The Meyrignac Alpine A110: A wheeled curriculum vitae

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When I was growing up, I dreamt of becoming a car designer.  I spent all my spare time sketching with pencils and biros on whatever flat white surface I could get my hands on. It took over my every waking moment, and my history and geography exercise books were made considerably less tedious by the outlandish sports cars doodled throughout.
What I really should have done was followed the example of one Denis Meryignac – translate my wildest dream into a 1:5 scale model and present it to somebody like Jean Rédélé, the founder of French rally car artisans Alpine.
Then, with a bit of luck, something awesome might happen.

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Denis, a Parisian teenager, had the presence of mind to do just this, and Jean Rédélé was impressed enough to build a full-scale prototype of Denis’ wedgy design on a set of Alpine A110 underpinnings.
The resultant, fully-functioning vehicle became a popular attraction at the 1977 Geneva Salon, becoming a rolling C.V. to showcase young Meyrignac’s design talents. He went on to become a freelance designer, eventually hired by French studio SERA where he worked on some 35 production cars, including several Audis.
So what do we think of it? It’s a striking looking thing, barely rising to knee height and providing a rather recumbent driving position for the pilot, with completely flat glass for the windshield and side windows.
It looks pretty handsome in a low front three-quarter view, and rather slinky from eye level.
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I find the side view a little more troublesome to the eye, the bulky rear section (where the motor hides) being unable to hide behind the contours which disappears it from other angles….
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….while the rear three-quarter view is somewhat lacking in appeal, even before we take into consideration what I believe are Super-Beetle rear lamp units.
Whatever you think of it, though, you have to admire Meyrignac’s attitude, and his design career certainly flourished more than mine.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)

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  1. mdharrell Avatar

    “…what I believe are Super-Beetle rear lamp units.”
    Beetle, certainly, but not necessarily Super Beetle. Even so they do make the whole effort come across as a kit car. Regrettable under the circumstances.

  2. mdharrell Avatar

    I do like its sliding door glass, low-slung body, and overall angularity. Very… French.
    http://image.automobilemag.com/f/26538064+w620+h413+q80+re0+cr1+ar0+st0/0911_04_z%2b1980_kv_mini_1%2bfront_three_quarter_view.jpg

  3. CraigSu Avatar
    CraigSu

    The side view reminds me of an anteater.

  4. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Like someone was given a blurry photo of a Sterling Nova and a cheese wedge and told to get on with it.
    http://www.nationalsterling.org/ebayphotos/CCC765/1.jpg

  5. Van_Sarockin Avatar
    Van_Sarockin

    I think it’s a very successful design – particularly coming from a teen. It has some issues that would make it pretty impractical as an actual car, without much effort and reworking – like the two inches of front wheel travel. The side windows look like they’d be awful in operation – at a time when French autoroutes had lots of toll booths. And the car would likely be an oven any time the sun was out. The lights are very poorly integrated, but a bit of reworking and pillaging more parts bins would sort that out. All in all, extremely impressive.

  6. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    The front end recalls, for me, the Vector W8 and Isdera Imperator.
    This is A Good Thing.

  7. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I love it.
    I hate it.
    I LOVE IT!

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