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Lot 295: 1973-74 ALPINE-RENAULT A440 RACING BARQUETTE

Les Grandes Marques a Monaco, Bonhams (16 May 2005)

This Alpine-Renault A440 Barquette introduced to motor racing the François Castaing-designed, 2-litre, 4-cam, V6-cylinder Renault-Gordini racing engine which not only propelled the works team cars to dominant victory in the European 2-litre Championship, but in enlarged form subsequently went on to dominate the World Sports-Prototype Championship series

Here Bonhams Europe is delighted to offer the very car which ushered in this entire age of French resurgence in international motor racing.

A prototype unit of the V6 engine was installed in this first tailor-made Alpine A440 chassis, which was tested at Dijon-Prenois by Jean-Pierre Jabouille. The 1997cc V6 engine delivered some 285bhp at 9,800rpm, driving through a Hewland 5-speed transaxle. This prototype car quickly made its racing debut in Jabouille’s capable hands at Magny-Cours on May 1, 1973, where it finished fourth. On May 27 the car achieved its maiden race victory at Croix-en-Ternois, and it was then entered in major European Championship rounds at Imola, Clermont-Ferrand and finally at Nogaro, in which this prototype car was joined by a brand-new sister A440, driven by Alain Serpaggi.

For 1974 the new V6 engine was lightened by more extensive use of magnesium-alloy components, while the Alpine chassis design was developed into the A441 model with 12mm longer wheelbase, three such new cars being built. Two were to be campaigned under the Elf/ Renault Sport banner, while the third was entrusted to patron/ driver Gerard Larrousse’s new Elf-Switzerland team which would run the new car alongside the 1973 A440 model.

It was this success which persuaded the Renault Sport management, supported by engine specialist Bernard Dudot, to develop a turbocharged 2.1-litre version of the A440/ A441 model with which to attack the Sports-Prototype World Championship of 1975. And that is another story…leading on to Renault Sport victory in the Le Mans 24-Hours classic of 1978. If ever a prototype car could be viewed as the progenitor of a new age of motor racing – A440-01 offered here is it!

After its 1973 season, this car appears to have been that driven by Alain Cudini into 3rd place at Nogaro in 1974 behind two A441s as these works Alpines finished superbly first, second and third. The most capable French lady driver Marie-Claude Beaumont drove the A440 at Magny-Cours but retired. She drove the car several times more that season, as at Charade and Jarama in Spain, and she won an event in the car at Montlhery.

This supremely historic sports-prototype car has been preserved and maintained for many years in one private ownership and is now offer here in fully restored condition. It is accompanied by a set of Hewland gears, a set of new valves, 8 wheels, new cylinder heads and a set of used cylinder sleaves.

Cette Alpine A440 châssis ‘01’ porta le premier prototype du moteur V6 dessiné par François Castaing en 1973 lors d’essais sur le circuit de Dijon-Prenois dans les mains de Jean-Pierre Jabouille. La voiture fît rapidment ses débuts en course à Magny-Cours le 1er mai 1973 toujours entre les mains de Jabouille qui se classa à une honorable 4ème place avant de remporter la victoire à ‘Croix-en-Ternois’ le 27 mai.

Pendant la saison 1974, la voiture, menée par Alain Cudini, décrocha une 3ème place à Nogaro derrière deux A441. Marie-Claude Beaumont, excellente pilote pris le volant de cette Alpine à Charade et Jarama avant de remporter les groupes 5/7 aux Coupes de l’Agaci à Monthléry.

Cette superbe barquette, acquise par l’actuel vendeur en 1980 qui a été entièrement restaurée et n’a jamais roulé depuis (moteur neuf), est offerte avec 8 roues, une valise de pignons Hewland, une culasse neuve ainsi qu’un nouveau jeu de soupapes et jeu de chemises pistons.

Lot Details
Auction Les Grandes Marques a Monaco
Bonhams, Monaco, Monte Carlo
TypeCar
Lot Number295
Estimate€120000-€150000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€142000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€161200
Year1973
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberA440-01
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors