When it comes to high-speed chases, the Gendarmerie Nationale has always put its trust in French sports cars (admittedly, the Dacia Duster is a bit limited), and that's nothing new. In the 1970s, at the height of the Alpine brand's rallying glory, the police were already driving the berlinettes from Dieppe. At that time, 14 of these vehicles were used to track down speeders, and one of them has been given a new lease of life.

This car, an A110 1600s, has just been bought back by the gendarmerie, but not to go back into service. This Alpine, which at present is nothing more than a wreck (literally), has been given a facelift before moving on to its new home, the Gendarmerie Museum in Melun (Seine-et-Marne). 

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We're going to have a lot of work to do to restore this old icon

Quite a journey

This A110 1600s was, of course, blue when it travelled along the A1 motorway between Paris and Lille between 1971 and 1979. But during the latter year, it was bought by a private individual who preferred a white body colour. At that point, the car had some 200,000 kilometres (124,274 miles) on the clock and would continue to accumulate them until the early 1990s. At that point, it was left in a garage for thirty years.

But by a stroke of luck, Jean-Yves Bardouin (who is responsible for the mechanical memory of the Gendarmerie Nationale museum) and a friend from the Gendarmerie came across the famous car, which was due to be sold in 2022, and managed to authenticate it. Here's what Mr Bardouin told Gendinfo about the Alpine he found:

"The Alpine A110 1600s was missing from the Museum's collection of vehicles and thanks to our research, we managed to find one. I identified it using the serial number and it turned out to be a genuine vehicle. It was a real stroke of luck, because we found it 30 kilometres from the Museum, in Melun, and it was a person who wanted to sell it, which is really rare when you own a classic car".

The restoration of the car is being carried out by Aurélien Letheux's garage, located in Normandy and known for his work on the programme Wheeler Dealers France, broadcast on RMC Découverte. At least 800 hours of work are planned for the complete restoration of the car, but half of that has already been done. It will be on display to the public at the next Rétromobile show, from 5 to 9 February 2025, on the museum stand in its full period livery and equipment.