This is heading to 2013 Le Mans in the LMP2 category! I’m so excited my Alpine neurons are spazzing out.
I was expecting an announcement for 2014 Le Mans, but Renault has somewhat surprised everybody by announcing that there will be an Alpine badged car racing the LMP2 class in THIS year’s Le Mans. Wow. They’ve also released the ‘teaser’ pic above (tastefully tweaked by yours truly).
Here are some quotes directly from Renault:
“Today, another important step has been taken with the announcement that an Alpine prototype is to race in the competitive 2013 European Le Mans Series endurance racing championship (ELMS), as well as at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours (June 22-23).
The decision to compete at Le Mans fits perfectly with the brand’s heritage, since Alpine contested the famous 24-Hour race 11 times between 1963 and 1978, running a total of 55 factory cars. In addition to its successes in the ‘Energy Index’ classification in 1964, 1965 and 1968, as well as in the ‘Performance Index’ classification in 1968 and 1969, its efforts harvested seven class wins in total and, above all, outright victory in 1978 with the Alpine A442B prototype shared by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi. The two Frenchmen were joined in the top four by the A442 of Jean Ragnotti and Guy Fréquelin.
For its return to Le Mans, Alpine has joined forces with Signatech. The Philippe Sinault-run team will enter an Alpine LM P2 prototype with an Alpine chassis powered by a 500hp Nissan engine for the five rounds of the ELMS, including the opening race at Silverstone, England (April 13). The drivers will be Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.
The highlight of the season will naturally be the Le Mans 24 Hours. The name of the third driver who will join the team for the world’s most famous endurance race will be announced when the car is officially presented at Le Castellet, France, on March 24.
Said Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer, Renault: “Alpine’s return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 marks the beginning of a new adventure which is set to last. The passion that drives us is matched only by the humility and careful attention paid to costs that epitomise this comeback which itself has been made possible thanks to the involvement of our partners and supporters who I would like to thank formally here. Together, step by step, we will do our very best to write another exciting page in the history of Alpine, a truly outstanding name in the world of French sports cars.””
I AM SO EXCITED.
src: renault press services
I found a strange photo earlier in one of my Alpine books of an A310 prototype—-which made me start searching online for more prototype photos.
The A310 was introduced in 1971 as glorified successor to the Alpine throne, and by 1976 Alpine introduced the car with a 2.7L V6. The car pictured here is a A310 V6 prototype which has seemingly been preserved!
What’s most striking here though, is the Maserati Merak-aping rear end! Was this a disguise for testing purposes or was this really being planned at some point? Even as a die-hard Alpine fanatic, i would think this is outright plagiarism! Obviously the design never actually made it anywhere, as the A110 production continued to 1984 with the design virtually unchanged, aside from body kits, wheel designs, and small tweaks. Maybe this was just an ‘inside joke’ inside Dieppe!
a comparison of a Merak vs. this A310 V6 prototype. HA!
This thing is beautifully swoopy! Don’t be fooled—it is a 4 door as well. Surely nobody ever did another 4-door with the aerodynamics of this bad boy ever again. electric air suspension, state of the art adjustable aerodynamics, adjustable interior (with fixed seats!). Amazing how ahead of its time this Vauxhall concept was. If only Vauxhall could have come even close to manufacturing something as lovely.
check out this insane interior!
Here’s a great quick video tour done by Jon Quirk (photographer of a couple photos above) of the concept; which fortunately still exists!
I’m not into bicycles—-i was when i was 10, however they don’t capture my imagination or make me want to really get into them. This might partly be due to the fact that people in NYC ride the worst bicycles in the world—at least the peeps in Brooklyn do. Since when did buying an overpriced rubbish ‘vintage’ fixed speed bicycle actually become something to be proud of? You are replicating 1970s China and India….even those countries have moved on…well, sort of.
This, though, is an electric Bicycle I could love! Cycleton One, which is an actual concept bicycle created by Daniel Yorba, an industrial designer. This is still a work-in-progress, but a very imaginative and beautiful design in my opinion. Honestly….if a bicycle like this was produced for a ‘reasonable’ amount of money, you’d probably find me in line for one. I’m not too overwhelmed by the carbon fibre, however i suppose in this situation it would create lightness and strength; so i forgive the maker!
oh and he’s also designed a concept helmet:
Supercar nut Harry Metcalfe from Evo Magazine is taking a tour around the working prototype of the Porsche 918.
I am loving the idea of this….2 electric motors and a V8…look at where the exhaust pipes exit! PDK double clutch gearbox…..and just a bang up to date technological masterpiece under development. I was never a fan of the Carrera GT, but this i’m properly excited about.
I remember seeing a photo of this ages ago…but just saw it again after a long time. I find it interesting how the rear side view seems to have inspired the Peugeot 205 in many ways. I also find it interesting that the front end design presented here in 1969 seems way ahead of its time! As a whole though, I think it’s safe to say that the proper MK1 Golf which presented itself a few years later is a much more cohesive, proportional design than this one is. This 1969 prototype is also FWD, front-engined as the production MK1 would be…
This car is currently stored at the VW Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany
At its announcement in August 1970, a month after the launch of the redoubtable Torana GTR XU-1, GMH said it was “breaking with tradition by giving the public an opportunity to see in advance a car which could be the basis of a limited production vehicle in the future…the GTR-X has been built specifically to test design concepts and help assess the Australian market for a locally designed and manufactured two-seater sports car.”
OH really, GM? Sounds like you were been sipping too much Pontiac Banshee!
Amazing that this prototype is from 1988/1989…..with styling way ahead of its time in terms of swoopy ‘coupe-like’ rooflines which have made their way back into fashion these days with cars like the CLS, A7, and Panamera.
I am, of course, a huge fan of the Panamera. And yes i take a lot of crap for it from readers of IEDEI and my friends! ha. Quite simply, i think it is the most interesting sedan on the road today.
So here’s my take on what happened to the Porsche 989. Ulrich Bez, head engineer of Porsche in the late 1980s, proposed the idea for a 4-door ‘sedan’ which could be mass marketed as a proper german rival sedan to BMW and Mercedes. Porsche, pretty much sucked at business during this time; most people don’t seem to realise that Porsche were in BAD shape through most of the 80s—–virtually going out of business at one point! They had lackluster products, selling for too much money. Surely the 989 must have come across as a revelation of sorts! Unfortunately Porsche’s rubbish financial state and the departure of Bez resulted in the project being canned by the early 90s. Obviously it came back in the form of the Panamera.
So some of you may have seen the photos of the ‘original’ Porsche sedan concept, by Troutman-Barnes—-which may have inspired the 989 (minus the crazy suicide doors on the Troutman!) Here are photos showing the evolution of the design:
As of right now, nobody knows the whereabouts of the 989 prototype pictured here—-in fact I have even read that it was given to Ferry Porsche as a present—-however MY suspicion is that it is sitting somewhere inside Ferdinand Piech’s lost basement of lost concepts, waiting to be unearthed again! The car has NEVER been photographed again since this original german photo shoot…..
Before the Lotus Esprit became the Lotus Esprit…it was known as the M70. Penned by Giugaro (Italdesign) and quite a big step for Lotus as a company; It launched Lotus into the realm of supercars.
I have to say that the Series 1 Lotus Esprit is a pretty great looking car….and the M70 definitely looks like the purest expression of the design (obviously!).
Here are some original ideas thrown around for the M70:
(from Car Styling Magazine, April 1976: Lotusespritturbo.com)
Although it looks like a Bertone concept, it is not! In fact this is the 1969 Ghia Lancia HF Competizione concept. I don’t have a ton of information about the actual car; however I do know that it was based on the standard Fulvia HF platform and was FWD with the famous 1600 V4 engine from the Fulvia HF. However, a major difference was that the Ghia concept was even lighter than the standard Fulvia—-which made it even faster and (supposedly) with better handling. The idea was to possibly use this as a basis for a racing car that would have possibly be entered into Le Mans-type race events; alas this was not meant to be.
It was shown at the 1969 Geneva Auto Show; and obviously never produced.
src (colour photos): mauiboy
Here’s something I didn’t know about—-in 1970, the BMW Werks team developed a weird concoction of part BMW 2002 and part E9 coupe and came up with the 3002. The car raced in one race, the 1970 Tour De Corse—-and the car still exists, although it’s in pretty ratty shape somewhere in California, according to someone who has seen it there.
Around 270hp with a 6 cylinder and weighing around 950 kg—–the car was surely a bit of an animal for the time.
