Alpine A110

My concept draft of an A110 car body design

Because . . .
it should not be a getaway car for small-time hoods.
And not a warrior's vehicle for the Peshmerga
but a manifesto of elegance and
driving enjoyment for everyone.

alpine a110 3d model

When a new car is released that is remarkably well designed I usually make a list (in the mind) of details I would design differently. I don't write it down – except the carmaker really causes to give offence. [1]
Three years ago I criticised the body design of the Porsche 911 and now I need to write about the Alpine A110.
I think the A110 is one of the most interesting (combustion engine) cars since the Ford GT40 in 1968 and the Bugatti Veyron in 2005. [2] – This time not just because of the shape but because of its maxim and parameters:

In my renderings (of a 3D model I purchased and tweaked) I changed some design attributes according to my own lines. (Maybe it generates the reproval of having no respect and no understanding for the great legacy of the A110. – I have to admit, I do not have that respect.)
Overall I turned the look of the car from wiry to smooth.

In detail this are the changes I made:

  1. Tail lights
    Making the tail lights 35 mm less wide (each) so the rear segment has no 'tail fins' anymore (that standed out from some view angles). This boosts a more streamlined torpedo look.
  2. Diffusor
    Moving the diffusor and the exhaust 32 mm frontwards so the rear segment looks lighter, smoother and more elegant (see side view below).
  3. Door profile
    Thickening the doors outwards at the sholder line and moving the profile inwards at the bottom so the doors appear not as 'plane boards' anymore.
    Between the axes the body gets an organic swing. [4]
  4. Door indentation
    Giving the indentation of the door segment more depth and a sculptural intention instead of a 'graphical' one.
    It doesn't go without notice that the original indentation was just strong enough to give a visual effect (under the right angle of incidence of light). It is perceptible there was no will to really sculpt the car body. [5]
  5. 'Vacuum pack'
    Removing the style of 'vacuum pack' from some parts (the lower rear piece and the lower door segment).

    The excessive use of altering from convex to concave (especially at the wheel cases) was an annoying custom in design 20 years ago (BMW). But it is simply unnecessary and looks tangled.
  6. Fender flares
    Making the (insinuated) fender flares of the A110 disappear. Fender flares are simply nonsense. When you have a wider wheels track you should use it for the whole car, the driver's cabin etc. (as Lamborghini does, and the Lamborghinis are really wide).
  7. Front bonnet
    Making the front bonnet more slant and race-car-like (see side view below). I think to discard the racing look just to preserve 10 more litres of boot space for luggage was a wrong decision. (In France the A110 is indeed mainly a racing car.)
  8. Foglight
    Removing the original foglights from the bonnet. To flaunt extra foglights was the fun part of the orignal A110 of the 1960s. I like this kind of funny exaggerations [6]. But you can't preserve it from a bygone era. It doesn't work in the the 21st century (with LED and laser light for headlights).
  9. Front grille
    Complete revision of the overly wide and convoluted original front design. The new design turns a 'widemouth perch' into a young 'tiger shark'. (Yes, my front draft lacks fine tuning and details, so it doesn't appear really alive yet. It's a draft.)
  10. Branding
    It is obvious they tried with the 2017 version to maintain the brand identity of the orignal A110 from the 1960s. But by doing this they payed a price for something that actually doesn't exist (anymore). I think, to keep the forms of the bonnet and of the front part does not do any good.
    The biggest problem of the overall look of the A110 is the rounded front end of the bonnet. In itself the rounding is ok and distinctive. But it changes without border into the open big air intake and together with that the rounding looks like an overhang rather, a front with projecting alcoves, a Gonzo beak (sorry for drastic wording).
  11. Company logo
    Having the Alpine lettering on the front indicates clearly the absence of a real company logo. The 'A' for Alpine shouldn't be slanted. The logo of an axisymmetric object like a car should be basically symmetric. [7]
  12. Wheels
    Using larger wheels (in the A110 standard version the wheels are really too small).

The double reflection of the sun on the bonnet indicates, its curvature is a bit inaccurate. But as a draft it is ok.

[1]  In January 2020 Alpine released the version A110 Sports X – at almost all changes its design went in the exact opposite direction of my points. So I write down my points here. (Actually for me it's the same trigger as with Porsche.)

Addition 2020-03: Creating a whole family of different Alpines (as it Uwe Hochgeschurtz suggested) sounds enterprising and the Sports X fulfills the SUV dreams of its customers quite perfectly. But I would wish the little sister car would gain a bit more of friendly noblesse.
Yes, the Alpine got the genes of a racing car, but to cultivate the image of a lout is a bad idea. It's the general concept (lightness) rather and the overall shape that makes the A110 so adorable.

Compared to the (overloaded) Rimac C_Two the Alpine++ is shaped rational and clear.
Upper image: ri mac-automobi

[2]  Competitors in the A110's range of small nimble sports cars:

[3]  The combustion engine has a future. The A110's engine is great but perhaps Koenigsegg’s 2.0-liter no-camshaft engine will be a game-changer.

Image: www.roada ndtr

[4]  Getting rid of the undue flatness of the door segment the wheels segments do not stand out anymore. That is not a sacrifice.
In fact the Alpine team made the opposite (bad) decision. They made the doors flat in order to make the wheels segment more standing out. A pity.

[5]  Creating the shape of a car is not about visual effects, it is about sculptural thinking.
In case of the A110 Sports X the designer team printed some graphical frills onto the car body. – Do they know this is for veneering questionable sculptural quality?


The 'flippant lout' of the 1960s . Image: Wikimedia Commons

[7]  Alpine logo, a draft: