Forward Thinking is about looking at tomorrow's modern classic, today.
We're kicking this series off with the retro revival of a 60's icon, the Alpine A110.
Those of us that are more 'experienced' petrolheads may remember the Alpine name. A stunning 'Berlinetta' style coupe released in the 60's was one of Renault's most successful sports cars the A110. Now over 50 years on that arrangement of letters and numbers has come back around...
A Retro Revival
The project initially started back in 2012 as a joint venture between Renault and British sports car experts, Caterham. Unfortunately Caterham pulled out two years into the project, leaving the French manufacturer to carry the A110 to its creation. Renault could have easily pulled the plug there and then and cut their losses but we're so glad they didn't and the risk really has paid off.
There's no denying that this is one revival that demands attention, the new a110 is nothing less than a design masterpiece, those quad headlamps, sloping roofline and curved rear screen are all features from the original Berlinetta that seem to integrate seamlessly into a modern reinvention of the brand.
The designers have really come with me something unlike anything else on the market. It's simply beautiful, unique and most importantly, desirable.
A French Revolution...
Underneath the French cars gorgeous curves you'll find a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Most modern sports car buyers will probably turn their noses up at anything that sports less than six cylinders, but we think its a fitting tribute to the original which top models sported a 1600cc inline four.
To top it off its the same engine that is found in the latest generation of the Renaultsport Megane, a car that has time and time again proved that a balance of weight and power makes a great performance car, not to mention it usually upsets a few of the big players around the Nürburgring...
This engine finds itself mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, no manual options here sadly but despite the lack of manual input the driving experience is no less engaging and makes for a more 'well-rounded' driving experience.
"its the same engine that is found in the latest generation of the Renaultsport Megane, a car that has time and time again proved that a balance of weight and power makes a great performance car."
Everybody loves an underdog
As with any car we look at as a potentially appreciating asset there are a few key things we look for. We explain them all here.
The Alpine name has strong motorsport ties, the original a110 took six WRC victories in its day. Its also very limited numbers, because it doesn't have a 'prestige' badge isn't the most powerful or fastest car you can buy for your money sales haven't gone through the roof for the Alpine. It's thought there are only 600 'base' a110's registered on the road before you get into special editions like the Legende or Tour De Corse models.
Let's also not forget that the core principle of the a110 has never been about top speed, it's about enjoying the drive and using the full range of power on tap without the fear of being catapulted into the nearest ditch. The Alpine's relatively small stature makes it feel nimble and gives the driver the confidence to be able to thread it through tight country lanes, making it a more memorable drive.
We believe it's already heading towards cult status, especially with direct ties to a classic rally hero, it also has a bit of a David vs Goliath battle going on, being its main rival is the mighty Porsche 718, and who doesn't love an underdog eh?
We think the Alpine a110 has future classic written all over it. The legend is reborn.
Images courtesy of AlpineUK