ORIGINAL PICS from 1970:
In it’s most RECENT condition…but still alive!
some back story:
In 1965 Scott Bailey invited Bertone to have his say on the design of the popular Ford Mustang. The publisher of the prestigious “Automobile Quarterly” wanted to show that the Turin school of bodywork designers could achieve great things on cars which were very different from their usual projects. Bertone’s interpretation of the American car was put on show for the first time at the 1965 New York International Automobile Show, and was one of the most admired numbers: the Bertone model featured a radiator grille dominated by the emblem of the original car, while the disappearing headlamps were hidden behind the grille. All in all a very personal interpretation which turned out to be another coup in image terms for the Turin designer.
photo by Laurent Duchene (note: this is probably a replica, as the original car doesn’t have wire wheels)
This has to be my new favourite historical Bugatti. Produced only as a prototype between 1957 and 1962, it was the ‘last’ Bugatti proposed by the original Bugatti company before it was sold and shut down for many years. Apparently the car was proposed several times looking for investors to put it into proper production, however it never happened; apparently one ONE actual car exists, however the internet is flooded with photos of replicas. The actual car is kept in French car museum.
I wish they would have made this car….it reminds me in many ways of the Porsche 550 in its size and purity of form. Obviously it would have been more expensive than a 550 if it were produced, but it would have been lovely to see more of these around. Not much information found online about the car—so much of its story has been kept low key.
more pics, gathered over time and some from mycarblog.org
(these are pics of the ORIGINAL car, belonging to the french museum in Mulhouse)
I love prototypes which have been lost or aborted during their development—-they have a curious aura of mystery surrounding them, and blistering questions of “what may have been” and “where are they now”. in 2001, BMW was working on a lightweight (2500+ pound) coupe with 300+ HP capable of 0-60 times of under 5 seconds. Judging by the Toyota-like styling, and not-so-BMW-like design features and its MK1 Audi TT inspired minimalist interior—-it is very possible this car was merely a test bed for new technologies. I don’t think the world will have a breakdown because it was never produced, however it can definitely be added to the list of mysterious prototypes which were tested and then dissappeared. I’m guessing this car eventually morphed into the Z4 Coupe in 2006 and maybe used the carbon fiber technologies towards their M3 CSL.
Autocar article: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/BMW-Concepts/248500/
BMW themselves eventually released photos of the car in 2010, as part of their 25th anniversary celebration of BMW Technik GmBH.
The two-seater sportscar was designed to be as light as possible through the use of high-tech materials.
The centre section of the car – from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead was a monocoque made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastics. The front and rear subframes were made of aluminium. The final prototype weighed just 1166kgs.
The Z29 was powered by the then-current 336bhp straight-six engine used in the M3, which gave the car a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.4 seconds.
The Z29’s unusual scissor doors never made it onto a production car, but the Z29 is said to have influenced the 2006 M Roadster.
However the project had its biggest influence on the 2004 M3 CSL, which used carbon-fibre, reinforced plastics for the roof panel, as well as various other body mouldings including the front bumper.
BMW founded the Technik GmbH division in 1985, with the intention of using as a think-tank to ‘develop and innovative, future-oriented and original overall vehicle concepts and sub-concepts away from the constraints of a specific series workflow schedule’. However, the board added that Technik’s objective should ‘always be to develop solutions that have the potential for series development.”
EDIT: THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!
Yes I will take the bold step—-against all the opinions which say it is ‘ugly’ i will come out and say that I think the styling of the Porsche Panamera has grown on me significantly, to the point where I really am digging the looks of it now. When i first saw it in test mule form, I was deeply disturbed. When the production version was introduced last year—-i thought Porsche missed the boat a bit, however after seeing it in person I thought it was an ‘interesting’ design albeit not entirely convincing. After some time and many more instances of exposure, I’ve had an epiphany; I think this is one of the most unique, compelling, and bold car designs in recent years. I think Porsche really made a bold step in designing it, and I can honestly say I love the way the Panamera looks in real life. I think pictures don’t do the car justice—-it has much more presence than pretty much ANY 4-door sedan on the road today. The interior, additionally—is one of the nicest interiors I have ever sat in.
Here is a wonderful Sportec-tuned SP560 Panamera. I think it is all types of hotness—-yes I know some of you will laugh at me—but i’m glad many deride it, so the resale value will fall dramatically! plan in effect….
Apparently, Ford had decided to fight back against the successes of rally cars in the late 60s and early 70s like the Porsche 911s and the Alpine A110 with their own small purpose-built rally car named the Ford GT70.
From OCTANE MAGAZINE:
‘The GT70’s creation had been triggered by our poor performance on the 1970 Monte Carlo Rally,’ Ford Competitions manager Stuart Turner says. ‘The Escort Twin-Cams, driven by Clark, Timo Makinen and Hannu Mikkola, at best finished fifth and seventh, and had been left behind by the winning Porsche 911S and Alpine-Renault A110.’”
Thanks to Jalopnik for turning attention this burning issue!
I believe the ‘yellow’ livery is in its current state; previously, the lone prototype was in silver finish: