With sister company Nissan digging into the depths of its history to revive the old Datsun nameplate, Renault felt a little out in the cold. Well, the constructeur automobile Français, err, French automaker has decided yet again to revive its long lost sports car, the Alpine A110, sort of.
Renault has announced that a 50th anniversary Alpine A110 model will make an appearance at the 2012 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile 2012), which opens on September 29th and runs through October 14th. Keep in mind, Renault once explored this topic before, but axed it in 2009.
The original Alpine A110 debuted in 1961 and lasted through the 1977 model year. It had a rather Porsche-like design and had a number of engines ranging from a 66-horsepower 1,108 cc engine to an impressive 140-horsepower 1,605 cc engine.
There is no word as of yet what engine this retro revival will feature, nor what it will look like. Chances are, however, it will be very similar to the original. Given the fact that Renault also owns a large portion of Nissan, this tribute car will likely bear a few Nissan components.
An actual production model is unlikely, as Renault already features a compact sports car, the Wind, and having two similar cars in an already massive lineup could be harmful. Then there’s the fact that Renault -Nissan’s marketing head said “...for an Alpine to make sense financially, it would have to sell in North America and China.” We haven’t seen a Renault in the U.S. since 1989, so it’s a real stretch for it to ever see production.
There have been rumors afloat that the Alpine would be based off of the Nissan GT-R, but that would be a far different car than the original, which defeats the purpose of a tribute car.
Ultimately, Renault left us pretty much empty handed on details, so we all just have to wait patiently until September. Unless Renault decides to play nice and give us at least a glimpse.
UPDATE 07/01/2012: According to comments made by Renault chief of design, Laurens van den Acker, the French automaker is trying to develop a car that is more similar to the A110Berlinette from the `60s and `70s and that it is trying to do with Alpine what BMW has done with MINI. Now, before you go getting all excited about seeing a production model of the A110 concept, you can scratch that, as Renault wanting a design similar to the `60s and `70s Alpine A110 nixes that possibility.
To add some validity to the reports, Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault’s motorsports department head, was reported saying that they anticipate producing 5,000 to 10,000 Alpines per year. Rumors also point to this limited lineup of sports cars running between €35,000 and €40,000 ($44,000 to $50,000), which makes them relatively attainable.
The final tidbit of info leaked is that Renault is anticipating its release to occur sometime in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no information on whether the new Alpine lineup will be available in the U.S. or not. We are certainly hoping that it does, given what we have seen from the A110 concept.