Do you ever get the feeling of deja vu? Having wrecked a rare Matra Bagheera, Top Gear has slain a Renault 4 TL and a Peugeot 106 Rallye.
That’s three French classics killed in action in the name of entertainment. Still, at least Morris Marina owners can sleep easy in their beds.
Why the producers chose to single out a Renault 4 and a Peugeot 106 Rallye should become clear when the Top Gear Christmas Special airs on the 29 December, but it’s unlikely to make for comfortable viewing. Switching to Channel 4 to watch Eddie the Eagle might be preferable.
“The five-day trip finds the boys battling huge rivers and vast mudslides that would test the hardest new 4x4s. However, they’re not driving 4x4s, they’re driving an old Peugeot, a very small Renault and Nepal’s only home-built car. Will they make it?”
Not PetrolBlog’s words, Carol, but the words of the legendary double issue of the Radio Times.
The presenters make it, but the future is a little bleak for the Renault and the Peugeot. Indeed, the Renault might not make it out of Nepal alive.
The Renault 4 TL is/was a left-hand-drive car that appears to have arrived in the UK from Italy in 2018. The MOT history would suggest that it had covered 87,476 miles when it was tested in July 2019. The fact that there were no advisories – and based on the condition of the car in the publicity photos – it was likely to be in very good nick.
According to this article in the Daily Mirror, the Renault 4 was the chap’s pride and joy. He even pleaded with the buyer to take care of it, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had effectively signed the car’s death warrant.
Chris Harris said: “He’s going to see it wrecked. It’s going to ruin his Christmas. He didn’t know it was coming to Top Gear. This chap is passionate about the vehicle.
“It’s his pride and joy. He had it in Italy when he moved to Milan. He moved it over here when he came back. He cherished it. He said: ‘You will look after it won’t you?’”
The seller – and the nation – will watch as the Renault 4’s handbrake fails, sending it crashing into the Peugeot 106 Rallye driven by Paddy McGuinness.
The Peugeot was formerly owned by members of the 106 Rallye Register. There’s a certain irony about the fact that it was mentioned on a forum thread entitled ‘S1 Rallyes are dying out’. That was from a decade ago. Since then, the numbers have fallen and the prices have gone up.
But that didn’t stop the BBC’s flagship (only?) motoring show from killing one for fun. Admittedly, this one had done 160,000 miles, but like the Bagheera, the 106 Rallye is a strange choice of vehicle. There’s never a right car for such purposes, but choosing an immaculate Renault 4 and a desirable Peugeot 106 Rallye seems odd – and wrong.
In the great scheme of things, maybe it doesn’t matter. But try telling that to the former owner of the Renault 4.
There’s a few days to wait until the programme airs. In the meantime, PetrolBlog might be about to embark on a daring rescue mission of its own. More anon, but let’s just say PB could be driving home for Christmas in something French..
Hat tip to Ian Seabrook for the heads up.