Meyrignac Coupé introduction
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The Meyrignac prototype was first shown in 1977 at the Geneva Auto Show. It was designed and built by Denis Meyrignac and was based on the Alpine A110 1600S Berlinette chassis and mechanicals, and was believed to be using the SX or even maybe TX engine which was possibly an engine he obtained later than the chassis.
In some ways this little point may be significant in that it was this car with a carburetor engine (singular) that was required by the DRIRE department of environment to have the engine tested and complied to meet the then current emission regulations! Remember, this was a standard Renault engine which not only had at some prior date been approved by the same department, but was now fitted to a lighter more aerodynamic vehicle meaning, in real world terms, that it would need less fuel to get the same job done resulting in fewer emissions… The cost of all this was crippling for a one-man-band.
So, the story goes, Denis Meyrignac put the car away in his basement and left it there to ‘rot’. The funny thing is, it was not only widely quoted that the Geneva car was Douvrin V6 powered, it was also red in colour… It seems to make no sense that Denis Meyrignac went to the bother after the show to repaint it a metallic blue, shift the outside mirror from the bottom of the door aperture next to the A pillar to the top, and change from twin wiper blades to a singular parallelogram one if he was simply about to ditch the car! And as they say, there is more! Unless no-one so much as checked the engine-bay, how come the V6 engine became a 1600cc four cylinder when the car turned blue!
At the time I was researching material for this car, there had been a stirring of interest after it had been found languishing in the basement of one Denis Meyrignac – all these years on. It seems Renault took note, possibly more interested now than before as it ramps up interest in the new Alpine soon to be launched. Renault Classic offered to rebuild the Meyrignac and take it to the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed and displayed among other early Alpine.
Even though the car itself fell upon stony ground, it served as a mobile CV for Denis and landed him freelance work initially with Renault Formula 1, then later full time with the SERA design studio – headed by Charles Deutsch, famed aerodynamicist. This led Meyrignac into a busy automotive life, being involved over the years with the design of more than 32 different automobiles for various manufactures. Here are a few photos from Goodwood including one that illustrates just how low and compact the car is.
Of course, there is more to this story, much of which is covered in the main article. Meyrignac Coupé – Final