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A110 1800 Gr. IV "Safari Rally 1975"

CLIENT COMPETITION


 

HISTORY

 


AFRICAN QUEEN


Although the Alpine was originally designed as an asphalt lightweight racer only, but as development progressed it was adapted in order to endure the rigors of a safari rally as well.

The Scottish born ROBERT GLEN, who lives in Kenya, ordered this A110 1800 directly from the factory with all the available options to participate in the Safari Rally. The particular A110 was originally delivered in blue metallic, but received a new coat of paint in light yellow, after 2 years only.

The connoisseur does not hide the fact, that this is a very special Berlinette. As known from the 1600S, the vehicle was still equipped with a swing axle and 3-hole rims, but already had the fiberglas body of a 1600SC. This means: door knobs instead of door handles, air intake at the front without recess, air intakes above the rear bonnet, as well as a demontable rear section. The plaques identify this Berlinette as 1600VD, but that is actually incorrect, it should be assigned to the only 1800VA versions, built in very small numbers due to its features.

Rob Glen:


"I bought the car new from the factory, specially prepared for the Safari Rally, flew it to Kenya where I drove it for two years. As you can imagine, it was a fantastic car."









Robert "ROB" Glen recounts his memories as a driver at the 1975 Safari Rally:


The 1975 safari was interesting. We didn't finish, but had to retreat to Mazeras near Mombasa. During the famous Taita hill section, both the clutch and the brakes went, until halfway through the 75 km section.

I continued the drive to Malindi/Mombasa without either the brakes, nor the clutch was working, then to Mazera's control, where the engine quit its service due to a defective head gasket! Interestingly, we still completed sections without wasting time. We had an intercom in our helmets because the noise in the alpine was quite unbearable! The other interesting thing about this rally was the problems with the oil line that directs the oil from the front radiator to the engine. It leads past the accelerator pedal and so my foot started to burn after about 300 km! My service team regularly poured water on it, but it burned like hell. I couldn't feel the accelerator pedal at all, but I could hear the revs. My navigator, one of the very best, was the aircraft engineer Ian Street.




 

SEARCH AND RESCUE

 

WORLD TRIP

JANUARY 2001


NAIROBI - DOVER - STUTTGART

In January 2001 I received the information, a former Competition Alpine A110 which came from Africa, was for sale in England. I contacted the seller, an African, living in Birmingham and then received photos of the car via email, but unfortunately they really didn’t show very much. His asking price for this wreck was in astronomical ranges and after all, in his opinion and by African standards, the restoration was already almost complete.

Nevertheless, I made my way to Brimingham, too tempting was the thought, finding a pearl in the dirt. Well, I was not completely wrong about the dirt. The wreck standing in the backyard of a rather rundown terraced house was literally drowning in it! The sight of it was horrendous, the condition far worse than I had imagined in my wildest dreams. Nevertheless, based on the visible competition features, it was immediately clear, that this particular A110 had originally been built for rallying and it was either a real "Usine", or at least a "Client Competition" version.

During the sales negotiations it became clear, that I was not the first to inspect this wreck. Former Formel 1 driver and Alpine lover Eric Comas had most likely viewed it just a few days before me. Why Eric did not purchase the car is beyond my knowledge. However, I suspect that he was also not impressed by the completely inflated asking price, which was placed in the 6-digit range. So, I too left the scenery without accomplishing anything. Admittedly a bit frustrated and annoyed due to the unrealistic ideas of the seller, but it made it easier for me, to quickly forget this project.

Almost a year later, I received another message from the seller - the wreck was still for sale.

Newly tough negotiations began, which after a few days led to a final agreement. Shortly afterwards, the handover of what I thought was a pearl, took place in Dover. At that time, I was not aware of how much physical and mental strength this project would demand from me.




 

BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS

 

GREAT THINGS NEVER COME FROM COMFORT ZONES




PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT

Originally, this slogan adorned the BMW V12 LMR Art Car. Within my family, it mutated into a "running gag"over the years. Again and again new projects came my way, which I just could not resist.

