RALLY driver Jean Redele established Alpine in 1955 following giant-killer motorsport successes in events including the Mille Miglia road race in Italy and the Le Mans 24-hours in France
The garage owner from the French town of Dieppe chose the Alpine name because of his wins in the Coupe des Alpes rally and used Renault mechanicals because of his familiarity with the brand, starting with the workmanlike 4CV.
His cars were always wrapped inside good looking fibreglass sports car bodywork, including the classic A110 which was a multiple winner in the Monte Carlo Rally and also claimed the Castrol Rally in Canberra in the 1970s with Bob Watson driving.
Apart from sports cars, Alpine also produced single-seater and sports racing cars, as well as running special projects for Renault including construction of the radical mid-engined R5 Turbo in the 1980s.
Alpine production peaked with the rear-engined A310 V6 between 1976 and 1984, following Renault’s purchase of the company in 1973. In all, just 26,666 Alpines were built in France, although another 3454 were constructed under licence in Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Spain.
The Alpine name disappeared in 1995 but the factory in Dieppe has been a production hub for low-volume projects, most recently Renault Sport versions of the Megane and Clio.
Renault has just committed to full factory involvement in F1, having wound its involvement back in recent years to an engine supplier with teams including Red Bull Racing.
Renault pioneered turbocharged engines in modern grand prix racing in the 1970s as a manufacturer operation. It supplied the powerplants for the world championships won by Williams with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve in the 1990s, then returned as a factory team in the noughties when it took back-to-back championships with Fernando Alonso.
It had a disastrous 2015 season but now company chief Carlos Ghosn is providing the cash and commitment for a return at the Australian Grand Prix next month with young guns Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer as drivers.
The team is now known as Renault Sport, a name that will carry through to the next generation of road cars.