Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The most unusual Renault produced at the beginning of the ’90s was the A610.
It was a true sports car with a mid-engine and rear-wheel-drive. It was the successor of the 1984 Alpine GTA.
The second generation of the Renault Alpine was named A610. It was built for the track and engineered by the Renault-Sport department in Dieppe. It was not designed or assembled by the mass-market department.
The Alpine A610 was the first Renault to feature pop-up headlights. Its flat hood and raked A-pillars evoked a super-sport vehicle, even though it couldn’t match the performances of a Ferrari. But it was strong enough to make a Porsche driver uncomfortable. The curved roofline and the abrupt slope of the back were part of the design heritage. The plastic bodywork was needed to reduce the car’s weight.
Inside, there were two bucket-seats in the front and another pair in the back. The dashboard featured a square design for the center stack and rounded on top for the instrument cluster. With a rev-counter on the right and the speedometer on the left, it looked different than those found in other mass-produced vehicles.
Despite having two cramped seats in the back, the engineers managed to install a turbocharged V6 engine behind them, in a mid-rear position. It was mated to a 5-speed gearbox. Its performances were similar to other sports cars from the era. The A610 was produced until 1995 and it didn’t have a successor until 2017 when the Alpine A110 was launched.
In 1976, Renault introduced the Alpine A310 at the Geneva Motor Show and aimed at the Porsche 911 customers.
The A310 story began at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show when the independent car manufacturer Alpine unveiled the successor for the A110. In October 1973, due to the first oil crisis, Alpine faced financial troubles. Its customers lost their interest in sports cars due to the gasoline price, leading the small carmaker to the brink of extinction. Renault stepped in and bought 55% of the Dieppe-based company. The new owner decided to upgrade the car. Thus, in 1976, it launched the Renault Alpine A310.
While the 1971 model sported a six-headlamps system, which resembled the Citroen SM Maserati, the 1977 version came with a more formal four-headlamps layout, grouped by two and covered with clear glass. Between them, the carmaker made a slanted panel that wore the Renault badge. On the lower side of the car, the design team placed a slatted grille with a pair of turn signals and parking lights on the outer side. From its profile, the carmaker added a triangular window pointing down. At the same time, the sloped rear windscreen covered the engine compartment.
Inside, Alpine used the vents from a Renault 12 and a flat dashboard. In front of the driver, the instrument panel featured three vital dials: the speedometer, the tachometer, and the oil pressure gauge. Renault pushed four other indicators towards the center stack. Its sport bucket seats with high bolstering prevented their occupants from sliding outside during high-speed cornering maneuvres.
Under the fiber-glass bodywork, the carmaker installed a 2.7-liter V-6 engine developed together with Ford. It was fueled either by two Weber carburetors or via an unusual combination of one single- and one twin-choke Solex carburetor. Power went to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission carried over from the Renault 30, which Renault also replaced in 1980 by a five-speed manual.