They all had one thing in common. After the joy of the find, the disillusionment about the catastrophic condition and the upcoming work quickly took over. What initially looked only half bad and feasible, turned into a nightmare.


Thus, during the lengthy restoration work, the thought arose quite a few times:

“why do I do this to myself, why was there no one to stop me from this project"?













 


DISASSEMBLY

FEBRUARY 2011


When the car was dismantled, red African desert sand trickled out of all niches and cavities. In view of the details of an "African restoration" that are now becoming apparent to me, this remained one of the very few amusing incidents during the dismantling of the car. I had wondered about the special color of the "paintwork" from the beginning, but most probably just paid too little attention to it, which was soon to take revenge. It turned out, that the entire outer skin was painted or coated with a stubborn Epoxid coating. The layer thickness was almost one millimeter and even the angle grinder had a hard time, removing this lubricating, resistant coating.

What followed was exasperating, the body work became a nightmare. However, I wanted to save as much of the original substance as possible and not take the easy way by out by using a new body. So, there was only one viable way - to cutoff parts of the body and replace them with new parts.

The chassis as well as some add-on parts, offered some pleasant surprises. Reinforcements on the frame, quick jack at the rear frame, reinforced uprights and drilled wheel hubs at the front axle, originally comming from the1600SC.

Reinforced wishbones type "MAROC", underbody protection made of GRP and a underride protection plate made of aluminium.



 

BODY WORK

JANUARY 2012


SHAPING

Some sections of the body had to be completely renewed, because the original substance was too bad to be repaired. The holes drilled witlessly in the dashboard were closed, the typical A110 plywood panels in the floor were laminated, the "Ailes Bulles" fenders, which were later to be riveted, adapted and provisionally bolted to the body. The roof consists of two shells made of GRP, of which the inner one also had to be renewed.

The authentic foamed material for the ceiling in rice grain optics, could only be procured with a lot of luck and effort in the Citroen scene. In the absence of a supplier, I had to make the underbody protection made of GRP with backsplash on the door sills, which is typical for hard core rally A110. The original protection plate, which came with the wreck, served as a template for the self-made mould.


Finally, the self-designed aluminium tank found its original place and disappeared behind the original GRP moulded elements, originally made for this purpose. Purists may turn up their noses at the fact, no flexible aircraft tank similar to the original was used. However, since the car is no longer to be used in racing, I considered this to be the better and more durable variant.



 

POWER PLANT

MAY 2012


WEDDING TIME

Visually, the engine differs only slightly, comparing to a production vehicle. On closer inspection, one discovers one or the other special feature, such as the improvised welded on reinforcing plates on the dome of the axle crossmember,

at the area of shock absorber mounting. The shape of the cooling water pipes also differs from a serial 1600S.


The newly built 1796cc racing engine delivers almost 175 hp and carries as a special feature, a hand welded Mignotet oil pan with cooling fins, which were typical for these works cars.

The type 364 gearbox with big cv-joints and bigger axle shafts is mandatory. On the other hand, a lightweight flywheel made of aluminium, as well as a sintered metal clutch, represent an upgrade from which the engine benefits in its revving ability.



 

LACQUERING

JUNE 2012


BLUE MAGIC

There is no need to go into a repeat detailed description of the painting process.

The virtually magical Alpine Blue Met. belongs to an A110, like red belongs to a Ferrari.

The painting of the dashboard, which presents a new challenge each and every time, has been a perfect success.

The fenders were painted separately and riveted to the body with countless blind rivets afterwards.

For her evil look, she was given blackcircles under her eyes. Alice Cooper would certainly enjoy it.



 

REASSEMBLY

AUGUST 2012


DETAILS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Gradually, it becomes apparent which special genes this SAFARI A110 carries. The searchlight mounted on the right front fender is a testimony to its uniqueness.

Special mounts for the jack on the rear door sill, riveted fenders of the type "Ailes Bulles", grab handles from the R8,

a running board at the tail and as well reinforced wheel hubs and steering blocks at the front, are unmistakable features, that this A110 1800 was built for a special purpose.