Every automotive journalist has a mental list of new models they’d like to see migrate to their home country. For many residing in North America, the Alpine A110 is at the top of the page. We didn’t get the resurrected A110, which is a faithful throwback to the original model that ended production in 1977, and this has left a subset of our staff feeling a little raw.
Alpine has since unveiled a spicier build of the car, throwing some additional salt on our collective butthurt — though we’ll happily acknowledge that probably wasn’t the automaker’s intent. It seems content building a two-seat sports car France can be proud of.
Top Gear presenters Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan narrowly evaded injury when a pre-production Alpine A110 caught fire while the duo participated in last week’s Monte Carlo Rally. Apparently the two had been blasting down stage SS17 when the engine warning light came on. Sometime later, flames were seen beneath the vehicle and the two were advised to pull over immediately.
Fire crews were unable to control the blaze and the car ended up completely obliterated. Alpine and Renault have said they are conducting a full investigation to see what went wrong but are currently attributing the mishap to a “technical incident.” They are also suspending all testing of pre-production models until they can determine the true cause of the fire.
In the immortal words of ex-fighter pilot and Boeing 707 rescuer Ted Striker, “What a pisser.”
The resurrected Alpine A110, which never seemed like it had much of a chance of making it stateside, is officially barred from American driveways. Renault’s retro, mid-engined performance stimulated saliva glands when it debuted last year as a near-match concept car, leading some to dream that a French alternative to Porsche’s Cayman could become a U.S. reality.
The late Charles de Gaulle once said that France has no friends, only interests. Well, France isn’t interested in making this American dream come true.
Tantalizing. Alluring. Desirable. And yet, just out of reach.
We’ve all pined for a vehicle made all the more exotic and lustworthy by its complete unavailability in the country in which we live. It’s the automotive equivalent of that would-be significant other — you know, the one you once shared a fleeting moment with, knowing with bittersweet regret that if circumstances were different, this could be Bogie and Bacall.
In Europe, it was the American pony car. The Mustang, that American icon of big-bore, go-where-the-wind-takes-me freedom, remained nothing but a tease for decades. Until, of course, Ford realized it could cash in.
The Chevrolet El Camino’s death in the late 1980s prompted many truck-car hybrid aficionados’ eyes to turn to Australia, where not one but two utes beckoned from afar. Now, teary eyed Aussies are busy stocking shrimp for that bodystyle’s funeral barbie.
Maybe the object of your affection is a Europe- or Japan-only sports car or hot hatch. You’ve investigated steep import costs and searched classified ads in a vain attempt to snap up an enterprising importer’s cast-off, to no avail. Yet the heart still yearns.