This is Renault’s awesome modern-day tribute to one helluva car – the Alpine A110 ‘Berlinette’. Remember it? No? Well, here’s something to refresh your memory - it’s the car that won the first-ever World Rally Championship (WRC) held way back in 1973! The French drew first blood in WRC with this very car, but it would take the Frenchies another 12 years to regain the title, and this time around, it was with Peugeot’s awesome 205 Turbo 16. Equipped with an aluminium Renault 1.6 four-pot, a lightweight fibreglass body and a star line-up of drivers, the A110 ruled the rally circuits till the all-conquering Lancia Stratos came along and outgunned everything else in sight.
Half a century later, here’s the Renault-Alpine A110-50! It’s a tribute in the sense that it represents what the Berlinette meant and stood for. Like the original, it looks fantastic, swoopy and flowing in a manner that the design sensibilities from each era dictate. But looks are secondary here. The bodywork has moved beyond fibreglass and is now fully carbon-fibre, air intakes jut out of the flanks to feed the mid-rear mounted 400 bhp V6 and on the insides, there’s proper race-car equipment.
A six-speed sequential gearbox, a limited slip differential, a race-spec data logger, 21-inch wheels with homologated Michelin rubber and a Sachs suspension setup that’s fully adjustable – truly, this is race car for the road, at least as a concept. Renault has deployed a lot of the Megane Trophy technology in this beast, with near race-spec equipment and running gear. It will be ferociously fast around a track, focussed on the sole task of hammering down ever faster lap times with a high-pitched soundtrack that’s more akin to an angry motorcycle than a car. It might not have the same pedigree, but by itself and as an homage to the original granddaddy, it totally works for us. How about a limited 100 car production run, Renault?