Vic Norman’s Alpine A110 arrived last week. The first right-hand-drive A110 in customer hands. Not surprisingly, he’s extremely excited. More revved up about the arrival of a new car, he says, than he’s been in decades, perhaps ever.
They were second-hand of course, but Norman also bought a new AC Cobra in the 1960s, a couple of new Dinos in the 1970s and a Ford GT40 that, according to Norman, was his wife’s shopping car. So why all this emotion over a small, French mid-engined sports car with only 250bhp? “I’ve owned about a dozen Porsche 911s and my current one is a 997 Carrera 4,” says Norman. “It’s done around 110,000 miles but I’ve not thought about replacing it because the 911 has got too wide and heavy. It’s a shame because I used to have a real passion for those cars, but frankly they just turn me off now.
“I have a few classics, including an AC Ace and a Porsche 356, which I love for their simplicity and emotion, but I really didn’t think I’d ever buy a new car again.
“However, a year or so ago I was chatting to Gordon Murray, who is an old friend, and he said ‘Vic, you should see this new little Alpine A110’. I remember the Alpines from the 1960s and knew about their history. They were built for competition and were enormously successful and, I thought, very French - so small and efficient and lovely in their trademark blue. I’ve always associated blue with Alpine, just as I do red with Ferraris.
“After Gordon mentioned the car I read a few road tests and did some online research and everyone was raving about the car and how great it was. I started getting interested, not least because it was so different to today’s supercars, which are too big, too wide and too close to the ground. I have no interest in these cars; they do nothing for me. They’re fine if you simply want to show off, but they’re next to useless, have totally unusable performance and are too big for country roads.
“I got more and more interested in the Alpine, so I placed an order for an A110 Première Edition – in Alpine Blue of course. I knew I’d like it but I hadn’t sat in one or even seen one in the metal.