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Chrysler Alpine and Solara (1975 - 1985)

Last updated 19 March 2013

Roomy and soft-riding
Rattly, rusty, poorly made, and absolutely no image
Updated 1 October 1985
Production of Alpine and Solara ceased

The car was also hampered in an increasingly aspirant market place by its limited engine choice. The biggest engine offered was 1592cc, whereas all its rivals could stretch to at least a two litre...

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The Chrysler Alpine should have been so good. It was an early adopter of the hatchback format in the family sector, was front wheel drive, and drove pretty well. It was also economical - which in an era of rocketing fuel prices was more than good news. And yet - today, it's unmourned and almost forgotten about.

It was a product of a multi-national that had huge ambition for its European division. Chrysler developed the Alpine during the early 1970s – as part of a plan to create a modern-looking range of FWD hatchbacks using the diverse Rootes and Simca ranges as a starting point. The Alpine was the first of this new wave, arriving in 1975, and it was good enough to win the European Car of The Year award.

It looked smart and of the moment, but the politics of its maker took over, and when the Americans pulled out in 1978, the Chryslers became Talbots. Should have been more successful, but the rusty, tappety Alpine's legacy is not a happy one, despite having so much unfulfilled potential.

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