the Alpine A110 bodybuilt over the counter!
For millions of French people, the confinement of March 2020 was an opportunity to sort the contents of their cellar, to scour inaccessible cupboards, to make their own bread. For Benoît and Yvan, two Lyonnais passionate about motorized vehicles, this period allowed them to create… a car. The base ? A modern Alpine A110. The goal ? Give him the “dog” he needed. The inspirations: the world of rallying, legendary drivers, beautiful mechanics, the 1970s and 1980s, or so many centers of interest brought together in their vision of a French-style trainer. Far from wanting to copy German or Italian achievements in vain, our merry fellows are beginning to imagine their ideal automobile.
It’s up to Yvan to leave his personal A110 as a working base. Benoît is in charge of transforming it, drawing on his experience as a designer at Mercedes. As he explains, this project allowed him to breathe: “ Fixed by the direction of the design of the years in advance, the style of the models to come did not authorize any room for maneuver. We were drawing cars, but it’s like someone else is holding the pencil. » This time, Benoît gives free rein to his imagination while respecting the stages of creation of a seasoned builder: first sketch on paper, 3D digitization on computer, design of a clay model at scale 1. Remained to him hit the road…
» A simple model did not interest us, continues Benoit. The car had to be functional and finely crafted, with the creativity of a small craftsman but the professionalism of a major manufacturer.. » Wings widened by 8 cm at the rear and 3 cm at the front, slanted exhaust like the Berlinette 1800 Group 4 of the seventies, removable rims in the Gotti style, everything was created to measure by French craftsmen. The rims are signed Mad’in, in Châlon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire), the composite body kit is the work of ByFactory, in Ablis (Yvelines), painting and adjustments are managed by Kerambellec bodywork, in Buc (Yvelines). Enchanted by this singular project, all these dreamers did not count their hours of work to bring their paw to the building. The Ravage Model Zero was born.
Yet covered in a discreet Pozzi blue (from the Ferrari catalog, another favorite brand of the « Ravaged »), the Ravage Model Zero is quickly spotted during its daily journeys. Onlookers immortalize it. Social networks are racing. At first frightened by the unexpected repercussions, our sorcerer’s apprentices begin to feel the swing. » On the Ravage Instagram account created afterwards, we received at least one request a day: how do you buy a Ravage? French, but also Japanese, Americans. After months of saying we weren’t selling any, we decided to give it a go. I left a comfortable position to go into the unknown, but today I do what I like” says Benedict. All that remained was to move from a one-off production to a small series production, a source of all other constraints.
In (very) limited series
A sort of rolling matrix, the Ravage Model Zero gave birth to the Ravage La Première pictured here. This is the very first copy on the market… which does not exactly represent the rest of the story. » Its owner managed to buy us a car even before the Ravages were on sale,” Benedict exclaims. Thanks to the aforementioned craftsmen, this second copy took six months to be designed. Less than the two and a half years that elapsed from the first stroke of the pen to the first laps of the Model Zero, but too much to hope for reasonable delivery times (the twentieth copy ordered would then require ten years of waiting!).
A puzzle about to be solved by the company Vaison Sport, based in Torcy (Saône-et-Loire) and known for having produced specimens as varied as the stunt cars at Disneyland Park, three official Mitsubishi prototypes involved Dakar, as well as various renovations (or complete reconstructions) of rally legends named Lancia 037, Ford RS200 or Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. regulation of vintage rallies. “Bubble” wings (see video), stainless steel exhaust, mud flaps, everything is there. It remains to choose the decoration. The livery of La Première is reminiscent of that of the Berlinetta Group 4 “Tour de Corse”, as its sponsor wanted. » This example shows how we adapt to the tastes and wishes of our customers.” underlines Benoît, who admits to having cumulated four meetings of exchange with the future owner to freeze « his » decoration. On the chassis side, four adjustable KW coilovers lower the car, perched on widened tires in front and behind. An engine reprogramming completes everything and, besides, it’s time to move the creature.
At the wheel of the Ravage Gr.4 La Première
After a first test on a wet circuit of the Model Zero, we are back at the controls of the Ravage La Première, just delivered to its happy owner. Our playground? The track of Team Pilotage 42, organizer of courses in Andrézieux, near Saint-Étienne. The dry asphalt will allow you to better appreciate the evolutions of the chassis… which are obvious from the first turns: no more dive under braking, not the slightest roll when steering, steering strengthened by superior grip and the increased feeling of turning. a block in the successions of bends.
Less sensitive to mass transfers than the standard A110, the Ravage La Première no longer pivots as much from the rear in the hairpins but, on the contrary, shows unprecedented stability in the faster portions. A balance that the very winding route of the day does not necessarily highlight, unlike the evolutions of the engine. » This Ravage inaugurates our own engine map, produced by an engineer who knows the A110 perfectly. It’s a Ravage exclusive. Classic Alpine owners won’t be able to get it. We are not aiming for the best figures but the best sensations” summarizes Benoît, admitting that the Group 4 now spits out 300 hp and 380 Nm of torque.
Tight pinholes confirm the engine’s new character, pushing both harder and sooner than the original TCe 252 without even needing to mash the accelerator pedal. Our copy not yet broken in did not allow us to continue our investigations to the outskirts of the red zone, but Benoît ensures that the evolution allows to obtain a torquey engine at the bottom (it’s clear) and fuller at the top (so check it out!). The sensations are also sublimated by the endearing sound, inherited from the famous specific exhaust silencer. Its hoarse tone at idle and suave at acceleration is without difficulty forgetting that of the standard A110, seeming more nasal and artificial. Do you really have to return it?
What price for a Ravage?
This is obviously the burning question, after having admired (and driven!) the first two Ravages on the planet. While waiting to communicate the exact contents of the kit, Benoît estimates the selling price at €105,000, new A110 included. » The ideal, he specifies, is to start with a 252 hp version at €59,500, new if possible to delay the deadline for the first overhaul. Still in turmoil, the team is already imagining a maintenance center dedicated to the Ravages and is working on the rest of the aesthetic transformations. The next will concern the passenger compartment, promised in high color by Benoît. » Here again, he said, we do not seek to imitate German finishes. French car production is both rich and typical. For the passenger compartment, we will draw inspiration from the colors and interior textiles of the Renault 5 Turbo. » Mythical !
Once the ten copies of Ravage Group 4 have passed (if this is not already the case, given the firm requests already registered…), the team should draw a second series faithful to the evolution of rallies between the 1970s and 1980. Group 4 could then give way to Group B. F40-style openwork rear window, even more aggressive body kit and real mechanical preparation (with specific parts, such as a new turbo or an additional oil cooler to better cool the robotic box) are already stocking Benoît’s shelves. For this next step, a certain Bernard Darniche is working closely with the team. The former official Alpine driver in the World Rally Championship probably has ideas to further sublimate the project. To the point of inspiring a limited series in his name? Impossible is not Ravage…
We would like to extend our warm thanks to the Ravage troupe for their good humor, to the owner of La Première for their confidence, and to the Team Pilotage 42 team for their welcome during our report. Find more info on: