You have got to love YouTube. There I was, innocently searching for videos of the Peugeot 505 when I stumbled across a scene from the 1986 French movie, Un homme et une femme, 20 ans déjà. Now admittedly my French is not that great, but I believe this translates to A man and a woman, 20 years later.
Well I don’t know why it took so long for the man and woman to be reacquainted, but quite frankly I’m more interested in why it has taken me a quarter of a century to discover this film. Not only because it was directed by Claude Lelouch, famous within petrolhead circles for C’était un Rendezvous, the early morning chase through Paris, but also because it contains an epic chase scene of its own.
But there’s no supercar or racing car nonsense in this movie. Instead, seven family saloons from the 1980s take part in an epic battle on roads that look distinctly like a French version of our very own Millbrook Proving Ground. It’s tense, exciting and under the direction of Lelouch, presents a high level of grit and authenticity.
Look out for the smashed camera lens at 0:55 and the loose brick at 2:05 which is tossed into the air by the Audi 100 and straight into the windscreen of the Saab 900. Oh, at this point, I probably should mention the seven cars. In addition to the Audi and the Saab, there’s also a Lancia Thema, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz 190E, Renault 25 and the aforementioned Peugeot 505. It has to be said, PetrolBlog doesn’t make movies, but if it did, it would look something like this.
It has it all. Great cars, two gloriously evocative French women speaking at 3:34, (although I have no idea what they are wittering on about), and fast and furious driving from start to finish. It’s like a cross between Ronin and a seven car race in a retro version of Gran Turismo. Filming it must have been a hell of a lot of fun.
In truth, I have no idea what happens before this scene or indeed after it, but according to IMDb, it’s not a particularly great film. Having said that, if the rest of the movie is as good as the four and a half minutes shown here, it might be worth a punt.
Naturally it has given me an idea for the SMMT Test Day at Millbrook in 2013. Surely we can encourage seven manufacturers to lend us seven of their finest family saloons to recreate this brilliant scene? Strap a few GoPros on the cars, add a few helmet cams to the drivers and away we go. What could possibly go wrong? Suggestions on the cars to use on a postcard to the usual address. Volunteer drivers are also required. Form an orderly queue, no pushing at the back please.
I’ll leave you to enjoy the magnificence for yourself. See if you can pick a favourite car from the seven on show. It’s a tough one, but I’m torn between the 5-Series, 900 and 505.
Note, if I’m the last car nut in the world to discover this film, then I’ll leave my petrolhead badge on the side and close the door on the way out.