A Century of Cars: 31. Solido 1971 Alpine Renault A310
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 reaching
127 PS DIN (93.5 kW/125 hp), thanks to the use of 2 twin barrel 45
DCOE Weber carburetors.
In 1976 the A310 was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more powerful and newly-developed 90 degree 2700 cc V6 PRV engine. As used in up-range Renaults, Volvos and Peugeots this lifted the car into the lower echelons of the sports car league, where the Porsche was a dominant player. The basis of the A310 was a hefty tubular steel backbone chassis, clothed in a tough fiberglass shell. Like the ill-fated De Lorean DMC-12, which used the same PRV powertrain, the engine was mounted longitudinally in the rear, driving forward to the wheels through a manual 5 speed gearbox. With 149 bhp (111 kW) on tap, the A310 PRV V6 was Renault's performance flagship capable of 220 km/h (137 mph) and neck straining acceleration. Despite the tail-heavy weight distribution (like Porsche 911), handling was safe and rewarding.