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A110 1800 Gr. IV "Morocco Rally 1974"

Updated: May 1, 2023






08-13 MAY 1974


victorious in the desert

The Morocco Rally was an integral part of the World Rally Championship in 1973, 1975 & 1976.

Almost 4000km that included 11 special stages on gravel with a total length of 1,240km had to be mastered within a time period of 4 days.

ALPINE brought two A110 1800 Berlinettes, specially prepared for the exertions in the desert, to the start line.

The car with the registration number 2004HS76 carried the start no. 1 and was driven by Bernard Darniche.

The later victorious car with start no. 3, recognizable by the license plate 2005HS76, was driven by Jean Pierre Nicolas with co-pilot Christian Delferrier. RENAULT was also represented with two R17s, which were driven by Jean-Luc Thérier and Jean-François Piot.

© McKlein


3rd special stage – 880km

After almost 4 days through the desert on material murdering donkey trails, team Nicolas/Delferrier reached the small town of Tansikht, the next starting point for the 260km long stages to Rissani.

Early the next day at 2 am in the morning, the race continued towards Marrakech – but first it was necessary to overcome the 2,260m high "Col du Tischka".

The air was cold and became thinner and thinner with increasing altitude. Nicolas soon complained about declining engine power via on-board radio and he was also worried about the constantly rising water temperature.

His mechanics were at a loss to know what was wrong, since as everything was perfect the previous day.

When he arrived at the service point, the warning light of the water temperature was glowing red and the Jaeger instrument indicates130°C water temperature. The mechanics were totally confused, because the cylinder head showed no signs of overheating. Nicolas was sent back to the track despite all the warning signals. Soon afterwards he gave the all-clear over the radio: "... don't worry, the water temperature indicator is malfunctioning".

Jean Pierre Nicolas was well prepared and benefited from the experience he had gained at the East African Safari Rally in 1973. He won the 1974 Morocco Rally 22 minutes ahead of his teammate Thérier on R17. Alpine and Renault took the top five places in the overall standings at the end of the rally. However, for the sake of correctness, it should be mentioned that a combination of different circumstances resulted in the absence of some prestigious manufacturers. Alpine-Renault therefore had an easy run in this victory.


The "MAROC" was a legendary and incomparable rally - only a "SAFARI" posed similar challenges to the drivers, materials and logistics. Special stages of extreme length were characteristic of the Morocco Rally.

The notorious "Transmaroccaine" extended over a distance of approximately 600 km and required two refueling stops. The route was murderous - dirt roads, bone-dry gravel roads, river and endless desert crossings demanded almost superhuman skills, from participants and their vehicles.

© Le Tahitien


The tire manufacturer MICHELIN developed special new gravel tires of type RC for the Morocco Rally 1974.

CB radio on board was mandatory, as well as the armor plating of the underbody with protectors made of steel, aluminium and fiberglass. One of the two works alpines, Bernard Darniche's abandoned the rally during the first special stage with gearbox failure. After Team Piot/de Alexandris temporarily held the lead on R17, they also had to park their R17 prematurely, due to suspension problems.

In the "Service Courses" competition department, the works cars were prepared for tough rallying. In the foreground from left to right, the 2004HS76 & 2005HS76 during service work, before the Morocco Rally 1974.




A rally queen gone astray. Under Swiss leadership, the 2005HS76 was used at the 3-hour race in Hockenheim.

Take note of the very light GT rims in 7 & 10 inch width, which are rather atypical for a factory car.

© Ruedi R. Mettler



17-31 MARCH 1975


The first East African Safari Rally took place in 1953 in honour of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and run mainly through East Africa. The starting locations are variable, sometimes in Kampala / Uganda, sometimes in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam – covering up to 6,000km. In Kenya and neighbouring countries, the safari has always been an event of national importance and occupies the front pages of the daily newspapers, even politics recedes into the background.

Well-known manufacturers such as Lancia, Peugeot, Datsun, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Alpine-Renault competed in 1975 to win the prestigious safari.

At that time, a victory at the Safari resulted in a maximum worldwide advertising impact and was therefore at the top of the wish list of well-known car manufacturers.

After winning the title of World Rally Champion the year before, Alpine-Renault were not aiming to collect World Championship points in 1975. Their focus was on participating in prestigious events such as the Safari Rally, which was intended to bring the greatest possible publicity to the brand.

© McKlein


Nairobi, Conference Centre, Thursday afternoon 16.00.

79 vehicles present themselves under the starter flag to the impatiently waiting crowd.

The atmosphere at the pre-start seemed almost relaxed and contemplative. Nobody could have ever suspected the debacle Renault and ALPINE would experience during this rally. Arriving with two factory Alpines of the type A110 1800 and two R17s, not one single vehicle of the French manufacturer made it to the finish. Jean-Luc Thérier/Michel Vial – this was the crew for the A110 1800 with the registration number 2005HS76, which had previously won the 1974 Morocco Rally.

Unforgettable are the incidents of last year, when Nicolas rammed a VW bus during training in Africa, injured himself considerably and completely destroyed his Berlinette. Nicolas was no longer able to participate in such a difficult rally, which resulted in Jacques Cheinisse being forced to look for a "local driver". He found the young Robert Combes to pilot the second factory Alpine with the registration number 2004HS76, with co-driver Gerry Davies.

It had already been anticipated, that both Alpine works cars would not overcome the challenge of the Safari Rallye and would retire prematurely. Even the Peugeot 504 of Hannu Mikkola/Jean Todt – standing here next to the Thérier/Vial Berlinette – had drop out prematurely due to a serious accident. After the failure of both Berlinettes, Jean Francois Piot, who was a victory contender in the race on R17, wanted to save the day, but unfortunately he also lost his 4th place overall just a few hours before the end of the race.

© McKlein


The special equipment of a Berlinette prepared for the factory for the "Safari" included the striking running board at the rear of the vehicle, along with grab handles on the back of the rear fenders. On muddy terrain, the co-driver then had the possibility of putting more weight on the rear axle, by jumping on the running board, resulting in better traction for the rear wheels. Also clearly visible is the specially mounted air filter box in the left rear fender, which allowed among other things, the air intake to be drawn from the interior of the passenger compartment, if necessary.

Typical for the safari works cars was the obligatory searchlight on the right front fender, which had to be mounted on each vehicle. The antenna mounted on the roof, bears witness to the CB radio equipment on board, which was essential if one did not want to get lost, in the savannah of Africa.

In addition to the two factory alpines, there were other Alpine A110`s in the starting field. The French team Bob Neyret/ Jaques Terramorsi brought their former factory Alpine to the start as well as Willem van Dyk his private A110.

Finally, the private driver and "Wildlife Scupltor" Robert "Rob" Glen should be mentioned, who brought his newly purchased A110 1800, specially prepared by the factory for the safari, to the safari rally for the first time.


Jean-Luc Thérier raced his factory Alpine over sandy and dusty terrain, despite the numerous locals standing at the edge of the slope. Water and oil temperature were within the normal range and there was no cause for concern.

However, they were racing along the dustiest section of the entire rally when, slowly but surely, quietly trouble started.

The engine, which had sucked in the dusty-red earth, started to stutter, performance dropped ..., rien ne vas plus!

Despite a special air filter box, this insidious substance gained access to the drive unit, resulting in the failure of the

Thérier/Vial team.





In January 1977, the former 2005HS76 found its new owner in Finnland. Timo Makela purchased the former factory Alpine with various spare parts. The strains of the Morocco and Safari Rally were barely visible. What was waiting for this historic factory alpine in Finland from then on far outshone even the tough requirements of a factory operation.


Under the hands of its subsequent owners in the far north, the ex 2005HS76 was uncompromisingly modified for rally cross or ice racing. Initially only moderately changed, she was hardly recognizable at the end of her period of suffering.

Many thanks to Jukka Suvisalmi for his help and support in clarifying the vehicle history of Finland.







Slightly more than a handful of factory alpines with factory rally history left their home country France in the mid-seventies, after they were no longer competitive on the rally tracks.

