The engine's positioning in the old Renault Alpine GTA might have been deliciously wrong in theory, hung way out as it was over the rear axle, but we wouldn't have had it any other way. That car, in turbocharged form, and later in A610 form, was the very definition of a sensible supercar. It was fast, fun, lively and wonderfully sleek. Find a good one now and you'll enjoy a thing of beauty.
It evolved from some smaller Alpines that could trace their lineage back to the humble Renault Dauphine, in much the same way that the 911 can trace its roots back to the Beetle. The tiny two-seat Alpine A108 of 1958 was a pretty and well-behaved thing, if rather short of puff, and it set the trend for future Alpines by sporting a lightweight fibreglass body on a steel backbone chassis. The raucous A110 that replaced it was a highly successful rally car, but it was this handsome two-plus-two A310 of 1971 that first really caught the UK enthusiast's imagination.
It was initially propelled by a slightly lacklustre twin-carb 1.6-litre four-pot, but in 1976 it was uprated in body - by Robert Opron, no less - and, most pleasingly, in engine - with the Douvrin PRV 148hp 3.0-litre V6 squeezed in and the top speed increased to a healthier 137mph.
This particular V6 example dates from 1978, and it looks absolutely stunning in white, although as you might expect of a car of this age it has a somewhat limited history. Inside it has engine fire extinguishers, stop watches and timing equipment, so if you like the thrill of a hill-climb, or just want to time your journey home down the A3, this could be the car for you. It comes with a new MOT and a full service too, and if the price now being commanded by those earlier Alpines is anything of a guide (there's an A110
up in our classifieds for £60k at the mo) its asking price of £25,995 is respectable, even if it's not exactly being given away.
Alas, Alpine petered out soon after the GTA/A610, but, two decades on, it's back, revived by Renault and armed with a new and nimble sports car called the A110, which has its engine.........oh, in the middle.
SPECIFICATION - RENAULT ALPINE A310
Engine: 2,664cc, V6
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 150@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 150@3,500rpm
First registered: 1978
Recorded mileage: 55,000miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £25,995
See the original advert here