The Thames TV ‘Drive In’ programme reviews the Chrysler Alpine in 1976, and comes up with some interesting conclusions, treating it as an imported car.
Enjoy this retrospective about this British-designed and assembled car, and then take some time to delve into Thames TV’s treasure chest
1976: the year of the Alpine
The Chrysler Alpine development story is one of the more popular in-depth pages on AROnline. Given the car wasn’t exactly a resounding success here, despite modern styling and engineering, a good dealer network to call upon and a reputation for great fuel consumption, far too many company car drivers stuck to their Ford Cortinas.
Perhaps it wasn’t a car to excite or engage in quite the same way as Ford’s or Vauxhall’s offerings at the time. Judging by the lack of enthusiasm from Thames TV’s reviewer, Peter Hughes, in the programme Drive In this was a very common phenomenon in 1976. However, given its hatchback layout, roomy interior and front-wheel drive packaging, it really should have met warmer reception than it did.
Perhaps had it emerged from the design process as the car that the British, rather than French arm, of Chysler Europe wanted, it may have sold more. Unfamiliar with that? Read the Chrysler Alpine development story to find out how it could have been based on the Chrysler Avenger estate, and been stubbornly rear-wheel drive.
More on Thames TV’s Drive In programme
While we’re here, we should spare a moment for the Drive In programme, which broadcast between 1971 and 1977 and carried car reviews and other motoring stories. Presented by Shaw Taylor (above) and fronted by contemporary journalists including Autocar‘s Chris Goffey, Richard Hudson Evans and Tony Bastable among others, it’s very much an old-school way of showing cars on TV.
The good news is that Thames TV’s YouTube channel is now releasing reviews and reports from the programme, and you can catch up with these in the playlist below. When Drive In went off air in 1979, it was replaced by the shortlived Wheels programme – but, in reality, it was superseded by that young upstart from Birmingham, Top Gear.
Enjoy the videos…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.