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A110 1800 Gr. IV "1972 OLYMPIC RALLY"






23-25 JUNE 1972

© Todor Tomov []


The Takov brothers driving their Berlinette uphill In front of the Golden Sands of the Black Sea near Sliven in the background.

© Todor Tomov []


"Le Bleus" from left to right: 1600S Tchoubrikov, 1800Gr.IV Takov and the A110 1800 Gr. IV by Maurice Nussbaumer, as well as various Bulgaralpines in red and yellow.

A special feature with which the racing department in Dieppe equipped the vehicles, were bumpers and bumper horns in different colors. They were used to identify the approaching vehicle from a distance. The Takov brothers Berlinette was delivered with orange bumpers and horns.

© Todor Tomov []

Starting grid in Albena – No. 7 the Takov brothers



13-19 AUGUST 1972


With the Olympic Rally in August 1972, Germany experienced one of the largest events of its kind to date – up to half a million fans marveled at the steering wheel artists along the streets.

More than 300 starters from 15 nations spent one week racing through 65 special stages between Kiel and Munich over a total distance of 3,300 km.


In the run-up to the Munich Games, the majority of the world's rally elite competed in the "Olympic Rally" from 13 to 19 August 1972. The first general assembly of the international rally elite in Germany became a mammoth event with gigantic organizational effort.

Works teams from Alpine, Ford, BMW, Opel and Datsun rolled to the start. Everyone with rank and name in the rally guild was there. Nicolas and Darniche (Alpine), Warmbold and Aaltonen (BMW), Mikkola and Glemser (Ford), Kulläng and Ragnotti, Greder and Madame Beaumont (all Opel). And, of course, the entire German elite.

And there was another person, but nobody really knew him at that time. Röhrl, first name Walter, with co-driver Hannes Rothfuß. When the 25-year-old from Regensburg set his first best times in the Capri RS right at the beginning, everyone was baffled. Questions upon questions, also from those responsible: "Where does he come from? What has he done so far? This just cannot be!!

And then there was such a small, rather inconspicuous little man, who did his job as a passenger on the hot seat in the winning Alpine of his French buddy Jean-Pierre Nicolas. We're talking about Jean Todt, who wriggled out of the blue winning Alpine 1800, puffed up his thick hamster cheeks to the limit and looked into the group of photographers with a broad grin. Yes, exactly Jean Todt, later Ferrari General and former FIA President.



The special stage no. 36 in Schlüchtern resulted in the premature end for the Takov brothers.

The Bulgarian Illja Tchoubrikov, in his capacity as a licensee and producer of the so-called "Bulgaralpine" manufactured in Bulgaria, maintained a good relationship with Jean Rédélé. He was also not a blank slate as a driver on the rally tracks of Eastern Europe. With his friend and companion Yancho Takov, son of the then Minister of Foreign Trade of Bulgaria Peko Takov, he visited the sports department of Alpine Renault in 1972 to inspect the 1600S factory Alpine he had ordered. During this visit, Yancho Takov showed sustained interest in a Berlinette 1800 Gr. IV, originally prepared for Ove Andersson. He was given the opportunity to purchase the vehicle directly from Jean Rédélé. Thus, these two factory berlinettes found their way behind the Iron Curtain to Bulgaria, as the only real "Client Competition".


1974 POLAND RALLY 1974

12-13 JULY 1974


The 34th Rally Poland was held from 12 to 13 July 1974, starting and finishing in Kraków. The rally had 27 special stages and was the sixteenth round of the European Rally Championship, as well as the third round of the Peace and Friendship Rally Cup.

The rally was not successful organizationally. Sobiesław Zasada collided head-on on the twelfth special section of Górka-Strachocina with the race steward’s car that was driving along in the opposite direction on this section. At the end, there were inconsistencies with time keeping and the creation of the overall classification.

