To be honest, before discovering LaLD my knowledge of cars was woeful. And I like cars! I’ve owned cool cars like a BMW 2002, an XR4Ti, a Jeep Wrangler and a MINI Cooper S. And they were great and tons of fun - well, except the Money-Pit MINI. But thanks to this site and its wonderful contributors, I’ve discovered an entire universe of automobiles of which I was completely ignorant. I’m talking about French cars.

Living in the States, my only exposure to French cars was the occasional Peugeot 504 or...shudder...a Renault Alliance or Fuego. Did I know anything about the A110 or the above A310? Non! But thanks to folks like jobjoris, wanclick and others here I’ve come to appreciate these quirky creatures more and more.

The 4-cylinder, rear-mounted 1800 cc Alpine-Renault A310, built from 1971 to 1984, followed the very successful A110, winner of the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally and World Rally Championship.

This particular A310, driven by Jean-Luc Therier and Michel Vial, took on the Rally Monte Carlo in January 1975...and crashed. There are pictures online of the busted-up vehicle, but they’re copyrighted so I didn’t post them here.


The model is a 1/43 scale Altaya. No opening parts, and no driver; just that glorious blue paint and 37 driving lights up front. Oh, it also sports those pesky triangular screws holding it all together. Normally I can remove them with a precision screwdriver, but these proved particularly tough to unscrew. So off to the barn, where my grinding wheel lives. A few minutes worth of flying sparks and I had myself a new tool!

On the Bay I found some unpainted resin figures representing a driver and navigator. The seller was carreravroom, but beware: although he boasts an awesome collection of racing figures for sale, some of his other offerings are quite NSFW.

Once the figures were primed and painted, I had to fit them in the cockpit. Both figures had their resin butts filed and rasped to super-model proportions just to squeeze them in, and the poor driver lost his feet at the ankles. I lopped off the steering column, then surgically reattached just the top of the wheel to the driver’s hands, which you can see in some of the other shots.

But they fit! On to Monte Carlo for some pre-running!