THE RENAULT ALPINE A110 1600 S GR 4
Alpine founder Jean Rédélé was very keen to ensure his cars enjoyed great success in competition, with the A110 being the most iconic model they would produce. As all A110 bodies were constructed of fibreglass, they were fantastically light competition cars. Furthermore, the Works cars received an even lighter body, and standard trim items were replaced with plastic components such as the faux bumpers, front and rear. Additional improvements for the Works cars included a reinforced front chassis along with underbody protection. Even the air intake was moved to avoid snow or mud accumulations. Finally, a centrally mounted aviation fuel tank, larger brakes and wheels, front-mounted oil cooler, and larger oil filter completed the factory upgrades.
This Berlinette was assembled by the factory’s competition department in 1970. Production records (which appear on file) indicate that serial number 16610 was assigned to the factory’s competition department on November 25, 1969. Its body number was then 2606.
The archives of the sales department indicate that the car was delivered only six months later, in June 1970.
It should be noted that the body was supplied to the racing department already painted but without the front axle nor the engine / transmission, those were mounted later on by the mechanics of the competition department.
16610 was therefore completed in October 1970 and registered on the 15th of the same month with registration number 7850 GS 76.
Equipped with a “small chassis” (the “large chassis” having appeared in the same period, but on competition cars intended for dirt roads), 16610 was indeed an “asphalt” car and will be first entered at the 1970 Tour de Corse.
Chassis 16610 with body 2606 would participate in three events of the World Rally Championship:
7th and 8th November 1971 – Tour de Corse – N°8 – Vinatier / Murac – 5th
28th and 29th November 1971 – Criterium des Cévennes – N°76 – De Cortanze / Roure – 12th
December 1970 – Essais Monte Carlo – Andersson
The second life of 16610
After this last event at Monte-Carlo with Ove Andersson, 16610 was then returned to the Used Vehicles department of Alpine, on December 21, 1970, for reconditioning in anticipation of its sale to private clients (as evidenced in the dossier).
Jean Rédélé wanted his race cars to run only two or three events before offering them for sale to private drivers. This would allow him to regularly get new cars for his official factory drivers, and to announce as propaganda that private drivers could have exactly the same cars as factory drivers. Thus, a tight-flow supply chain had been settled between the factory and the private teams.
For some unknown reason, the Used Vehicle department removed the chassis plates (diamond-shaped) from used competition cars and attached them to their respective registration documents. Only the oval plates (bearing the body number) remained on the car. As soon as a customer went to the Rédélé dealership or the sales department to buy a reconditioned racing car, he was offered the cars that were refurbished and ready for sale. At that time a registration document was assigned to the car and the diamond plate installed. This resulted in a very large mix of registration documents, chassis plates and cars.
Thus, the registration document and the chassis plate (diamond-shaped) of 16610 left the Alpine body number 2606, to be on the Alpine bodywork 2610.
This body number 2610, according to the production archives (evidenced in the history file) corresponds to the Alpine chassis 16665 which was assigned to the competition department. This one did not run, so in all likelihood it was a mule. Probably in very good condition, this mule was preferred to the factory body (2606) which had made in just one month the Tour de Corse and the Rally des Cévennes. As a matter of fact, the customer who took delivery of 16610 was not a nobody: It was Jacques Henry, already the best private driver in Alpine who expected to fight for the 1971 title of the French championship. He therefore most likely needed a fresh car!
The diamond chassis plate 16610 finally ended up with body 2610, as it still stands to this day.
16610 with its current body 2610 did the following races during the 1971 season:
20th 21st February 1971 – Neige et Glace – N°19 – Henry / Grobot – 6th
4th to 7th March 1971 – Rallye Lyon Charbonnières – N°19 – Henry / Grobot – 5th
4th April 1971 – Critérium de Touraine – Henry – 4th
25th April 1971 – Tour de l’Aisne – N°6 – Henry / Grobot – 3rd
1st and 2nd May 1971 – C/C des Monts du Jura – Henry – 4th
8th and 9th May 1971 – Critérium Alpin – N°7 – Henry / Grobot – 1st
16th May 1971 – Ronde du Vercors Vivarais – N°9 – Henry – 2nd
29th and 30th May 1971 – C/C du Mont Revard – Henry – 4th
13th June 1971 – Hill climb de Cruseille de Salève – Henry – 22nd
20th June 1971 – Rallye de Genève – N°20 – Henry / Grobot – 2nd
18th and 19th September 1971 – Hill Climb de la Faucille – N°23 – Dolibeau – 19th
9th and 10th October 1971 – Rallye de Franche Comté – N°21 – Dolibeau – 23rd
1972 – Hill climb de Bourbach – Dolibeau
Jacques Henry parted with 16610 in the middle of the 1971 season and it was Roland Dolibeau from Besançon who acquired the car to end up the season. The car was then sold to Switzerland at an unknown date. It was part of an important collection before being bought by another great Swiss collector, Peter Müller who kept for many years until just recently.
16610 is mechanically ready to go and has been the subject of a thorough mechanical restoration and preparation in recent years.
Accompanied with a Monte Carlo gearbox, a set of wheels and additional miscellaneous parts, 16610 is an ideal candidate for events such as the Tour Auto.
Please note that this car is sold on a bill of sale.
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