Big things with little cars

French Friday: Nommée à l'origine M66

Most of you might know my love for Alpine. Some of you may even know my favorite Alpine racer to be the M63. But I still haven’t found one. Luckily my good pal and dear friend Jonee send me a package for X-mas that consisted of something that could ease the pain a bit. Or rather: A lot! The Alpine A210.

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And at first Alpine planned on giving it the name M66, in which the 66 was for the edition of Le Mans it was meant for: 1966. And it would prove to be one of the last successful ones for Alpine.

As in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alpine made a 1-2-3 in the energy efficiency index, with speeds of up to 270 kph. Using a 1.3-litre engine!

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For that Alpine developed a aerodynamic long tail body. Just look at those rear fins behind the rear wheels...

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It ended up with all kinds of engines actually. Smaller, with 1.0 4-pots, slightly bigger, with a 1.5 4-pot and pretty huge even, especially for Alpine, with a 3.0 V8 developed by Gordini.

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But the V8 proved unreliable and wasn’t easily adapted to the chassis anyway so it was a total failure. Not even a ban by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest of cars with engine larger than 4 liter, making the racing of GT40s and Chaparrals illegal, could get the Alpine performing any better.

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Enzo Ferrari so pissed by this ban that he decided not to compete anymore and there actually was a French company benefiting from this: Matra. But that’s for another time.

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The model is by Atlas in 1/43 and represents the #45 that entered the 1969 edition of the 24 Heures du Mans. And despite not having the V8, just a nimble 1.5, it did not finish. In lap 242 disaster struck and they had to stop for isues with the shock absorber mounting, whatever that means.

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It truly is a good closing for Jonee’s visit to the lowlands. When we were in Brussels together there were both an M63 and an A210 were on display. Well, actually an A211, that’s how the A210 with a V8 was named.

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So with the visit to the Hommell Manoir de l’Automobile and this one 2017 might just be the year I saw the most race Alpines. And that’s a good thing. I can only hope to see some again this year.

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So thanks again Herr Eisen, great little RAOK from your part that will be paid for somehow. ;-)

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Bon Week-End!

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