(Mike Tippett, Peugeot 404 Coupe owner and Francoautophile, sent this to me. Pictures of the subject found A106 are by the author; copyright reserved. first posted 12/9/2013)
Back in 1981/82, I had a Dauphine with a transplanted 1300 cc engine, my friend Chris had an original Dauphine Gordini that we had brought back from the dead and Bruce (in the Adidas shirt) also later got a Dauphine, with an 1100 transplant. We were Renault keeners, with a particular interest in Dauphine era cars.
We all knew two guys in Vancouver BC who have had interesting Renaults since the 1970s: Doug Carlisle and Jim Barker. Jim had an 8 Gordini, and Doug now owns one 8G plus two more in parts. Somehow back in the late seventies they found out about the fellow who owns the A106. The owner had a shop on Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) near Seattle back then, called Monza Motors; that’s probably how they found him. Anyway Jim and Doug told Bruce, Chris and me about the A106, but were playing coy about where it was located.
In ’81 and again in ’82 we went to Monza Motors and talked to the owner but he didn’t say anything the A106, although he did have a Matra Djet IV in his Monza Motors shop. The Djet has a twincam 1 litre Renault-derived engine!
Anyway in 1983 we were dropping a German friend (Reiner Plass) off at Sea-Tac for his flight back home…we were running late because Bruce’s 17 Gordini kept breaking down on I-5…Reiner wanted to go with us on the A106 search too but we had to drop him off at the airport due to the 17G’s trick fuel pump which cost us an hour. On the way home in North Seattle we snooped through the phone book and got a home address for the owner of Monza Motors. We drove around the area and couldn’t see anything and then Chris said: “hey look at the old Porsche”. Well that was the A106 under the tree. We knocked on the door and the owner’s young son (probably 12 years old) came out and showed us the car, we snapped the shots and sent them to Reiner.
We had intermittent contact with the owner (who doesn’t want his name published) over the years, but he is attached to that car for reasons I mentioned before and so he says he will never sell it. I even had an extremely proficient and well stocked Alpine collector from France asks me how to contact the owner and I told him how, warning him that he won’t sell, and well, he wouldn’t!
I wondered over the years what became of it so I looked the owner up again in 2007. We drove to Seattle to get my eldest daughter’s graduation dress and on the way back we stopped by. Now the car was in a large workshop on the same property, with all the outdoor patina intact. He won’t sell it because it has too much sentimental value (he says). The owner bought the car in the mid-sixties when he was posted to West Germany and brought it back with him. The car has oversized 7″ headlights instead of the 5.75″ ones it should have, US laws can be thanked for that.
It is fitted with a tow bar bracket on the front , so the front bumper trim (aluminum/vinyl) is missing, but the car is remarkably complete. I think it needs a donor 4CV chassis to be rebuilt, but the A106s are so rare that a mega buck restoration is economically feasible these days. The owner also still has a Matra Djet IV, but that is another story…
A brief overview of the Alpine 106 by PN: The A106 was based on the Renault 4CV, and was the first in a series of fiberglass sports cars (all based on Renaults) built for a race-oriented Renault dealer in Dieppe, Jean Rédélé.
image source: worldcarlist.com
The A106s were built in a various states of tune, from a mild 21 hp up to a 59 hp Dauphine-engined version. Unusual for this time, it could be ordered with a five-speed gear box, but at a very steep incremental cost. The A106 weighed some 1190 lbs (540 kg), and enjoyed some considerable in its racing class. Since only about 650 A106s were ever built, finding one in the US is quite a find.
The 106 was superseded by the A108 (Dauphine based) and similar-looking A110 (R8 based). These “French Porsches” were successful in rally racing, winning the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally, among others. Various engine tunes were available, the top version having a Renault 16 based engine with 125 hp, and a top speed of 210 kmh (130 mph). Some A110s were even used by the French highway police.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. What cars should be.
And that policeman’s /2 is something I’d also love to own.
Wow, what a treasure and what a find! I never knew about the A106 (nor the Matra Djet, which I like even more). What a transformation from 4CV ugly duck to swan.
That A110 police car is incredibly cool. Imagine the surprise if a state cop pulled you over in one of those!
Nice I shot a A110 recently it was on the NZ Targa run. Its on the cohort ,never seen a 106 though,
Criminy, what a fantastic run of articles. This Alpine is marvellous and the A110 is right alongside the SM in my fantasy garage.
More of this, give me a surfeit!
I have half a mind to go back there next year and have another look. I want to ask the owner if he will let us wash the car (!!) and maybe wheel it out of the shop for some photos!!! I may arrange this visit with my old buddies Chris and Bruce. I’ll let you all know…
The only correction is to my introduction by Paul: I have a 404 Coupé, not a Cabriolet.
Right…. I had to screw something up!
Having either officially makes “a lucky man”. Enjoy it!
how much is one of these in poor shape.?
Ted Wilkinson, owner of Wilkinson’s Automobilia in Vancouver, used to have an A110. Don’tknow if he still has it.
Yeah there are a couple of A110s in the Vancouver area, including a Mexican Dinalpin 110. Ted’s 5 speed grenaded years ago and I think he sold it with a 4 speed in it.
Lovely article and as a Renault R8S owner (see my avatar) I know these and they are as rare as hen’s teeth and very much appreciated cars.
Jean Redele, the Alpine founder from Dieppe France his heritage is still alive, today the works are called Renault Sport the place where the really hot Megane’s are built .
The factory is even still in the same place,the surroundings have been turned into a
Renault were among the first to introduce a hot version on a production car, the Dauphine Gordini way back then.
I have seen a couple of these A106’s in France and every Alpine owner who is fortunate enough has an Alpine A 106 on his shortlist.
Thanks for a great read and pictures.I’ve never seen one and magazine articles are scarce.A real beauty,up there with the Citroen SM,DS and Facel Vega
Great story. I love these stories of searching out some rumored cool car. So often, the rumors cannot be verified (or the car turns out to be so much less than advertised), but you actually found it. I had no idea about these, so your tale was educational as well.
What a neat little car. Looks a bit shabby but still savable. Perhaps the son will one day do something with it.
Wow, how cool is this thing? I’m a little embarrassed to admit this is the first I’ve ever heard of an A106 (or A108 for that matter). I’d like to consider myself pretty well-versed on old French cars, but I had always assumed the only thing Alpine built before the A110 were racing cars. Do the modified headlights mean that these were actually sold new in the US at one point, or is that just a consequence of this particular car being “federalized” (as a private/grey market import) early on in its life?
Big +1 on alistair’s comment above as well. I enjoy B-bodies and Panthers as much as the next guy, but we’ve had a real nice run of exotic and obscure rides going back to the Alfa from last week. In my ideal world, classic Lancias and Renaults would be as common on the streets (and as cheap) as Crown Victorias, but I guess that’s also part of what makes finding a car like this so special.
I got out of work early today, thanks to the snow, and this story inspired me to go looking for a Citroen GS I’ve been hunting for awhile, but all I have to show for the effort is a runny nose 🙁
The car was a private import from Europe back in the Sixties, but I guess the Feds or Washington state made the owner install 7 inch headlights in the nose. It will look better with the originals of course!
Mike, these were imported in the USA, not many but they were imported and were mainly used for racing in the lower-classes. So the US 7″ headlight modification was available for US models.
(The US Dauphines also had 7″ headlights while Euro cars had 5.3/4″ headlights)
Advantage of these is the engine is a Dauphine 4CV basically in a tuned version.
I’d have to investigate if Gordini also supplied engines for these, but one can imagine that Jean Redele would prefer the Dauphine Gordini engine.
That doesn’t surprise me, however this one was privately imported from Europe in the 1960s.
The funny thing about the Dauphine is that the 1093 had the larger 180 mm headlights (using the hood of the US/CDN version) and Renault made a big fuss about the “unusually large” headlights in that version!
There was an A106 for sale in Alabama about two years ago. It was diassembled and needed a complete restoration.
Only 6 were imported to the US. This was a private import so there must be 7 Renault Alpine A 106 in the USA. But where are they?
I think it is better looking than a 356… Nice find.
The A110 is an attractive car but not one for me; I found even my wee size 8s had issues with the tiny pedalbox which was pushed heavily over to one side. That and the driving position was very reclined- not something I’m keen on.
I have visited the man last year and he still does not want to sell the Alpine 106.
