As it reaches 30 years old, with production ending in 1984, car club 18-30 says goodbye to a rare and fascinating machine that really deserves a bigger audience; The Renault Alpine A310.

The A310 sits between the pretty little A110, a car famous for rally success, and the 911 chasing A610. Like it’s predecessor it was initially modestly powered, with a 4 cylinder Gordini tweaked engine giving just 125 BHP, but when it got the PRV6 engine widely used in Renault and Volvos of that era it got the shove it needed. The layout has the engine in the back, a steel backbone chassis and plastic panels and with the weight in the derriere it handles rather like a 911 of similar vintage. The run out model was the splendidly named ‘A310 V6 GT Pack Kit Boulogne’ with engine mods giving 193 BHP, flared arches and suspension shared with the R5 Turbo. 11,000 cars were made in total and I’ve only ever seen one in the UK. So, them’s the facts, but why do we love the A310?


The styling is so 70’s. Early models had six headlamps and that bloated wedge profile. I’m guessing it’s all down to aerodynamics, but I don’t care, it’s just cool. The A310 was actually used as an engine test mule for another classic of that era, the DeLorean DMC-12, DeLorean bought six examples as the A310 had the same engine (the PRV6) and chassis layout as the eventual DMC-12 car. The DMC-12 is a bit of a pig to drive so we can only assume that they didn’t learn enough from the Alpines they had.

An A310 raced at Le Mans in 1977 in the prototype class, run by privateers, it sprung a leak after 17 hours and sadly didn’t finish. An A310 won the 1977 French rally championship too, and they occasionally crop up on track, I spotted the silver model pictured here at Blyton recently and this orange A310 at Zandvoort looks great (even though the driver appears to have colour coded his jacket to match). None of this matters. The A310 joins car club 18-30 because it’s cool in that hard-to-explain-why way the French do best. We can’t help but wonder what a modern Alpine would be like, if only Alpine hadn’t been strangled to death by Renault. Ah, C’est la vie.

Rich Duisberg

PS – There’s a fantastic blog explaining life with an A310, fires and all, see here for more of that from Dave Bishop.

PPS – Join the debate on car club 18-30 cars on our FaceBook page.

Pictures – Rich Duisberg and Dave Bishop (thanks).

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

2 Responses

  1. Mick

    At least you like the Alpine! Most articles about this car are full of prove that the author doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Let me enlighten you… I’ve had the pleasure to own a 911 3.2 Carrera as a daily for about three years, in which I covered 100.000km. Now I drive a a310 v6 phase2.

    First of all, the Alpine is much cooler than a 911. The a310 was faster than the 911 of its day, thats the 2.7 and 3.0 911. It’s a better steer than the 911 3.2 Carrera. Lift off oversteer is not as tricky as it is in the 911. It is certainly more comfortable than the old 911; even in the back there’s more room than in a 911. Not only in the air cooled ones, but also more room than in a 996/997 (yes, owned these as well).

    Btw, all a310’s from ’81 upwards have that 5 Turbo suspension, not only the GT, which was in the end slower and bulkier than the ‘standard’ phase2. Like the 911, tne 4s models look faster, but they aren’t…

    Oh, and did I mention the Alpine a310 looks cool…

    • Rich Duisberg
      Rich Duisberg

      Thanks for the comment, Mick. You’ll find a few other Alpine pics on our site, we’re fans, like you. Cheers!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.