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Rumormill: Alpine coming back... again... for real

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Rumormill: Alpine coming back... again... for real

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Sep 21st 2010 at 6:27PM

Autocar reports that the suits at Renault are keeping the dream of a true successor to the Alpine alive and well. The pub quotes Laurens van den Acker, the new vice-president of corporate design for Renault, as saying that he believes there's room for an affordable sports car in the company's lineup. There have been several attempts to re-fire the Alpine furnace over the past few years, but each have been cancelled due to various reasons. The 2006 Nepta Concept, pictured above, was one such stillborn attempt.

But Autocar says that a new take on an Alpine is back on the table and that the newest project takes plenty of cues from the A110 Berlinette. The fiberglass-bodied coupe helped make the Alpine name famous with its various rally escapades in the early '70s.

As promising as all of this sounds, van den Acker admits that it's going to be an uphill battle to make a strong enough business case for a low-buck sports car to make anyone else at his company take notice. Still, hoping never hurts, no matter how many times we've been hurt in the past.



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Report: Renault Considering Revival Of Alpine Badge

By Nelson Ireson


September 21st, 2010

The Alpine name is one fondly remembered by vintage sports car enthusiasts. Originally an independent carmaker/coachbuilder using Renault vehicles as its platforms, the Alpine brand was successful in several forms of motorsport, including rally. Now it looks like Renault may be primed to revive the Alpine badge.

The last car sold as an Alpine was the A610, discontinued in 1995, though Renault continued to use the Dieppe factory acquired in the 1973 buyout of Alpine to produce RenaultSport cars like the Clio and Megane. But now it looks like the Alpine name may finally be poised for a comeback.

Renault has previously made several plans for bringing the Alpine name back, but the most recent attempt was foiled by the global credit crunch and car market crash of 2008-9. With things looking like they might once again swing back up in the next few years, the talk of a return to a rear-drive Renault in Alpine guise is building steam once again.

According to the report, the car that would bring the badge back is intended as a close spiritual descendant of the A110 Berlinette, a rear-engined, rear-drive sports car sold in coupe and cabriolet forms. Renault and corporate partner Nissan currently have no rear-engined platforms to work with, so the car may switch to the more modern front-engine design. An alternative, according to the report, would be to tap Daimler's Smart ForTwo platform, which has the desired rear-engine, rear-drive layout.

What will come of the Alpine? Only time will tell. But whatever comes, we don't expect to see them here unless they are grey-market imports. And that's a shame.



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