Monday 18 January 2016
The Alpine A310 is a sports car built by French manufacturer Alpine, from 1971 to 1984.
Dieppe-based Alpine, once an independent company specialising in faster Renaults, later a Renault subsidiary, established a fine competition history with the Alpine A110 winning the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally and World Rally Championship. The successor was the Alpine A310, initially powered by tuned 17TS/Gordini four-cylinder engine, still rear-mounted. The maximum power reaches 127 PS (93 kW; 125 hp), thanks to the use of two twin-barrel 45 DCOE Weber carburetors.
The first model of the A310, built 1971-1976, was a car with a four-cylinder engine and six frontlights. In 1976 the A310 was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more powerful and newly developed 90-degree 2,664 cc V6 PRV engine, as used in some Renaults, Volvos and Peugeots. The car was first shown at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. The prototype A310 had louvres across the rear windscreen; these were not carried over to the production model. Early models had a NACA duct mounted near the window atop the left front fender, later four-cylinder cars received two, mounted closer to the front of the car. The A310 was labor intensive, having been developed for small-scale artisanal production - a car took 130 hours to build from start to finish. The front axle also came in for some criticism, although in 1974 the balljoint mountings were replaced by rubber/steel bushings (silent-blocs) which somewhat improved the longevity. While many bits of the A310 came from the Renault parts shelf as expected, others are more surprising - the steering rack is from the Peugeot 504, while the turn signals are Simca 1301 units.
The basis of the A310 was a hefty tubular steel backbone chassis, clothed in a fiberglass shell. As for the previous A110 the entire body was molded in a single piece. Like the ill-fated De Lorean DMC-12, which used the same PRV powertrain, the engine was mounted longitudinally in the rear, driving forward to the wheels through a manual five-speed gearbox. The driving position was low and sporty, although the front wheelwells encroached on the occupants' feet, pointing them towards the centre of the car. The later V6 received a black plastic rear spoiler as well, useful for keeping the tail planted but somewhat marring to purity of the original's lines. With 150 PS (110 kW) on tap, the A310 PRV V6 was Renault's performance flagship capable of 220 km/h (137 mph) and acceptable acceleration. The tail-heavy weight distribution gave handling characteristics similar to the contemporary Porsche 911. Beginning with model year 1981 (in late 1980), the rear suspension was shared with the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo. Rather than the previous three-lug wheels, the A310 also received the alloys used for the 5 Turbo, albeit without the painted elements.
In the later models (1983-1984) of the A310 a "Pack GT" which was inspired from the Group 4 A310 racing cars would be developed, it gained wheel arches and larger spoilers front and rear. A few Alpine A310 V6 Pack GT Kit Boulogne were built (27 examples), here the PRV V6 was bored out to 2.9 litres and was then further modified by Alpine, fitted with triple Weber 42DCNF carburetors that pushed power to 193 PS (142 kW).
- engine: V6
- capacity: 2664 cc
- horsepower: 150 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 200 km/h