Renault Alpine GTA/A610

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The Renault Alpine GTA and the succeeding A610[1] was a sports coupe automobile produced by the Renault-owned French manufacturer Alpine between late 1984 and 1995. It replaced the slow-selling Alpine A310, with which it shared many features including the layout and engine.[2] The car underwent a substantive redesign in 1991, which is also when the new model name A610 was given.

First generation[edit]

Renault Alpine GTA
Renault Alpine V6 GT Gen3 D500 1984-1991 frontright 2011-04-10 A.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Renault Alpine
Also called
  • Renault Alpine V6 GT
  • Renault Alpine V6 Turbo
  • Renault GTA (UK)
Production November 1984-February 1991
Assembly Dieppe, France
Designer Yves Legal
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2+2, 2-door coupe
Layout RR layout
Powertrain
Engine
Chronology
Predecessor Alpine A310
Successor Alpine A610

It was the first car launched by Alpine under Renault ownership (though Alpine had been affiliated with Renault for many years, with its earlier models using many Renault parts). Longer, wider, and taller, it effectively updated the design of its predecessor, the Alpine A310, updating that car's silhouette with modern design features like body-integrated bumpers and a triangular C-pillar with large rear windshield. Like its predecessor, it used the PRV V6 engine in a rear-engined layout, with extensive use of Polyester plastics and fibreglass for the body panels making it lighter and quicker than rivals such as the Porsche 944. Passenger room increased, making the rear seat more of a useful proposition, while equipment was much more complete and now included items such as power locks.[3] It was one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time, the naturally aspirated version achieved a record 0.28 drag coefficient in its class.[3] Due to its bigger tires and need for more cooling intakes, the Turbo's drag coefficient was a bit higher: 0.30 . The GTA name, used to denote the entire range of this generation, stands for "Grand Tourisme Alpine" but in most markets the car was marketed as the Renault Alpine V6 GT or as the Renault Alpine V6 Turbo.[4] In Great Britain it was sold simply as the Renault GTA,[5] as Sunbeam (and then Chrysler/Talbot) had been using the "Alpine" badge since the 1950s.

1988 Renault GTA Turbo (UK), rear view

Rather than being moulded in a single piece as for the preceding A310, the new Alpine's body was moulded in a large number of small separate panels.[4] This required a major overhaul of the Alpine plant, leaving only the sandblasting machinery intact. The car was also considerably more efficient to manufacture, with the time necessary to build a finished car dropping from 130 to 77 hours - which was still a long time, but acceptable for a small-volume specialty car.[6] The PRV engine in the naturally aspirated model was identical to the version used in the Renault 25, a 2849 cc unit producing 160 PS (158 hp). The small power gain coompensated for the weight increase, up by 92 kg (203 lb). Also available was the more powerful turbocharged model, which used a smaller (2.5 liter) displacement.

The central backbone chassis (with outriggers for side impact protection) was built by Heuliez and then transferred to Dieppe - aside from the body, most of the car was subcontracted to various suppliers.[6] The drivetrain was mounted on a separate subframe, meaning it can be removed in as little as two hours.[7] It was also moved 40 mm (1.6 in) forward (making the rear overhang shorter while nearly all other dimensions increased) compared to the A310, improving somewhat on that car's tailwards weight distribution.[2] The transmission was the same Renault 30-based unit that the A310 had used, with some minor changes and somewhat longer fourth and fifth gears. Those gears were taller yet for the GT Turbo model.[3] At the time of introduction, daily production number amounted to ten cars.[8] This soon dropped considerably, as the somewhat less than prestigious Renault had a hard time in the sports car marketplace. The average production for the six full years of production was just above 1000 per annum, or just above three per day - almost identical to the A310 V6's annual production.

Models[edit]

Renault Alpine Le Mans (1990-1991)

The first model introduced was the naturally aspirated V6 GT (D 500), which entered production in November 1984, although press photos had been released in September 1984.[9] The car was first shown at the 1985 Amsterdam Rai, immediately after which it also went on sale.[10] In July 1985 the Europa Cup model appeared; this limited edition model was intended for a single-make racing championship and 69 cars were built (54 in 1985 and 15 more in 1987).[11] In September 1985 the turbo model (D 501) followed, which increased the power of the PRV unit to 200 PS (147 kW). Sales of the naturally aspirated model were always sluggish, but with the more powerful turbo, things picked up considerably.[7] At the 1986 Birmingham Show the right-hand-drive version was presented and UK sales, as the Renault GTA, commenced.[10]

