Rumors of a revival of the famed Alpine-Renault brand are hardly new, but new comments from Renault officials suggest such a rebirth – even if only in concept form – is increasingly possible.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the debut of the A110 Berlinette, the slinky sports coupe that dominated rallies in the late 1960s-early 1970s, and essentially became known as the quintessential Alpine. In a recent interview with British magazine Autocar, Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker notes “it would be remiss not to do something,” and vaguely suggests that a conceptual homage may be in the pipeline.
If so, it could certainly excite Alpine and sports car fans around the world – but could such a vehicle actually find its way into series production? We’ve heard some scuttlebutt that the Renault-Daimler-Nissan partnership may spawn a shared small sports car platform that could serve as an Alpine. That seems to fit with previous comments from Renault officials, who were open to the idea of a shared platform, but felt something like Nissan’s 370Z was too heavy and expensive for the purpose.
Renault marketing chief Steve Norman told Autocar his company knows what to do for a production Alpine, but noted in order to make a shred of fiscal sense, such a vehicle would also have to be sold in China and North America. If that comes to fruit, it would be one of the first new Renaults sold in our market in decades, and the first Alpine model to legitimately be imported to the country by the automaker. Renault once planned to export the Alpine-Renault GTA to the U.S. in the late 1980s (a prototype graced the cover of the September 1987 issue of Automobile), but ultimately scrapped the plan.
Regardless, we hope Renault capitalizes on the A110’s anniversary to relaunch one of its most historic nameplates – and, for that matter, we hope the result is something a little more interesting than the revived Gordini line. Might we suggest something as sexy as the recent DeZir concept?