The story of the A110 begins with heavily accented Frenchman Jean Rédélé, who started out tinkering with Renault 4CVs for competitive success in the 1950s. Rédélé continued to develop 4CV-based vehicles through the decade, resulting in the first Alpine-badged cars – the A106 and A108. Encouraged, Alpine moved on to manufacturing its own car, inspired by the berlinette-bodied version of the A108 and called, unsurprisingly, the A110. Nimble, light, and propelled by a series of tiny four-cylinder engines the A110 would become an icon of lightweight motoring. But the A110 wasn’t just a B-road princess, finding an incredibly successful home in rallying to the point that it won the first ever World Rally Championship – winning seven of the 13 rounds in 1973 to clinch a dominant title in an era when there was no driver’s championship. Alpine would continue for the next couple of decades, building ever-closer ties to Renault until the French giant took a 70 per cent stake in the company in 1973 to save it from extinction during the fuel crisis. Alpine managed to live on, building such icons as the A310 and GTA, but in the mid-‘90s the name, which had never legally made it to the UK, disappeared, apparently forever.
Today though, Alpine are back, back in the original factory in Dieppe and back with a lightweight sportscar bearing the name A110. The first sparks of life in the old brand appeared in Monaco in 2013, when a concept appeared called the A110-50, celebrating 50 years since the birth of the original. After an aborted partnership with Caterham two more concepts appeared in 2015, previewing the new car we see today. Two years later the new Alpine A110 made its dynamic debut at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.