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Alpine A310

In 1971 Alpine was still fully owned and independently run by Jean Redele when it released the A310 at the Geneva show.

It was designed as a replacement for the A110, which was produced until 1977. As an entirely different concept, Alpine felt the need for a more practical and luxurious 2+2 that would appeal to a wider market. Powered by practically the same 1.6 four cylinder Renault 12 Gordini engine (some 120 to 125hp), fuel injection was available in 1974 (140hp). The A310 started life in 1972 on a similar basic design to the A110 Berlinette, in using the backbone chassis construction. The rear suspension is significantly different in that Alpine’s own double wishbone arrangement is employed instead of using Renault parts, which are now only used in the upper front suspension wishbones. The R12 Gordini rack and pinion steering gear and ventilated disc brakes were used and handling was helped by 6½inch wide three stud alloy rims. A 5 speed gearbox from the R12 Gordini is also used. All A310’s were made left hand drive.

Performance is 130 mph, 0-60 in 8 seconds, fuel consumption 20-27 mpg.

Comparisons with the benchmark Porsche 911 were inevitable, but not to Alpine’s favour until 1976 when Alpine was fully owned by Renault, though still presided over by Redele. The 150 bhp V6 2.7L built by Renault in conjunction with Peugeot and Volvo at Douvrin (hence PRV), replaced the four cylinder engine transforming the A310 into a 142 mph super car with 0-60 in about 7 seconds. The four speed gearbox was used from a R30 as the 5 speed was unable to cope with the 150lb/ft of torque. The six headlight arrangement was also dropped in favour of just four to make room for the larger front mounted radiator.

It wasn’t until 1980 that it had a facelift with a five speed gearbox and suspension and four stud wheels as used on the R5 turbo. There were also changes to the bodywork, which were wider wheel arches, larger and softer wraparound type bumpers and slight changes to the interior.

There are three different types of factory built special A310’s. A group IV car built only in 1978 and fitted with a 5 speed gearbox, a GT version built between 1982 and 1985 and a GT fitted with the 2849cc Volvo version of the PRV engine, which had triple 46 IDA Weber’s. This was about 193 bhp and built between 1983 and 1985.

There are a few different “works” competition A310’s. Some of the first were early four cylinder type cars powered by the V6 which had large box type arches on the rear only, and an outrageously shaped Group V car.

Production of the A310 ended in 1985 when Renault wanted to make a right hand drive Alpine but felt the A310 was too dated to upgrade to compete in the marketplace, leaving the A310 as the last true independent design by Alpine. The GTA then took over!

Richard Kimpton