In early 1987 a catalyzed version appeared, with fifteen less horsepower. This meant that the Turbo could finally be sold in Switzerland, and later in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands when they adopted stricter legislation. The catalyzed model had lower gearing in fourth and fifth gears, in order to somewhat mask its power deficit.[12] In 1988 anti-lock brakes became available.[13] For the 1989 model year the Mille Miles version appeared. With the non-catalyzed engine, this model heralded a re-focus on the Alpine name. The Renault logo was gone from the car, with an alpine logo up front and a large "Alpine" print appearing between the taillights. However, as the name 'Alpine' could not be used in the UK the name Alpine was removed from cars destined for the UK; there was no large print at the back of these cars and a UK specific logo was fitted to the front of the car. The Mille Miles, a limited edition of 100 cars, also featured a special dark red metallic paintjob, polished aluminium wheels, and a large silver-gray triangular stripe with the Alpine "A" across the left side of the front.[13]

In February 1990 the limited edition Le Mans arrived, this car had a more aggressive body kit with polyester wheel arch extensions and a one piece front with smaller headlights. Wheels were 3 piece BBS style produced by ACT, 8x16" front & 10x17" rear. Many of these changes were adopted for the succeeeding A610. The regular V6 GT and V6 Turbo ended production during 1990, while the Le Mans version continued to be produced until February 1991. 325 of these were built in total. Also in 1990, Renault was forced to install the less powerful catalyzed engine in cars destined for the home market, leading to grumbling amongst Alpine enthusiasts about the loss of power (down to 185 PS or 136 kW) while the 25 Turbo saloon actually gained power when it became catalyzed. In response Danielson SA, a famous French tuner, created an upgraded version of the Le Mans with 210 PS (154 kW).

Renault had planned a federalized version of the Alpine V6 Turbo all along, originally for the 1986 model year, but development proceeded slowly.[14] The US model had an emissions cleaned engine with 180 hp (134 kW; 182 PS), bigger bumpers, and flip-up headlamps (photo).[14] Various crash safety improvements were also carried out, and it was planned to install a softer suspension. In 1987, however, Renault withdrew from the US market. Commentators had also expressed concern about AMC dealers being able to handle such an expensive and complicated car.[14] By then 21 pre-series cars had been finished. 12 of these were sold by Alpine directly to specially selected customers at home.

Specifications[edit]

Alpine A610[edit]

Alpine A610
1992 Alpine A610 Turbo 3.0.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Alpine
Production 1991–1995
Assembly Dieppe, France[15]
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2+2, 2-door coupe
Layout RR layout
Powertrain
Engine 2975 cc PRV[16] turbo V6
Chronology
Predecessor Alpine GTA

The successor to the Alpine GTA, the Alpine A610 was a produced by the Renault-owned French manufacturer Alpine from 1991 to 1995. Due to a limited budget at the beginning of the project, its appearance does not differ much from the GTA, and it looks quite similar to the USA GTA with its pop-up headlights. Nonetheless, it is a completely different car, sharing only the windows with the GTA. The basic concepts of all Alpine cars are there (e.g. the rear engine, and the steel backbone chassis that all Alpines since the A110 have had). The car was solely branded as an Alpine, as linking Alpine and Renault together (first as Alpine-Renault then Renault-Alpine) seemed to detract from the Alpine brand's sporty image. The PRV engine remained, but it was enlarged to 3 litres,[17] which enabled it to produce 250 PS (247 bhp; 184 kW) at 5,750 rpm[17] and 350 N⋅m (258 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 2,900 rpm.[18] The engine was originally 2,975 cc (3.0 L; 181.5 cu in), but as with all PRV engines, it was downsized to 2,963 cc (3.0 L; 180.8 cu in) in March 1993 to better fit the Swiss taxation system.

Alpine A610 Magny-Cours

The A610 Albertville 92 was presented in 1991 for the Olympic Games. Two examples, and other Renault cars, were used to drive VIPs, before being sold as occasion. They had a specific color (Gardenia White) and interior, but used the standard engine and technical specifications.

The A610 Magny-Cours was created for the Williams-Renault Formula One victory in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in July 1991. 31 cars were built, with specific color and interior. They carry a "Magny-Cours" legend on the doors and have body-colored rims.

