My last post... BEFORE THE LE MANS POSTS START COMING AGAIN!!!!! Because it’s only two more weeks until the biggest, most amazing race of the year is held again. So it’s time to focus a bit on that.
Therefor I keep it simple today and show you a car you all know, the Alpine A310. In a regular GT Pack (which, with it’s wider fenders and bigger rear wing, was somewhat “regular” in the final days of it’s lifecycle, like the red one in the leading picture) edition and a cop car edition. Even that part I covered before. There is a part I didn’t cover yet though and that’s the V8-part of the A310.
Wait, what? Yes. An A310 with a V8. From Gordini. That V8 is a story on it’s own. As that engine was planned for a Formula 1 adventure Jean Rédelé had planned with Amédée Gordini, a name you might remember from posts in the past as well.
All this to get a loan from the French government of about 6 million Francs as Georges Pompidou, Prime Minister of France, had offered just this to a company that would bring an entire French team to the F1-circus. In the end Matra would win that loan and the engine did find it’s way into sports prototypes but without the proper funding Alpine wasn’t ready to develop it properly. And this, in general, is regarded being the reason Alpine was eventually taken over by Renault entirely. Not kidding.
And I applaud Eligor for making a 1/43 diecast of this concept. Not because it’s that pretty but the fact there was never a real 1/1 prototype built of it. Just some drawings. And we do see some design hints for the coming A310 (especially in the rear-department!!!), this all was done in an era the A110 still dominated world rallying!
Design of the A310 V8 Gordini was by Michel Beligond with finishing touches by Yves Legal. Both were given the credits for the 4-banger A310 as well, the revised V6 had been restyled by Robert Opron. The latter you certainly know (DS, SM, CX to name a few), the first two won’t immediately ring a bell. Michel Beligond’s work is well known though, he’s the artist that made these as well:
As said: there never was built a running prototype. I even have issues finding pictures of the mockup that was created in 1968. This is the only picture I found actually:
It’s still surprising to me the initial run of A310s, only 3 years later, “only” got a 1600 cc 4-banger. That V8 never became a customer-car engine. And for using Renault’s newly developed V6 (the infamous PRV V6, developed together with Peugeot and Volvo (hence the “PRV”) wasn’t ready yet in 1971, that would take another 3 years.
And another 2 years to finally get it in the A310: 1976 the slightly redesigned A310 V6 was introduced. And with that redesign and new engine people finally felt it to be somewhat of an alternative to the 911 as sales increased with over 300% in the first full year it was sold!
And that’s it for today. The Gendarmerie’s A310 is a 1/43 Minichamps, the other two are 1/43 as well obviously but made by Eligor. Nice but no where near the quality of the Minichamps. You can buy two Eligors for the price of that Minichamps though. Easily.
As I know some Frenchies have been acquired amongst us I assume I’m not the only French Friday today. Just watch your speed.