The Renault Alpine A110 is an outright classic that garnered international acclaim upon its debut, then won world rally championships against stiff competition, and remained a beautifully quirky, yet unpretentious car you could afford to drive on the street. Those traits remain true to this day, which is why getting something like this restored A110 rally car for under $100,000 at RM’s London auction is a sensible move that any enthusiast with the means should consider.
The car originally debuted in 1962 and was instantly popular not just on the road, but in rallies, where the weight of the rear-mounted engine helps with traction over gravelly surfaces. The car’s unbelievably light structure—just over 1,500 pounds—means it never really has to slow down all that much for corners.
That’s a good thing, because the engine is anything but powerful. A motor pumping out 81 hp sounds like a glorified lawn mower by today’s standards, but given the minimal mass it’s asked to move, the net effect is acceleration that’s surprisingly not all that lacking.
Not that you’d ever notice anything but pure performance nirvana if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. The A110’s interior is so simple it’s utterly beautiful. A couple of switches and knobs are the only controls you actually need to go out on the dirt and have more fun than should be legal.
When you stop and consider the fact that the Alpine A110 won its last world rally championship in 1973— eleven years after it was designed—you start to get the idea of just how brilliant ths little car really is. It actually wasn’t until the Lancia Stratos came along that anything else was significantly better. And 40 years later, nothing’s going to beat it in a vintage rally, certainly nothing for under 100 Gs.