© Robert Szombati Collection

© Robert Szombati Collection, András Fekete


The team Radislav Petkov/Gantcho Gantchev in the CK-0171 in front of a scenic backdrop over unpaved gravel roads, somewhere in the Polish countryside.



21-22 JUNE 1975


The spectator interest in rallying in the Eastern Bloc was overwhelming at the beginning of the 70s, as this photo impressively confirms. Many spectators wanted to catch a glimpse of the cars, speeding by and jostled for the best viewing spots at the edge of the track, or at the adjacent grandstands and parking garages.

© Nicolay Krazalev


Another change of ownership brought Ivan Nikolov into the cockpit of the former CK-0171 in 1975, which was accompanied by another license plate change. CK-0172 was to be the distinguishing feature of this Berlinette in the future. Ivan Nikolov took part in various rallies and hill climbs in Bulgaria and Poland and led the car to the title of "Bulgarian Rally Champion" in 1975.

© Robert Szombati Collection


The only two A110 1800 Gr. IV standing peacefully side by side behind the Iron Curtain in the Parc Fermè.

No. 9; the former factory Alpine 9846HL76, now piloted by the Hungarian Attila Ferjancz.

© Robert Szombati Collection



Already in 1976, the vehicle shows clear signs of struggle from hard rally use and insufficient maintenance. However, she still appears to be roadworthy and the owner Ivan Nikolov continues to use her in local rallies. The lack of spare parts supply in Bulgaria, as well as the insufficient maintenance is clearly visible on the vehicle.




Placed in the backyard next to garbage cans and rubbish, it seems as if the days of this Berlinette were numbered.

The question of whether she was still roadworthy at this stage remained unanswered. For many years she remained missing in Bulgaria, was maltreated, plundered and faced an uncertain fate.






MARCH 2004

Cyril Mancel, the son of BERLINETTE MAG publishers Jean-Jacques & Monika Mancel, was once the owner of the remains of this hitherto unknown Berlinette.

According to customs documents, in October 1993 she found her way back from Bulgaria to her country of origin in France. It was obvious that it was an original competition version, which did not remain hidden from the connoisseur due to various features. Nevertheless, no one set out to restore this special vehicle or to research its exact history.

The opposite was the case, it was exploited over the years, plundered and robbed of its rare cultivation parts. At the end of her Oddysee she stood there, naked and desecrated, more dead than alive and it was more than uncertain whether she would ever be brought back to life.

A phone call from Monika Mancel to me in March 2004 was to put an end to her bleak fate. I took over the wreck from Cyril Mancel and immediately began to research the history of the vehicle and search for the missing parts.

Originally, it was assumed by our French friends that it was the A110 1600S formally owned by Illya Tchoubrikov, who had very good contacts with Jean Rédélé. As a producer and licensee for the low-volume Bulgaralpine, Tchoubrikov received a 1600S factory Berlinette from the racing department. However, as photo documents show, this had a narrow body, which is why it was quickly eliminated as a candidate. However, I had managed to speak to Illya Tchoubrikov on the phone. He informed me about the two A110 "Competition Client" that found their way to Bulgaria.

It happened in 1972, when Tchoubrikov visited the Alpine plant in Dieppe with his friend Yancho Takov. On site, in the hallowed halls of the racing department "Service Courses" stood the said Alpine 1800 Gr. IV, with wide fenders and orange bumpers, which aroused Takovs yearning to purchase it. According to Illya Tchoubrikov, the vehicle had originally been prepared for Ove Andersson, which Takov confirmed in a later telephone conversation.Whatever the background to this deal may have been it is ultimately eludes my knowledge.

However, Yancho Takov was able to purchase this exceptional A110 1800 Gr. IV and transfer it to Bulgaria. GillesVallerian's vehicle register stated that the vehicle was one of the first five to be fitted with the wide Group 4 fenders of the type "Ailes Plates". The following photo gallery shows the condition in which I have found and purchased the wreck.






