Alpine Renault A310: red coupe
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 headlights. Being larger, heavier, and no more powerful than its predecessor, the A310 was generally considered underpowered.
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. In 1976, to help flagging sales, the lower-cost A310 SX was presented. This model has a 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp) version of the Renault 16/17’s 1647 cc inline-four and simplified equipment.
In 1976 the A310 was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more powerful and newly developed 90-degree 2664 cc V6 PRV engine, as used in some Renaults, Volvos and Peugeots.
The later V6 received a black plastic rear spoiler as well, useful for keeping the tail planted but somewhat marring the purity of the original’s lines. With 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) 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. Sales did pick up, more than doubling those of the four-cylinder predecessor, but then tapered off as production continued without any updates to make it a serious Porsche competitor in the marketplace.
Sales were predominantly in France, with 781 cars sold in its home market in 1979 (its best year). By 1984 less than five hundred Alpines were sold in France, while Porsche sold about 1600 in spite of industrial strikes in Germany.