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Alpine-Renault may not have been the most high-profile automaker, but they did build their share of championship sports cars. See more pictures of sports cars.

Alpine-Renault was one of the only successful French manufacturers of sports cars immediately following World War II. In this article, you'll find out why.

Jean Redele, once a Dieppe garage proprietor, founded Alpine to create racing and sports cars using Renault engines -- hence the name “Alpine-Renault.” The Alpine name would turn out to be a somewhat unfortunate choice, commercially speaking, as British carmaker Sunbeam owned the copyright to the name, having produced an “Alpine” car model the year before Redele formed his company. Happily, that confusion had no bearing on Alpine’s performance on the race track.

The Alpine-Renault A310 was a roadgoing machine that employed many of Alpine-Renault’s classic features: all-independent suspension; a rear-mounted engine, then the most powerful Renault had to offer; and Alpine’s signature steel-backbone chassis, with a separate fiberglass body. Later iterations of the vehicle were second only to the Porsche 911 -- no small achievement.

The A310’s successor, the Alpine-Renault GTA, retained high levels of performance while updating its look for the next generation. However, due to Renault’s stake in American Motors, which is owned by Chrysler, the GTA was not sold in North America because it would have provided unwanted competition with Chrysler’s TC by Maserati.

While not all of Alpine’s models are available for purchase worldwide, nothing could stop them from collecting race wins from around the globe, from Michigan to the Alps. Continue to the next page, where you’ll learn all the details of Alpine-Renault’s sometimes-troubled history, complete with car profiles and pictures.

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