In 2004, my knowledge and skills regarding the processing of polyester resin and fiberglass mats were almost non existent. I decided to have the body work carried out by an alleged specialist near Passau, who already had experience with the restoration of A110 bodies.

For more than 8 years, the body remained with said specialist, without him having achieved anything of significance.

Cut into 3 parts and with no discernible progress in restoration, I received the wreck back in 2012. The down payment made at the beginning, a 5-figuer amount, was unlawfully withheld by the contractor, despite the non performance of the service and was not refunded.

Without wishing to name names, the dubious behavior of this contractor was one of the low points of my experience in awarding contracts to third parties. I can only strongly warn against such self appointed specialists and encourage everyone to double check the provider of their choice, for reputability and professional competence.


Meanwhile, 8 years had passed, and I had been forced to deal with the processing of polyester resin and glass fiber mats, gain further education and expanded my manual skills in this regard.

As luck would have it, an elderly gentleman in my immediate neighborhood rented out kayaks made of GRP and also repaired them. I discovered that this gentleman had 40 years of experience in the production of motorsport parts made of GRP, primarily for the Irmscher company. Friendship was quickly made and I went back into apprenticeship, so to speak, in order to gain knowledge and skills in GRP processing. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to GRP expert and friend Willi Deppert, whose valuable advice along with helpful tips and tricks contributed significantly to the successful and professional restoration of my Berlinette.

Within a year I was able to complete the time-consuming work on the polyester body of this A110 1800 Gr. IV. Meanwhile, there was a lot of research to do in order to be able to carry out the restoration as promptly and as authentically and faithfully as possible. As one of the first vehicles with wide fenders of the Group 4, it still retained the well-known form of the production model, a shark-like mouth, located under the bumper air intake for the front radiator. Inside, however, significant changes compared to the production model were noticeable. A deep radiator shaft led the air to an enlarged water cooler, which came from the R16. The oil cooler, normally located in the rear, was placed alongside the radiator. As a precaution, a large fan, also from the R16, ensured the air flow at high temperatures or stop & go operation

In contrast to the following Group 4 model, the battery remained at the bottom behind the water cooler and found its place in a box made of fiberglass. This is the factory's new constellation for Group 4 vehicles in order to take the increased engine power and the associated higher cooling requirements into account.





All the preparatory work necessary for painting was done and the vehicle was then sent to a master painter, one who had already painted other Alpine of mine. The experience gained with the previous vehicles is always incorporated into the latest project and thus contributes to an ever higher quality standard. Fine-tuning is now the order of the day and nothing is left to chance. Lost light edges, which extend from the main headlight over the front fender, the door, to the end of the rear fender, were remodeled and made visible again.

Spray filler, filler, varnish and clear coat, coupled with endless grinding work – the procedure is always the same. However, the quality of the painting is not only determined by the painting process itself, but also by the dedication, care and attention with which one has previously devoted oneself to the surfaces, corners and edges.





After duty follows the cure. All attachments have been carefully revised and prepared and have been on the shelf ready for installation for months. Planning is everything and the only way to ensure that the work does not come to a standstill due to missing parts. The arduous time, in which, despite many hours of work, hardly any progress was visible, is a thing of the past. Every component, no matter how small, now finds its original place in the vehicle and remains there. The sculpture gradually takes shape and with every hour of work that is given to the project, it moves closer to its completion.





APRIL 2014


It has been a long road with trials and tribulations, with highs, lows, obstacles and personal disappointments, but giving up was never an option. Ten years after the purchase of the wreck and just 2 years after I took the body work into my own hands, she rolled onto the street in the Swabian Forest for the first photo shoot. Forgotten are the adversities that accompanied the restoration work.

The joy at the sight of this unique OLYMPIA RALLY Berlinette prevails and the fact that this formerly scrapped and lost A110 is back to life, awakens a feeling of satisfaction and also a little pride.