Nigel Taylor is proof that not all heroes wear capes. Don't let the short-sleeve shirt and beige shorts combo fool you, this man is a genuine superhero. He's probably wearing Superman pants.
In 2003, the head of a Hampshire-based computer firm bought NINE Renault Avantimes.
Think about that for a moment. At a time when Renault had already decided to pull the plug on the Avantime, the man stepped up to order nine of the things.
Had there been more Mr Taylors in the world, Renault may have sold more than 8,552 units – and Matra may have enjoyed a prolonged life in the automotive industry.
Orders had slumped to just 15 a day by the end of 2002, which means Taylor's order represented the equivalent of 60 per cent of the firm's daily output. You have to imagine that he received a hefty discount on the list price, which would have cost a combined £216,450 in 2003.
Avantime for this
For that, the MD could have swanned around Hampshire in a Bentley Continental, leaving his IT engineers to slum it in a fleet of practical Renault Kangoos. Instead, he created the world's largest fleet of Avantimes. Give the man an award for services to the French car industry.
The only disappointing thing is that he went for the 2.0-litre Avantime and not the glorious 3.0-litre V6. Still, much would have depended on what Renault had left in stock. Make no mistake, the company would have been really keen to get rid of them.
Nigel Taylor (not pictured in this photo, obviously) said: “We’re certainly getting noticed driving the Avantime, and the fact that Renault has decided to stop production makes our fleet even more unique.
“I never imagined I’d own not just the UK’s, but the world’s, largest fleet of one particular car so I am really pleased to be making that claim in relation to the Avantime and our company.”
The company has long since moved on from the Renault Avantime. It later assembled a fleet of nearly 50 Skoda Octavias, before shifting its attention to the BMW i3. What's more, the company appears to be thriving.
This goes to prove that buying a heavily depreciating and misunderstood large French car makes good business sense. Or something.
Whatever, as an IT man, Taylor knew that if one of the Avantimes ever stopped working, all he had to do was turn them off and on again.