, and immediately provided real driving pleasure. Good start!
The charismatic French Ferrari importer, Charles Pozzi, stated during the test of the 275 GTB/4 in Sport Auto, “In Paris, it breathes deeply, in the Vallée de Chevreuse it takes the 17 turns of Dampierre like an Alpine 1300…” (Sport-Auto Magazine issue 82 of November 1968).
The road running down to Dampierre is particularly suited for the A110 Berlinette World Rally Champion (1973) but also for the iconic A310 4-cylinder of the early ‘70s with its taut lines and characteristic six front lights.
Very agile, these Alpines are a treat to drive without electronics on board that might dilute the sensations. We cross Dampierre and continue our way to the Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay. A very nice French place, indeed.
The beautiful autumn day offered a unique set of colors, while the blue Alpine bodywork played subtly with the hot ambient light of the gorgeous afternoon.
We continued our journey up to Auffargis where our two cars had a break in this typical small town of the Valley. Some kids and other cars also stopped for a few pictures!
On the way back, we couldn’t miss stopping at the Château de Dampierre, one of numerous historical buildings in the area. This castle from the end of the seventeenth century is not surprised to welcome these two sports cars, as in 2013 it welcomed the start of the first stage of the Tour Auto!
Our drive came full circle when we returned, at a good pace, to the 17 turns, uphill this time. And along the way, we passed an Alpine GTA V6 Turbo, the third generation Alpine, from the ‘80s-90s.
I bought this car in 1988, and it was my very first car. I was 21. It is a 1300 from 1971, with a Gordini engine. I wanted to own a A110 Berlinette since I was a teenager, because I was very impressed by the Alpine: small but strong, especially with its rally heritage.
I drove this car for a few years as a used car. It wasn’t bad but also not very good. Then I fully restored it, over nine years (!) from 1995 to 2004. I have taken everything apart: the body, chassis, engine, gearbox, electrical harnesses… and everything has been restored or changed.
This car is exactly what I like: a small, high-revving engine, weber carburetors, devil exhaust, all the chrome from the first period, Gotti wheels, and blue paint. It even has the original sunvisors and “caravelle 33” wipers.
It’s really a nice car! I love it.
In July 1976 I saw the A310 for the first time on the front page of the March 11th 1971 Auto Journal magazine in my great uncle’s book collection. He was a car enthusiast and I remember spending long moments reading with him during summer vacations. I was eleven-years-old and dreamed of becoming an automotive designer. I have always kept remembered this pure and futuristic Alpine revealed by Jean Rédélé in front of the Dieppe plant…
Thirty-six years later, a coincidence led me to buy a vintage car and, of course, the idea of the A310 instantly grabbed me! My son started looking for on his own and we found one of the last 386 four cylinders VG Type, produced in… June ’76: full circle all those years later!
The engine and chassis were right but the car had been repainted in red, and the interior was also in poor condition. I couldn’t start a restoration by myself, and so I entrusted it to specialists to bring it back to the original condition in a purely aesthetic manner.
My “new” A310 was ready by the end of 2012. Since then, I regularly drive it on surrounding roads but also much beyond!
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