The A610 did not result in an improvement in sales over the commercially disappointing GTA and the car was discontinued in 1995, despite acclaim from the motoring press, and approval from the British car show Top Gear. The A610 was to be the last car to carry the Alpine name until the 2017 release of the new Alpine A110. After production of the A610 ended, the Alpine factory in Dieppe produced the Renault Spider. 818 were built, 68 of which were right-hand-drive. Sales the first two years were acceptable, but from 1993 until production ended in 1995 a mere 80 cars were built.

Specifications[edit]

Model A610 - D 503 05
Engine type PRV 90º V6 Code: Z7X-744
Position Longitudinally mounted, Rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout
Fuel feed Renix Bendix-Siemens fuel injection
Valvetrain SOHC 4 valves per cylinder
Bore X Stroke 93 mm × 73 mm (3.66 in × 2.87 in)
Displacement 2,975 cc (3.0 L; 181.5 cu in) (2,963 cc (3.0 L; 180.8 cu in) since March 1993)
Compression ratio 7.6:1
Max. power 250 PS (247 bhp; 184 kW) @ 5,750 rpm
Max. torque 350 N⋅m (258 lb⋅ft) @ 2,900 rpm
Catalytic converter 3 ways Lambda-sensor
Fuel type RON 95 or 98 unleaded
Aspiration Garrett AiResearch T3 Turbocharger 0.76 bar (11.0 psi)
Gearbox 5 speed manual transmission
Kilometer start-stop 25 to 26 s
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 5.9 s[19] or 5.7 s[20]
Max. speed 265 km/h (165 mph)
Consumption 90 km/h
120 km/h
Town

7.3 l/100 km
9.2 l/100 km
14.7 l/100 km

Fuel tank 80 L (17.6 imp gal; 21.1 US gal)
Aerodynamic Drag coefficient Cx : 0.30 - SCx : 0.54

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://blog.caranddriver.com/renault-alpine-a110-50/
  2. ^ a b Cornaert, Jean-Jacques (1985-01-24). "La renaissance" [The rebirth]. Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (in French). Brussels, Belgium: Editions Auto-Magazine. 36 (813): 13. 
  3. ^ a b c Cornaert, p. 14
  4. ^ a b Barbaza, Pierre (April 1985). "L'usine Alpine: renaissance ou révolution?" [The Alpine works: renaissance or revolution?]. Echappement (in French). Paris, France: Michael Hommell (198): 88. 
  5. ^ Bladon, Stuart (1987-05-07), Observer's Cars 1987, Penguin Books Ltd, p. 144, ISBN 978-0723234593 
  6. ^ a b Barbaza, p. 89
  7. ^ a b Woytal, Bernd (July 2017). "Sportlich & günstig?" [Sporty and cheap?]. Motor Klassik (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motor Presse Stuttgart. p. 129. ISSN 0177-8862. 
  8. ^ Barbaza, p. 90
  9. ^ Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 847. ISBN 88-7212-012-8. 
  10. ^ a b Liszewski, Nicolas. "Alpine V6 Turbo Mille Miles". Le site des amateurs et passionnés des Alpine Renault GTA (in French). Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  11. ^ "Alpine GTA, GTA Europa Cup et A610 (de série - en course)" [street - competition] (in French). Philippe du 77. Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  12. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (5 March 1987). Automobil Revue 1987 (in German and French). 82. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 497. ISBN 3-444-00458-3. 
  13. ^ a b Lhoste, Etienne. "Modèles (Série) > GTA V6 GT & GT Turbo" [Production models] (in French). Avenue de Bréauté. Archived from the original on 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  14. ^ a b c Lovell, Bill (1984-04-08). "Tough Company". Autoweek. Vol. 35 no. 14. Crain Press Inc. pp. 10–12. ISSN 0192-9674. 
  15. ^ https://www.handelsblatt.com/auto/nachrichten/renault-alpine-a610-donnerkeil-aus-dieppe-/6711944.html
  16. ^ http://www.fast-classics.com/cars/renault-alpine-a610-for-sale/
  17. ^ a b http://www.renault.de/renault-welt/unternehmen2/modellgeschichte/25-jahre-alpine-v6-turbo/
  18. ^ https://www.handelsblatt.com/auto/nachrichten/renault-alpine-a610-unter-30-000-euro-fast-nichts-zu-bekommen/6711944-2.html
  19. ^ "1992 Renault Alpine A610". carfolio.com. Retrieved June 17, 2018. 
  20. ^ "1992 Alpine Renault A610 Turbo". automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved June 17, 2018. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Renault Alpine A610/GTA at Wikimedia Commons