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In the early 1950s, automotive innovator Jean Rédélé developed a modified Renault 4CV, which he drove to class wins in the Mille Miglia and Coupes des Alpes. Rédélé subsequently founded Société des Automobiles Alpine in 1955, furthering ambitions of building his very own car.
Introduced at the Paris auto show in 1962, Rédélé’s Alpine A110 Berlinette featured an attractive fiberglass body, tubular backbone frame, and modified Renault R8 engine. The lightweight and nimble A110 was an instant success in both circuit races and rallies. Relentless development transformed the A110 into one of the most competitive cars of the era, culminating with Alpine winning the 1973 World Rally Championship.
Of the many A110 variants, the car presented here is among the most desirable – a genuine example of the highly evolved 1600 VB model. According to the research of Alpine authority Tim Moores, approximately 800 examples of the 1600 VB were produced between 1969 and 1972, both in standard 1600S and Group 4 specifications.
In addition to its desirable configuration, this car, chassis 16744, has a long and impressive racing career, having been campaigned by French drivers in national events since it was new. The A110’s history can be traced back to March 1970, when it was sold to Christian Debias, who received the car as a wedding gift. The Alpine was immediately upgraded to Group 4 specification and, in February 1971, Debias drove it to a class win at the Rallye de Printemps.
Shortly after, the A110 was sold to Michel Bessac, a well-known Alpine driver, who registered it as 492 LE 81. Between 1971 and 1978, Mr. Bessac entered his red berlinette in numerous French hill climbs and circuit races. This motor sport tradition continued into the 1980s under three subsequent owners: J.C. Delmouly, Rémy Mathieu, and Joel Cazalens. Remarkably, Michel Bessac reacquired his old A110 in 1990 and regularly campaigned it in the Trophéé Fédéral des Circuits, winning the Group F championship in 1997.
Fabrice Deschanel, CEO of Swiss watchmaking company Renaud & Papi, acquired the Alpine from Mr. Bessac in 2009 and completed the restoration that had been started in the late 1990s. Mr. Deschanel then entered the A110 in several leading historic events including the Tour Auto, Gstaad Classic, and the Rallye Neige et Glace. Additionally, Mr. Deschanel and A110 were profiled in the September/November 2011 issue of Mille Milles magazine.
Following a comprehensive gearbox and engine rebuild by a Swiss specialist in 2013, the A110 has been driven sparingly; it is estimated that less than 1,000 km have been added since this work was carried out. More recently, the Alpine was imported to the US and acquired by an American enthusiast with a passion for historic rally cars.
Today, the car presents well in all respects, having been thoroughly and professionally restored for use in leading European historic races. Not only is this Alpine well prepared, its history and provenance have been carefully documented – making it a rarity among A110s. Accompanying the sale is a neatly organized file that includes FFSA technical passports, copies of race reports, and period photos dating back to 1971, as well as a detailed summary of the car’s race record, which notes participation in over 150 events.
Rarely offered for sale in the US, the Alpine A110 represents a tremendous value among exotic European sports cars. Eligible for countless international events and hugely rewarding to drive, these French wonders are the perfect entry into the exclusive world of historic motor sport. Few examples are better suited to the task than the event-proven and historic A110 presented here.
*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.