1975-1985 CHRYSLER/TALBOT ALPINE
Great shape, practical, rare and a fine Anglo-French collaboration
The front-wheel-drive Alpine positively oozes 1970s period charm, drives well, and even had an optional five-speed gearbox – quite a rarity at the time. It has strong links to the UK, too – Britain’s Roy Axe designed the body and in 1976 Chrysler decided that the Alpine must be built in Coventryin order to secure a £162.5million government grant.
Marketed as the ‘Seven Days a Week Car’, the front-wheel drive Alpine sold well in France, but rather less so in Britain. Chrysler UK became Talbot from 1978 and the Alpine was later joined by the rather less stylish Solara four-door saloon.
Sills rot out with corrosion spreading to the floor and rear suspension mounts thanks to water ingress via failing rear quarter light rubber seals.
Check that the bottom ball joint on the steering is intact – this can eventually give up the ghost, and gearchanges are often sloppy.
Engines are noisy and tappety, even when they’re in rude health, but reasonably long-lived. Spares are a problem but Simca Club UK is a great help.