1964 Alpine M64

Neil Fraser ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
Neil Fraser ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

In 1955, Alpine was founded by Jean Rédélé, who originally modified and campaigned Renault 4CVs but quickly found success in many of the world’s most illustrious sports car races. Soon enough, Rédélé started building his own cars on the 4CV chassis and mechanicals, with the A106 being produced in 1955. Nevertheless, Rédélé’s passion for racing never wavered, and in 1962, he introduced the M63, which was developed specifically for sports car racing. An updated version, dubbed the M64, was released for the 1964 season, and it was largely based on its predecessor. Just three examples were built, chassis 1709, 1710 and 1711.

The final M64 produced, chassis 1711, debuted on the world stage at the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans. At this event, taking place on June 21, chassis 1711 started 36th on the grid, but it was ultimately the 17th car to cross the finish line. The car completed 292 laps and covered just under 3,921 km (2,436 miles), leading to a 1st in class finish for the team’s second outing at the fabled race. With an average speed of 163 km/h (101 mph), the Alpine finished eighth in the performance index and first in “thermal efficiency” for the most fuel-efficient car over the course of the race, averaging around 21 mpg!

Following its retirement from racing, the car was retained by Alpine as a prototype for the A210, and the rear section of the body was modified at the factory. The rail fins were added to allow back-to-back aerodynamic testing. It was sold in tired condition to J.L. Marnat of France, who sold it in October 1977 to its current French owner, who has retained the car in his possession ever since. Earlier this year, the car finished a complete restoration to M64 specifications, but it still retains its development tail that was successfully applied to the A210.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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