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Grand Tourisme Alpine

The GTA project started in 1981 as a successor for the previous model, the A310. B.E.R.E.X – Bureau D’Etudes et de Recherches Exploratoires – based at Dieppe were commissioned to style the new car utilising Renault running gear.

The first prototype was completed in late 1982. The first production Alpine GTA’s were launched in France in February 1984 for the GTA GT Atmo and December 1984 for the Turbo model.

We in Britain had to wait until August 1986 for the first right hand drive versions. Both GT and Turbo models were available from this date.

The Alpine GT cost £19,990.00 when new, extras could be had in the form of turbo wheels for an extra £680 and leather interior for an extra £1,050.

The Alpine Turbo cost £24,960.00 when new, and the extra available was leather interior for £1,050.

These prices increased over the next few years until 1990 when the GT cost £24,500.00 and the Turbo £29,500.00.

Between 1986 and 1990 various modifications and extras became available. Modifications included a sculpted bonnet as opposed to a flat one. Split rear seats that could be folded down to provide extra storage space. The instrument panel changed from orange instrumentation to red. A remote control was added to the radio. Mechanical changes that took place were the widening of the brake discs from 20mm to 22mm. The fuel system was changed to a double pressure relief system and the turbo became water cooled. In 1988 the Turbo model could be had with a catalyst (although only 3 such cars right hand drive cars were produced. Who has these cars now?).

Factory fitted extras that now became available were leather seats in two colours, black and tan, leather centre console, leather dash and leather door trims. ABS became available and also air conditioning.

In 1990 a new model was produced, this was named the Le Mans. This car was fitted with a wide body kit, wider and bigger wheels – 16 x 8J at the front and 17 x 10J at the rear. The wheels were BBS look-alikes. Only 25 right hand drive cars were produced and all were painted “Rouge Imperial”. The cost of this car was £37,500.00. All cars were fitted with ABS.

GT D500 2849cc Twin carbs 160 bhp 0-62mph: 8.0 secs. Top speed 146 mph

TURBO D501 2458cc Turbo Injection 200 bhp 0-62 mph: 7.0 secs. Top speed 155 mph

TURBO D502 2458cc Fitted with CAT Turbo Injection 185 bhp 0-62 mph: 7.5 secs Top speed 147 mph

LE MANS D502A 2458cc Fitted with CAT Turbo Injection 185 bhp 0-62 mph: 7.4 secs Top speed 148 mph

Production figures for each right hand drive model are as follows -

D500 - 212
D501 - 341
D502 - 3
D502A - 26

Other GTA’s worth mentioning, although only available in LHD, are a model made to be sold in Switzerland, this was fitted with full emission controls e.g. a larger CAT, oxygen sensors, a different ECU, all these extras brought the car down to 150 brake for a turbo car.

A model was also made to be sold in America, this car was fitted with larger bumpers, back and front, pop up headlights as per the A610, electrically operated seats, a sunroof, extra emission equipment thus lowering the power output to 150 brake for a turbo car.

And last but not least, the Europa Cup cars, these were prepared as full race cars. These cars were stripped of all trim. A full roll cage was fitted, larger brakes installed, modified suspension, different wheels to enable better cooling and the engine was increased in power to over 300 bhp with a 0-60 time of 3.8 secs. And a top speed of 185 mph.

Andrew Jones