- An alpinist in Porsche land
- Jurgen Clauss doesn’t collect just any Alpine
- In everyday life he drives an Audi A6 Avant
- The new Alpine never goes into his garage
An alpinist in Porsche land
With an old Alpine 110 you can steal the show from (almost) every Porsche – even in Stuttgart
Source: Jurgen Clauss
Anyone who lives near Stuttgart and raves about old sports cars can really only have the 911 in mind. But Jurgen Clauss works differently, he has lost his heart to a rather capricious French woman.
S.his first love was the bicycle. Because when Jurgen Clauss was in a hurry or when he wanted to do sport, the young man got on a racing bike. Cars were always a means to an end in his family, and his father strictly forbade him to use a motorized two-wheeler at a young age. But at some point Jurgen Clauss encountered the first Renault Alpine A110 during a training session in the Stuttgart hinterland – and that was all about him.
While all his friends for Porsche raved, as it should be for a proper Swabian, Jurgen Clauss lost his heart to a French coupe made of fiberglass, which was nicknamed "Flounder" in the 1960s.
The Alpine (one of the few cars that has to be called female) was too tempting, too unique and special for Clauss to get it out of his head. Especially not because back then they were always in the Monte Carlo Rally or was in the headlines at the Tour de France Automobile.
But love is not that unproblematic. First, Jurgen Clauss needs a few part-time jobs, with which he had previously wanted to finance a Golf GTI. And then he also has to find the right car. At the beginning of the eighties, he finally took out an Alpine A110 1300 and, from today’s perspective, swapped it blindly and without any prior knowledge for his solid GTI.
The first Alpine that Jurgen Clauss bought turned out to be a scrap heap
Source: Jurgen Clauss
Too bad that the French beauty turns out to be quite a wreck: After the first crush is over, Clauss has to realize that he cannot avoid a total restoration. Back then a curse, today a blessing – because this is how the toolmaker gains his first experience in preserving classic cars.
And it was worth the effort. Because the Swabian-French alliance lasts for almost 20 years before they part ways again. Clauss ’company for high-precision metalworking demands too much time for him to have the leisure and patience to continue to burden himself with the pitfalls of this relationship. Once too often he got stuck with the beautiful but capricious diva on a hill climb, so he ditched her and filled the space in the garage with a Porsche.
With this blood-orange 911 2.7 RS, he thought he was finally cured of the French fever. Until at some point he wanted to get hold of the last spare parts to make room in the garage. Unfortunately, he got to know a Swiss Alpine collector through this, one word led to the other, memories came with the exchange, and before Jurgen Clauss knew it, the old virus had broken out again.
Jurgen Clauss doesn’t collect just any Alpine
That was more than ten years ago, and since then more than a dozen Alpines have passed through Clauss ’hands. In his workshop alone, which takes up the entire ground floor of his house, there are four former racing cars in full paint. And in the open annex in the garden, a completely boned fiberglass body is waiting for the next polish before the beautiful curves may shine again in the typical Bleu Alpine at the end of the year.
So many Alpine in one place, that would be something special in France. But in Germany it’s a bit of a sensation. Especially since Clauss does not collect any Alpine, but has dedicated himself solely to the rare S-series of the A110 Berlinette, with which the story began in 1962. Vehicles with racing history are what Jurgen Clauss desires – and the associated research for results and photos of races and rallies he calls it "Icing on the Cake", in German one would say: the icing on the cake.
The later six-cylinder models, on the other hand, reviled Clauss as just as effeminate as overweight plastic bombers that could never lure him. Of the racing versions with the four-cylinder engines, he is primarily interested in the 1300s and 1600s, preferably in the way they were officially used by the factory. After all, Alpine is a brand that emerged from racing; Company founder Jean Redele first built cars for the slopes before thinking of wealthy private customers.
Jurgen Clauss’ entire ground floor is filled with a number of Alpine
Source: Jurgen Clauss
That doesn’t exactly make things any easier for Clauss. “Of course, many of the cars were worn out during racing. And what survived the hardships was hopelessly tinkered with by the later owners, ”complains the collector.
"The Alpine was cheap, and what you would never have done to a Porsche or a Ferrari, you tried it out with it without hesitation," says Clauss. "Over the years, the Alpine mutated into a kit car, and almost everyone has made their Berlinette worse at their own discretion."
But that only makes a car more interesting for the Swabian. First of all, he then has to spend a long time looking for contacts, contemporary witnesses and spare parts. And secondly, the result of his restorations is all the more impressive.
In everyday life he drives an Audi A6 Avant
Because when he’s finished with work, the 110s actually look again as if they had just been prepared in Dieppe for their maiden voyage at the Monte Carlo Rally or the Tour de France Automobile. Just like the world championship car from 1973, which he found in Hungary with luck and skill.
Clauss ’restorations are highly professional and are now recognized worldwide. He has already been invited to the Concorso d’Eleganza in the Villa d’Este, the most renowned classic car event in Europe, as well as to the luxury show The Quail on the edge of the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.
An old car can’t ask for much more, and a few hostilities on Clauss’ Alpinelab website, who advocate maximum originality don’t bother us at all. He stays true to his line and invests 2500 working hours in a car, spread over two or three years.
Many Alpines were worn out in racing and have to be completely rebuilt
Source: Jurgen Clauss
But even if he sells a street car every now and then to make room for a new racing car and even traded in Alpine accessories for a few years, Jurgen Clauss does not think about turning his hobby into a business.
Even if the value of the vehicles has meanwhile increased, you sometimes have to pay up to 100,000 euros for a road car and racing versions are traded for 300,000 euros and more, no money can be made with the Alpine in Germany. "With us, such an effort is worthwhile at best for Ferrari or Porsche, otherwise you only end up paying for it."
Nevertheless, after the initially rather difficult relationship, he doesn’t let anything come up to his Alpines today and is already looking forward to the handful of selected classic car events, which he visits every year, most recently the Solitude Revival in Stuttgart.
The new Alpine never goes into his garage
But the “flounders” from France are rather unsuitable for everyday use and sometimes too fragile. You won’t find a trunk in a competitive Alpine, and so it is only suitable as an uncompromising driving machine, as it was ultimately designed to be. “A racing car for the road,” says Clauss.
The toolmaker therefore drives a simple Audi as a daily driver A6 Avant. And if he ever wants to drive fast with joy and without worries, then he takes his Porsche 911 2.7 RS from 1973 out of the garage.
“While you often hear suspicious noises with the Alpine and you now and again doubt whether you will really arrive, the Porsche runs like clockwork,” enthuses Clauss – just to put the local patriotism into perspective: “However, the RS leaves the Compared to the Alpine, it lacks agility and lightness and, on the other hand, drives like a truck. "
With his various Alpine models, Jurgen Clauss is a welcome guest at classic car events
Source: Jurgen Clauss
Clauss could soon get a real alternative to his Berlinettes. Because Alpine is preparing a new edition of the A110, and the alpinist from Swabia has at least pricked up his ears. Of course also because of the new management Has long since noticed the collector and would like to use his historic cars for marketing in Germany.
Unlike some PS purists, Jurgen Clauss can live well with the new concept of the French, is pleased with the idea of lightweight construction and the lively four-cylinder in the rear and raves about the design of the coupe, which you immediately recognize as the grandson of the A110 without it becomes a copy.
Still, the new car doesn’t come into his garage like this. Because Clauss no longer wants to buy an Alpine for her street alone. "But as soon as Alpine reports back to motorsport and puts on a racing version, I’ll be there."
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