Friday, 27 January 2017

Meyrignac Coupé

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Among the myriad delights of the Cartier Style & Luxe concours lawn at last year's Goodwood Festival of Speed nestled a gaggle of swoopy, curvaceous Alpines of various provenance. Their number included the lesser-spotted Willys Interlagos (an A108 built under licence in Brazil), and that in itself would normally be a show-stopper... were it not for the presence of an angular hunk o' cheese parked nearby, confounding passers-by with its lashings of what-the-hell-is-that-ness.

What it is, in fact, is the Meyrignac Coupé: a prototype that popped up at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, designed and built by Parisian whippersnapper Denis Meyrignac and based on the Alpine A110 1600S Berlinette. It was an inventive and exciting thing that, like so many aspects of French culture, was ultimately quashed by relentless bureaucracy. The authorities demanded that the Coupé be subjected to expensive emissions type-approval (and bear in mind that it was running an already-approved Renault motor...), all of which led the exasperated Meyrignac to park it in a corner of the garage and leave it to rot. Fortunately for the car, however, Meyrignac went on to work on a freelance basis for the Renault Formula 1 team before moving to auto design studio SERA, so his creds were strong; when Renault Classic learned that he still had the prototype, they offered to restore it for the Goodwood concours. Which was nice. Looks pretty sharp, doesn't it?

More pics from the 2016 FoS here.

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