Donation Spotlight: 1972 Alpine A110

The world of rally cars is a foreign concept to many Americans who are used to wide open highways and high displacement engines, but across Europe, rally races dominated motorsports for much of the 20th century. The races brought spectators within inches of the greatest cars and drivers in the world and made race tracks out of country roads and back streets. Since the golden era of rally racing, there have been many more restrictions placed on both the cars and the fans, leaving only a select few cars built with no limit except the imagination. The Alpine A110 is one of those cars.

The Alpine A110 is a French oddity, produced from 1961 to 1977 in a number of configurations, the most popular being the examples built after 1970. For a while, the cars were produced in Mexico, Bulgaria, and France; they came in street trim or full rally spec. They were a diverse tool and could adapt to nearly any motorsport application owing to their innovative design and robust chassis. Because of this, many streetcars were converted for rally use or just driven in races as-is. From 1970 – 1973 the car came with a 1565 CC engine and was dubbed the 1600S, the group 4 spec car was bored out for a few-hundred extra CC’s making it the 1800. The strait-four Renault engine puts out 138 horsepower as a 1600 and 175 horsepower in group 4 spec and is mated to a 5-speed transmission, good for a top speed of 130 mph – more than enough for Los Angeles freeways.

The model came into public focus with a 1-2-3 finish at the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally. It has since become a staple in the garages of rally connoisseurs alongside other rally greats like the Lancia Stratos and the Ford RS200. A friend of the museum, Rob Kauffman generously donated this particular car. Under his ownership the car was driven the way it was meant to be, participating in rallies such as the Tour Auto Optic 2000, an annual event taking drivers from the heart of Paris to the South of France.

The car recently joined the museum and now resides in the Vault where it can be seen among many other legends of old, including a large collection of cars from “The Porsche Effect.”

By: Jeremy Malcolm