In the mid-70s, private drivers of different nationalities and origins used the discarded Berlinettes of the "Equipe Trikolore" for different purposes. Whether on rallies, hill climbs, circuits, autocross or even ice races - hardly any purpose was left out, to almost obliterate the vehicles after the hard factory rallying. The fate of these vehicles was varied, but often it ended in a true metamorphosis of the vehicles and only a few survived the following years in their original state of preservation.

Former factory alpines with a significant history found their way to new owners around the globe, Austria, Switzerland, England and behind the Iron Curtain to Hungary and Bulgaria, and also across the pond to the USA and Canada and further afield. However, there was rarely more than one model sold to the same country.

Finally, Finnland was the destination of the former winning car of the 1974 Morocco Rally, then driven by Nicolas/ Delferrier. She carried the French registration plate number 2005HS76 and was prepared a year later in 1975 by the factory for the difficult East African Safari Rally, in which the team Thérier/Vial had to park their Berlinette prematurely, because of engine failure.

The exertions of a safari rally were, at best, a piece of cake, when compared withthen went through, after being sold to Finland in 1976. From then on, this particular A110 1800 was used in autocross and ice races, which was accompanied by considerable modifications of the vehicle. The coup de grace was given to the vehicle by a person or persons unknown to us, in all probability the last owner in the 1980s. The vehicle was completely modified - the chassis including engine, transmission and chassis removed and then robbed of all attachments.


2004 / 2014


This "Kit Car" finally found its way to Germany. I first encountered this Berlinette in 2004 but, seeing as I already had a project in the works, I refrained from buying or restoring this interesting, but also extremely complex vehicle.

The vehicle had been up for sale several times and most probably passed through the hands of several owners, before I found it again in the summer of 2014 by a lucky coincidence. The vehicle was still unchanged - no one had tackled the restoration. Almost 10 years after the first encounter during which our attitude, our assessment and the significance of the restoration had changed noticeably. The decision to immediately purchase the residual substance of the 2005HS76 was made quickly and was only a mere formality.

Admittedly - only little remained of the original substance after I had separated it from the Finnish "craft kit". However, there were components and features of the original vehicle, which helped document its origin beyond a doubt and justified the restoration. After removing all sorts of filler and fiberglass mats, the original substance came to light. Red and light blue paint remnants testified to the former factory paint and even the hole for the previously mounted antenna in the middle of the roof was still visible. Much clearer, however, was the sign language on the door hinges - the engraved body number 6711 identified the vehicle beyond doubt as "Voiture Usine", the winning vehicle at the "Rallye du Maroc 1974". Fortunately, during the restoration I was able to find, among other things, the original Mignotet cylinder head with the serial number MS 67.







The faithful restoration of a former factory rally car is a complex, time consuming and costly affair in every respect.

Many lost and rare original parts must be procured again, which, if they have been found, usually must be laboriously adapted to the vehicle. Immediate and without some minor, but mainly major rework, none of the parts fit and so hundreds of hours of adaptation work quickly add up, without any significant progress being visible.

I became aware, I’m restoring an improvised, handmade French sportscar and not one of the Stuttgart prestige vehicles, designed on the drawing board, where I would certainly have been spared many hours of adaptation work.

Anyone can do it the simple way, at least that's my summary in view of the never ending adaptation work.

Uniformly narrow gaps are of course an issue in every high-quality classic car and a figurehead for how carefully the body has been worked on. With the A110, these are mostly "laissez-faire" and often resemble a mailbox slot, rather than a precisely measured door gap. Thus, it is permitted to add one's own signature, at least to a certain extent, in a restoration, in order to make suitable what does not seem appropriate.

Dear Dominique F., please forgive me for not being able to avoid optimizing the gap dimensions on this body. ;-)



MARCH 2015


Choosing the painter is often a gamble. After an initial odyssey I have been relying on the same company to implement my requirements and not shy away from elaborate multi-color painting over the last few years. However, the necessary work with adhesive tape and cutter knife, which is necessary for a factory painting from 1974, has always been done by me personally.

Over the years, an employee of said company has adapted and specialized to meet my requirements and needs, albeit reluctantly. Once I even heard him shouting: "... if you come again with an Alpine, I'll quit"! C'est la Vie.