Down through the last 50 years of action movies, secret agent 007, James Bond, has driven some amazing cars: Aston Martins, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, BMWs – even an amphibious Lotus. But he has also, in a pinch, needed to make a hasty escape in whatever is handy. These impromptu Bond vehicles have included some real dogs – Saabs, Ford rental cars, even a Mini Moke.
But the worst car James Bond has ever been forced to drive on screen has to be the Renault 11. In America, this was known as the Renault Alliance.
In 1985’s “A View To A Kill” James Bond (Roger Moore) commandeers a Paris taxi to chase a parachutist. Check out the video clip below to see what happened next:
This is not completely far-fetched (in fact, there are no computer-generated images in this sequence). This Renault was equipped with front-wheel-drive, so it could keep going with its rear wheels missing. At least the filmmakers played the sequence (more or less) for laughs.
Auto writers are embarrassed to say that, back in the day, they selected this Renault as the best car. It was the 1983 European Car of the Year, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, and one of Car and Driver magazine’s coveted “10 Best.” In its January 2009, Car and Driver formally apologized to its readers for the Renault’s selection, in a hilarious mea culpa.
I’m embarrassed to say that I actually recommended one to someone who ended up buying one. Its resale value, after its initially attractive $4,500 msrp, quickly dropped to almost zero.
What was wrong with it? Besides, blah styling, poor power, and bad handling, it was assembled from some of the cheapest parts that were ever screwed together (loosely) to make a car.
In time, even some of the auto industry’s worst creations have gained small cult followings (i.e., the Edsel). But in the instance of the Renault 11, the recurring nightmares cannot end soon enough.
At least Mr. Bond got to drive one in a manner about which we could only fantasize.
October 28, 2012