It’s a dire time for go-fast stripes in the automotive industry. From hot hatches to half-ton trucks, we’re facing a stripe shortage, but one valiant manufacturer is pumping a little bit of life into the graphics nice. French sports car company Alpine is digging deep into its rally heritage for the A110 San Remo 73, a very quick, very blue, very stripey, and very French take on a lightweight coupe.
The San Remo 73 edition is built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jean-Luc Thérier and Jacques Jaubert’s victory at the 1973 San Remo rally, along with Alpine’s general domination of the 1973 World Rally Championship. See, the first WRC Championship was exclusively for manufacturers, and Alpine cleaned up with 63 points more than the second-place Fiat marque. Despite being a decade old, the original Alpine A110 mashed the competition into a viscous soup, a fabulous advertisement for the benefits of lightness.
Since the original A110 raced in French racing blue, the Alpine A110 San Remo 73 is also bluer than Papa Smurf. Contrasting the traditional racing color is a black-and-red roof and a set of black-and-white graphics reminiscent of that winning car from 1973. Oh, and the wheels are bright white which looks fantastic but could be an utter bastard to keep clean. The high-contrast megaphone-loud color scheme works perfectly, so long as you don’t hate fun. Then again, if you’re far too serious to drive a car in an actual color, the Alpine A110 probably isn’t for you. On the inside, single-piece Sabelt buckets come embroidered with commemorative crests, and each San Remo 73 gets an engraved plaque like you’d see on a very expensive instrument.
We love the Alpine A110 because it’s lovely. Slung just ahead of the rear wheels may be a mere 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine from a Renault Espace people carrier, but it’s been boosted to the moon to produce 300 horsepower. That’s an awful lot of shove for a car that weighs several hundred pounds less than a Subaru BRZ. The only gearbox on offer is a dual-clutch automatic, but the Alfa Romeo 4C committed the same sin and looked like a kit car compared to this thing. Expect a zero-to-62 time of 4.2 seconds, plenty quick for a sports car.
Alpine is only making 200 examples of the A110 San Remo 73 and the price tag isn’t cheap. In France, the car carries a retail of €89,000 including VAT. That’s several hundred Euros more than the base price of a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 in France and a whopping €14,500 more than what an Alpine A110S costs. However, it does look damn good and should be brilliant to drive. Unfortunately, as with every other modern Alpine A110, the San Remo 73 isn’t coming to America. What a shame. I guess we’ll just have to wait until 2048 for this lovely little French backroad blaster to be legal for U.S. importation, and maybe pick up one of those nifty new Lotus Emiras in the meantime.
(Photo credits: Alpine)
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