1978 Renault-Alpine A442/B
Pilots: D. Pironi, J-P. Jaussaud
Team: Renault Sport
Race: 1st overall (class Group 6) at Le Mans in 1978
pw (Altaya?) - ? (diecast)
Alpine was working on the A442 project since 1975, but by 1976 the company was owned by Renault, that kept the project going. The A442 used a 2.0 l Renault-Gordini engine boosted by a large Garrett turbocharger, pushing power output to 490 hp. The car had a relatively small steel space frame that was enveloped in a much longer glass fiber body. It had a particularly long tail to improve aerodynamics, specially because of the Mulsanne straight. But maybe the most eye-catching aspect of the car was the acrylic roof, that granted an extra 8 km/h at La Sarthe.
Interestingly Renault Sport had three different cars in Le Mans that year, an A442/A, an A443 and an A442/B, but only the A442/B finished (and won!) the race. The A442/B was the only one with the acrylic roof, and for that was nicknamed “Bubble Top”. I bought this car from C-K, where it was listed as “Ixo”, but without a doubt it isn’t. Not even an Altaya . Didn’t come in the standard Ixo or Altaya packaging, but in those pw blisters, without an acrylic case. The model isn’t bad, but it’s definitely poor, with bad wheels and lousy thin paint job. Another model that will need to be upgraded.