Tag Archives: Alpine

The Short One – Alpine A220 #1731

Following the mixed fortunes of the M series and A210 prototypes Alpine built from 1963 to 1966 the Dieppe based concern decided that the future lay in the new top level Championnat Internationale des Marques for prototype sports cars restricted to using 3 litre / 183 cui motors.

Accordingly in 1967 Alpine built a 3 litre V8 motor with twin overhead chain driven cams and two 1500 cc / 91.5 cui Renault sourced cylinder blocks sharing a common crank.

Alpine A220, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

The A211 chassis for the new engine was a beefed up version of the A210 Len Terry design using larger diameter tubes and similar suspension.

Two A211’s were entered for the 1967 Le Mans 24 hours, but neither arrived and subsequently only one, chassis #1727, appears to have been raced scoring a best third place, three laps in arrears, with Patrick Depailler and André de Cortanze sharing the wheel at Monza in 1968.

Alpine A220, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

Undeterred Alpine revised the A211 in 1968 to become the A220, distinguished by mid mounted radiators ahead of the rear wheels, stronger suspension and larger ventilated disc brakes.

Today’s featured A220 was the second to be built and completed in April 1968 and was taken to the Le Mans Test weekend in April where Mauro Bianchi and Roger Delageneste recorded the 4th best time.

Alpine A220, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

#1731 retired from it’s first two races, at Zeltweg Mauro Bianchi and André de Cortanze retired with an oil leak and Le Mans where Jean Guichet and Jean-Pierre Jabouille retired with alternator failure after 16 hours.

Jean Guichet and Henri Grandsire are believed to have driven this car to a 4th place finish in the 1968 Paris 1000kms.

Alpine A220, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

At the 1968 Moroccan Grand Prix André Guelfi retired #1731 with engine failure and in 1969 1000km race at Spa Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Henri Grandsire are believed to have retired the car with either gearbox or damper failure.

Jean-Luc Thérier and Jean-Pierre Nicolas qualified #1731 19th on the grid with a time of 3m 45s at Le Mans but retired, as did the other three A220’s, after 12 hours with head gasket failure.

Jean Vinatier then competed with #1731 twice recording a 3rd best time on the Chamrousse Hillclimb and 2nd place finish at Nogaro.

Finally Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Jean-Claude Guénard retired today’s featured car, seen at last years Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham, from the Critérium Des Cévennes with alternator failure.

#1731 is unique among A220’s because the aerodynamic tail was shortend in July 1969 and road registered in anticipation of taking part in events like the Tour d’France, plans for which never came to fruition as Alpine withdrew from prototype sports car racing until 1974 when it’s return culminated in winning the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hour race with a the A442 B.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Short One” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be paying a visit to Bournemouth. Don’t forget to come back now !


166 mph From 79 cui – Alpine M65 #1719

In 1963 Alpine started building a series of Renault powered and sponsored prototype race cars that included the M63, M64 and two 1965 M65 prototype racers.

One Len Terry designed M65 chassis, #1718 was powered by a 1149 cc / 70 cui Renault engine and the other today’s featured chassis #1719 was by a 1296 cc / 79 cui engine from the same source.

Alpine M65, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

#1719’s known history covers just eight events in 1965 and 1966 starting with the Le Mans Test weekend in April 1965 when Mauro Bianchi, Roger Delageneste, Jean Vinatier, Roger Masson and Jean-Pierre Hanrioud all took turns at the wheel and recorded 15th best time overall, fastest in the 79 cui class.

#1718 was taken to the 1965 Targa Florio for Mauro Bianchi and Henri Grandsire to drive but they failed to finish after the car was fire damaged as the result of an accident.

Alpine M65, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Mauro and Henri were entrusted with #1719 for the 1965 Le Mans 24 hours where they qualified 33rd with a time of 4m 20 seconds but retired with gearbox failure after completing just 32 laps.

Mauro was then joined by brother Lucien Bianchi for the 500kms race at the Nurburgring which was restricted to vehicles with engines no larger than 1.3 litres / 79 cui and they won the event.

Alpine M65, Portron/Frankowski, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

At the 1965 Albi GP Mauro drove to a 3rd place finish solo before the car was renamed an Alpine A210 for the 1966 season.

Mauro and Henri Grandsire retired from the 1000km race at Monza with a recalcitrant 1.3 litre / 79 cui engine.

Alpine M65, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

At Le Mans the car was fitted with a 1 litre / 61 cui motor and was driven by André de Cortanze and Jean-Pierre Hanrioud who completed 118 laps before the water pump failed.

#1719’s final appearance was at the 1967 Nurburgring 500kms where Roger Delageneste won the prototype class, but finished second to the similar capacity Abarth 1300 OT of Ernst Furtmayr which was running in the Sports Car class.

At Le Mans in 1965 #1719, seen in these photo’s at Goodwood Festival of Speed last year where Hughes Portron and Piotr Frankowski shared the driving, with just 130 hp recorded a top speed of 268 kph / 166 mph.

Thanks for joining me on this “166 mph From 79 cui” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be returning to Hullavington. Don’t forget to come back now !


RIP JP B – Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup

Born on April 26th 1937 Jean Pierre Beltoise was part of a cohort of French drivers that emerged in the 1960’s that included Johnny Servous Gavin, Gerrard Larrousse, Henri Pescarolo and brother in law Francois Cevert.

JP B’s started racing motor cycles winning 11 national titles in three years, he raced Motor Morini, Kreider and Bultaco machines in a handful of world championship events from 1962 to 1964 finishing a best 3rd on a 50 cc Kreider in the 1964 French Grand Prix.

In 1963 Jean Pierre started racing Djet sports cars for René Bonnet. After Bonnet sold out to Matra he raced a succession of Formula 3 and Formula 2 Matra open wheelers with sufficient success that led to his Grand Prix debut in the 1966 German Grand Prix with a Formula 2 Matra in which he finished 8th overall and first in the Formula 2 class.

In 1968 JP B was contracted to drive for the French Matra Sports team but did not race a proper Formula One Spec car until the Spanish Grand Prix when he was drafted in to drive Jackie Stewart’s Cosworth powered Matra MS10 for Ken Tyrrell’s Matra International team.

At Monaco he raced the Matra V12 powered Matra MS 11 for the first time but retired with broken suspension, at the Dutch GP he finished a season high second behind Stewart.

Matra Sport withdrew form F1 at the end of 1968 to focus their efforts on getting Ken Tyrrells Matra International Team Matra MS80 cars for Jackie Stewart, JP-B was drafted in as Jackie’s team mate and again finished a season high second this time in France.

Ken Tyrrell and Matra parted way’s after winning the 1969 World Championships and Matra got it’s V12 programme back on track with JP B and Henri Pescarolo in the drivers seats JP B scored two season high thirds to Henri’s one. The following season JP B remained on the Matra team with Chris Amon but the results were disappointing.

For 1972 JP B signed to drive for BRM for which an over ambitious programme was being funded by Marlboro. At the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix Jean Pierre won his only Grand Prix generally reckoned to have been one of the more difficult races thanks to the atrocious conditions.

Note the scuff mark the BRM’s nose in the linked photo this came about after contact with Ronnie Peterson’s March which was baulking his while being lapped.

This race would be the last formula one championship win for a BRM and at the end of the season Jean Pierre won the non championship John Player victory race at Brands Hatch driving a BRM P180 which would be the last win for the BRM team.

Jean Pierre continued driving for BRM in 1973 during which he finished a season high 4th in Canada with the by now ancient BRM P160 and in 1974 during which he scored a great second place finish on the debut of the P201 in South Africa.

Out of a Formula One drive for 1975 Jean Pierre was in the running for a drive with the new Ligier team for 1976 and tested the Matra V12 powered JS5 before it was decided to hand the car over to 1975 Formula 2 champion Jacques Laffite.

Alongside his open wheel racing Jean Pierre continued racing sports cars winning races in 5 litre, 3 litre and 2 litre classes though most, seven, were wins with the 3 litre / 183 cui Matra’s which included the 1970 Tour de France sharing driving with Patrick Depailler and with FIA President Jean Todt doing the navigating.

After winning the sports car World Championship twice in 1973 and 1974 Matra withdrew from racing a Jean Pierre continued racing Ligier and Rondeau built sports cars at Le Mans, but he never improved on his career best 1969 4th place finish with Piers Courage in the endurance classic.

JP B won two French Saloon car championships driving BMW’s in 1976 and 1977 before proving his versatility, despite restricted arm movement that was the result of a sports car accident in the 1960’s, by winning the 1979 French Rallycross Championship driving an Alpine A310.

Peugeot Gti Turbo, JP Beltoise, Le Mans,

Into the 1980’s JP B continued racing Peugeot 505 Turbo’s, a V6 Talbot Tagora and in 1988 he was racing in the Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup series, above Jean Pierre is seen driving the #88 309 to victory in the support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Jean Pierre passed away on the 5th of January aged 77.

Condolences to his family and friends RIP JP B.

Thanks for joining me on this “RIP JP B” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Autosport International. Don’t forget to come back now !


Détails Français – Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Among the 1,700 cars on display at the recent Classic Motor Show at the NEC Birmingham was a wonderful selection of storied French vehicles a hand full details from which are featured below.

Bugatti T37, Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham

Above the brass tail light above graces the back of the 1926 Bugatti Type 37 driven by Phillipe Auber to victory in the 1927 Picarde Grand Prix.

Peugeot 202 Commerciale, Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham

This 1940 Peugeot 202 Commerciale was used by a French off license, alcohol retailer, from 1947 to 1991 when it was sold to the present owners family.

Alpine A220, Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham

In 1968 Alpine and Gordini founders Jean Rédélé and Amédée Gordini concocted a 3 litre / 183 cui V8 with four overhead cams by using two 1500 cc 4 cylinder Renault derived blocks as used in the Alpine A110 and A210 competition cars. The V8 was fitted to the new A220 prototype racing cars of which the one seen here was the second built and the only one later modified and registered for road use with a short tale.

Citroen DS Decopotable, Classic Motor Show NEC,

Last week I looked at a Henri Chapron bodied Delahaye, above is the rear indicator on one of his later, Citroen DS Decopotable’s built in 1969.

Simca Rallye 2 Coupé SRT 77, Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham

Any US Mopar fan will recognise SRT as standing for Street and Racing Technology, not so many may know that these initials were used by Chrysler Frances Simca brand in the 1970’s for the Simca Racing Team founded in 1972 for entry level competition alongside the successful Chrysler France backed Matra Simca Le Mans programme. In 1977 a Coupe SRT 77 non street legal competition kit was offered for their rear engined Simca Rallye 2 which boasted the power to 110 hp and top speed to over 100 mph.

Citroen Dyane Special, Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham

Finally above is the interior of a converted Citroen Dyane Special, known as the HJS complete with what appears to be a highly polished aluminium towing hook.

Thanks for joining me on this “Détails Français” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l Psycho On Tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be making a final visit to this years Classic Motor Show. Don’t forget to come back now !


Powered By Holbay – Ginetta G21S

When it was launched the Ginetta G21 was well received in the British press albeit as the ‘poor mans Porsche’, while one esteemed journalist described it as the best car at the 1970 British Motor Show.

Ginetta 21S, Silverstone Classic

Refined and practical the well finished fibre glass body sits on a steel back bone chassis as pioneered by the Renault Alpine and Lotus Elan models of the early 1960’s.

Ginetta 21S, Silverstone Classic

The double wishbone and coil front suspension is based on items from the Triumph parts bin while the rear suspension is a five link Ginetta design that locates a Hillman Hunter rear axle.

Ginetta 21S, Silverstone Classic

The handling has been compared to the Lotus Elan although the sturdiness and build quality of the Ginetta is said to be far superior. Regular readers might recognise the increasingly famous vertically hinged door handles as coming from the Morris Marina parts bin.

Ginetta 21S, Silverstone Classic

Three engine options were available for the G21 the Ford Kent 1600 cc / 97 cui 4 cylinder, Ford Essex 3 litre / 183 cui V6 and the G21S, as seen here with the Ginetta Owners Club at Silverstone Classic, came with a Hillman based 1750 cc / 106 cui 4 cylinder with Holbay modified alloy cylinder head, Holbay camshaft, twin Weber carburetors lightened and balanced fly wheel to produce 120 hp good enough to go from rest to 60 mph in under 8 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph.

Ginetta 21S, Silverstone Classic

Just short of 70 G21s were produced at in Witham Essex though at least as many again appear to have been produced by later incarnations of the Ginetta marque.

Thanks for joining me on this “Powered By Holbay” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Allard. Don’t forget to come back now !


Driving The Change – Renault

Founded in 1899 Renault were not celebrating anything in particular at this years festival of speed but still had a potpurri presence that spanned their competition history as shown by today’s collection of photographs.

Renault Type K, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1902 Marcel Renault drove a Type K similar to Renault built replica above to victory in the 990 km / 615 mile Paris-Vienna covering the distance in 15 hours 47 mins to average 38.95 bone shaking miles per hour.

Renault 40CV Montlhéry Coupé, Goodwood Festival of Speed

By 1925 Renault’s top model was the 40CV one of which one the 1925 Monte Carlo Rally. The following year built this aerodynamic Coupé version for a crack at the 24 hour distance record which it won by averaging 107 mph on the banked Montlhéry Circuit outside Paris.

Alpine M65, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After the ’39-’45 War Dieppe garage proprietor Jean Rédélé started racing Renault 4’s with considerable and founded Alpine to capitalise on it in 1954. For 1965 Alpine built the M65 model with a 1.3 litre / 79 cui tuned Renault motor powerful enough for the M65 to be timed at 266 kph / 165 mph at Le Mans.

Alpine A310, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Fast forward 12 years and the now Renault owned Alpine were not only returning to Le Mans which they won out right in 1978, but they were building the mid engine Peugeot Renault Volvo V6 powered Alpine A310 sports car. A successor to the Alpine A110, Guy Fréquelin drove an A310 like the one above to win the 1977 French Rally Championship.

Renault RE 40, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Alpines success at Le Mans gave them a spring board from which to launch their Formula One team in 1977. Translating the theoretical advantages of turbo charging on to the track in the sports top table proved time consuming and costly but by 1979 Formula One victories started to be achieved. However the unreliability of their ground breaking adventure kept Renault from ever winning a world championship with their turbo charged V6. The 1982 RE 40, driven by Michele Leclere above, came closest, with Alain Prost and Eddie Cheever helping the marque finish second in the Constructors Championship to Ferrari and Alain 2nd in the drivers championship with 4 victories to Nelson Piquet driving a turbo BMW powered Brabham.

Renault Twin Run, Goodwood Festival of Speed

At Goodwood Renault showed us a view of their future in the form of the fully working 2013 concept car the Twin Run which like the Renault 5 Turbo Maxi and Clio V6 has a mid mounted motor boasting 320 hp. No plans have been announced for the vehicle to go into production in this configuration… yet.

Thanks for joining me on this “Driving The Change” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

01/07/14 Errata Tim Murray has kindly pointed out that I incorrectly identified the Renault Type K as a type AK 90CV, when this post first went out, apologies for any confusion.


Acrylic Glass Bubble Top – Alpine A442 B #A442/3

The Alpine A442 B was the penultimate evolution of Alpines 1970’s sports car program that first came to light in 1973 when Renault sponsored the development of the 2 litre / 122 cui Renault Gordini CH1 V6 that sat in the back of the Alpine A440 sports car driven by Jean Pierre Jabouille at Magney Cours.

The following season the second evolution A441 swept the 1974 European Sportscar Championship scoring 9 wins from 9 races with Jabouille, Alain Cudini, Gérard Larrousse, and eventual champion Alain Serpaggi all wining races. over the winter of 1974/75 one of the A441’s was fitted with a turbocharged version of the CH1 V6 that had been designed by François Castaing and Jean-Pierre Boudy.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

At the second round of the 1975 World Sports Car Championship the turbocharged A441 made it’s debut and with Jabouille and Larrouse at the wheel became the unfancied winner beating the normally aspirated 3 litre / 183 cui Alfa Romeo and turbo charged Porsche 908 to become the first turbocharged prototype to win a World Championship. For the remainder of the 1975 season the newer Alpine A442 evolution was used but it was no match for the Championship winning Alfa Romeo.

1n 1976 Alpine continued using developing the A442 in the World Sportscar Championship but it was completely overshadowed by the new turbocharged Porsche 936 which won all seven races leaving the A442 with three second places as the best results and a distant second in the championship a position which it shared with Osella. Le Mans which was not part of the championship saw Jabouille, Patrick Tambay and Jose Dolhem qualify on pole but the single A442 entered but it retired with engine failure before half distance leaving the Porsche 936 to claim the first of three Le Mans victories.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Derek Bell and Jabouille were on pole for the 1977 Le Mans 24 hour race driving today’s featured chassis #A442/3 before it had been upgraded to B spec. However none of the four A442’s finished the race, which was won by the Porsche 936 #001 featured last week, but one of the Renault Gordini CH1 V6 turbo powered Mirages did finish a distant second 11 laps in arrears.

For 1978, by which time Renault and Alpine had been fully financially integrated, a new Alpine A443 had evolved with a longer wheel base, slightly larger motor and an acrylic glass bubble roof. Drivers Jabouille and Patrick Depailler had the roof, which added around 5 mph to the cars top speed, removed because they felt claustrophobic and there was too much heat building up inside the cockpit. Even so they still qualified fastest of the Alpines at Le Mans albeit on second place on the grid behind a works Porsche 936 chassis #003 which qualified with an average speed of 147 mph by Jackie ickx. 3rd on the grid was the monstrous Porsche 935/78 known as Moby Dick with another works Porsche 936 the ’77 winner #001 alongside.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Todays featured car now in B spec running with an acrylic glass roof and the standard 2 litre / 122 cui turbocharged V6 motor was 5th on the grid at Le Mans with Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud sharing the driving. The A443 of Jabouille and Depailler led much of the first half of the race interrupted by a set of unbalanced front wheels until it retired with a broken motor leaving Pironi and Jassaud to take over a commanding lead which it held to the end. Pironi passed out in the heat of the cockpit after he crossed the finish line.

Two of Porsche 936’s required gearbox rebuilds after which one of them crashed and the other chassis #001 came second ahead of the third placed 936 chassis #002 which required a turbocharger replacement while the 935 Moby Dick suffered from overheating and persistent oil leaks to come home 8th.

Having accomplished what they set out to achieve with the CH1 V6 program, along with two Formula Two open wheel championships in 1975 and 1976, Renault retired the Alpines from Sports car racing to concentrated all of it’s efforts on Formula One where it ran the first turbo charged Formula One car in 1977.

In 1979 Renault would become the first team to win a Formula One race with a turbo charged 1.5 litre 91.5 cui Renault Gordini EF1 motor at the French Grand Prix, which by coincidence was the race before the British Grand Prix where today’s photo’s were taken of #A442/3 in the paddock at Silverstone.

My thanks to Tim Murray for helping to identify the winning chassis of the 1975 Mugello 1000kms race which was widely reported to have been an Alpine A442 in contemporary journals like Motoring News but which contemporary photographs show the A441 development car.

Thanks for joining me on this “Acrylic Glass Bubble Top” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.