… and quite possibly he is neither willing nor able to even begin restoring it either, since (if I read correctly) this exceptional car was already rotting under a tree in 1983. What a waste. Keep pestering him :-)!
Klaas, He does not want to sell ? Maybe he would like to trade. I have a TRACKMASTER BULTACO (June 15) listed on VINTAGE FLAT TRACK . This is a restored collector motorcycle of which there is only one in existence
I live in California. Sentimental value aside, how complete is the car ? Are there rust issues ? What is the condition of the engine ? thanks
Klaas just bought this car! Good man!
Yes! Bought it and she is on it’s way to Europa!
See also http://www.renault4cv.nl
I can tell you guys are very much into these vehicles. I know exactly where one is in the US and was trying to find information about them and hoping someone can email me that is knowledgeable and I can send a picture of it .
It is a 1956 all original .
Nice find and she looks to be in great shape too. At least much better than mine….
Any idear if it is for sale at all? I might know someone in the USA who has interest. You can e-mail me at email@example.com
Could you give us an update ? How is it now ?
Sure this is how it looks now.
Very cool. I am glad it got an owner willing to put some work into it. Thanks for the update.
Interior and inside of trunk painted.
Almost ready for paint.
Almost ready for paint
Any idea what this one is.. it’s just sitting in a storage
Here it is
Is this a106 for sale?
Chappe et Gessalin!
This means it is a plastic body. I always thought those early Alpine were sheet metal. And those pics above (from Klaas) are showing sheet metal, I think. Or maybe Alpine produced both versions, which I can hardly believe. Renault as later owner definetely only used plastic body.
Glasfiber body. Metal chassis.
Any ideas? It’s in california. Parked in storage since around 1983. Drove great when parked?
It’s a neat little car . Would love to know more about it and there’s not much on the Internet about these .
Looks nice, is it for sale?
It’s an A106, and looks to be in fine shape. Much sought after in Europe. The Renault club would be a great source for parts and restoration assistance. That little car is a gem !
About 15 or more years ago I was driving west on 18th (or whatever) street in San Francisco. There was a shop (kind of behind walls) that worked on old cars. A black Renault Dauphine pulled out in front of me. Awesome! Hadn’t seen one of those in years, since they all self destructed rather quickly. I had driven a friend’s Dauphine in high school. I still remember the wooden spoon in a bucket of ice cubes shifter. Unlike a VW you pushed the stick in the general direction of the next gear instead of following the pattern. Also I owned a 16 for a few years.
Anyway I was following right behind it thinking these thoughts. Then the engine compartment of the Dauphine burst into flames. I can still see the rear grill pattern lit up by the yellow flames behind it.
No doubt it had been restored, probably overhauled, and a fuel line was loose.
Back to square one plus a penalty.
Rear-engine cars, especially with swing axles, aren’t my thing, but I keep coming back to this article, which I somehow missed when it first ran. I hadn’t been aware of any Alpines besides the A110 and A310.
The appeal for me is the car’s rarity, this example’s backstory, and the fact that it was local to me for years, even if I didn’t know about it. (I moved to Seattle in July 1981.) It isn’t hard on the eye either!
With the 21 hp engine, an A106 would have 56.7 lb/hp. With the 59 hp engine, 20.2 lb/hp—much better!
When I got to Seattle I asked around about places to have my Saab 96 serviced, and someone mentioned Monza Motors, but I don’t know if it was the same shop. I never actually went there.
If the owner was old enough to be posted to West Germany and buy the car in the mid-60s, then he can’t be a spring chicken now. I’m guessing that he finally decided that realistically the car wasn’t going to be restored on his watch. Klaas, since you say on your blog that the Washington license plate is from 1967, it sounds like he registered it for only a few years. Did you find out what led him to sideline it?
How close is the car to being fully restored? From the photos on your blog, I assume pretty close.
Staxman, as you can see on my Blog/website i received the 106 back from the upholstery shop. Now i am fitting the doors and rear side windows.
After this i hope to make an appointment for technical check and get a Dutch number plate.
I have also sent photo’s to the previous owner near Seattle to show the progress.
Finally after two and a half years the Alpine 106 is restored and ready.
What a difference to its condition when it was sitting outside in the backyard in 1983, congratulations!