C'etait un Rendezvous, The Original Street Racing Video - LIVE AND LET DRIVE

Uploaded by drive on 18.09.2012


ALEX ROY: Paris, France, August 1976, just before dawn.
Here, filmmaker Claude Lelouch had a choice.
Behind me, one of the most dangerous intersections in the
city, the intersection of rue de Rivoli and rue de Rohan.
As Lelouch entered this tunnel, 65 miles an hour, he
had a choice--
death or history.
This is the true story of Rendezvous, the most famous
street racing video of all time.
Rendezvous, the most important racing film of all time, the
greatest love story ever told on film in cars of all time,
the greatest street racing video of all time.
And yet, it's almost impossible to find any real
information about it.
But Claude Lelouch, the creator of this video, did
create, several years ago, a short documentary explaining
how he did it.
Unfortunately, it was in French.
The full translation of that video, combined with all the
information that could ever be known, has never been
available until now.
This is what it looked like that August morning in 1976
when Claude Lelouch made automotive viral video
history, Rendezvous in Paris.
Departing Porte Dauphine, heading towards Place de
l'Etoile, the Arc de Triomphe, this would be the first red
light that he ran.
My effort to lap New York in record time
was inspired by this.
Everything I've ever done in a car was
really inspired by this.
And I've heard that exact phrase from almost everyone
I've ever met who races a car or who drives a car fast.
And certainly, every viral video ever posted to YouTube
of a guy careening a car with a dash cam, it
all came from this.
He used a Mercedes 450SEL 6.9, which had a three-speed
automatic transmission, nothing like what you hear in
the video, which allegedly was overdubbed with the audio of a
Ferrari 275, which Lelouch also happened to own.
But he used that Mercedes because it had a
hydropneumatic suspension, similar to what a Citroen
would have, for stability because of the camera he
mounted on the front bumper.
Here we have an unbelievable traffic event, a car stopped
at almost a 90 degree angle to us.
If you haven't seen it, stop watching this video, look it
up on YouTube, find the highest res version you can.
And I'm not talking about the one with music behind it from
some band that's ripping the video off.
I'm talking about the original, whose audio is only
the engine noise.
Watch it.
Then come back to this, where I think, and I hope, we'll be
able to answer every question that we'll ever be able to
answer about this, the Holy Grail of car videos.
We're now entering Place de l'Etoile, the Arc de Triomphe,
then make a right turn down the Champs-Elysees.
Heading down the Champs-Elysees towards the
obelisk, which Napoleon borrowed or stole from Egypt
depending who you ask.
The obelisk, in fact, was stolen by Napoleon from Egypt
and brought here.
And that's not made-up history.
Lelouch claimed to have gone as fast as 240
kilometers an hour.
But fans have calculated that he went no more than 140
kilometers an hour.
Right off the bat, naysayers suggest this is fake because
the audio doesn't quite match the video.
The sound of brakes, the sound of shifting gears doesn't
quite match what's happening on screen.
The dive of the car, the squealing in
turns don't quite match.
They don't match because the audio is of a Ferrari.
The video depicts a car that clearly is not a Ferrari.
The car was, in fact, Lelouch's
personal Mercedes 6.9.
That it's so close and so few people believe that it's fake
is the miracle.
But to anyone who knows anything about driving, the
audio is all wrong.
Exciting, dramatic, but all wrong.
Now there are rumors that Jacky Ickx or another French
F-1 driver drove the car, not true.
Lelouch drove the car.
In fact, there were three people in the car, and, in
answer to one of the craziest unanswered questions, did have
one other person on the ground helping him, in a strategic
spot, a spot we'll get to.
Here we approach the location of one of the most infamous
fake audio overdubs of Rendezvous, as we make a very
high speed--
well, we're going to make a slower than
Lelouch high-speed turn--
right, and head towards the Louvre.
Amazingly, although we've stopped at every light, and
we're not going that quickly, we've probably already
committed about five speeding offenses, very modest ones by
Paris standards.
I am absolutely dying to run these lights given how little
traffic there is.
But J.F. won't let me.
I would never do that, of course.
I'm just saying it to appear cool, tough.
This is the end of the classic Rendezvous route.
Because from here on, several streets Lelouch took have
reversed direction and become one way streets.
In northbound, Louvre tunnel pass-through, where they built
the controversial pyramid within the Louvre courtyard,
we will have to route around it, as closely as possible, by
straddling the perimeter of the Louvre, then retaking the
original route northbound.
Now racing along the Seine, approaching the Louvre, we
approach the most dangerous point of the drive.
Well, dangerous among many.
Say it's a 10 on a scale of averages of, say, 9.7 for
everything else he did.
He makes a left turn through a tunnel and enters the Louvre
courtyards, where later they'd erect the
controversial pyramid.
He approaches the north side courtyard tunnel accelerating.

This is why people think this is fake.
What kind of madman would accelerate through a tunnel,
with a blind exit, unless it was fake or he had a spotter
with a radio waiting to give him
confirmation that it was clear.
Of course, he had foolishly instructed the spotter only to
contact them if there was a car oncoming.
He should have done it, as per the military and NASA rules,
the opposite way, because the radio failed.
He accelerated and exited safely, very lucky.
There just happened to be no cars heading perpendicular.
This is where Lelouch made his first really questionable
pass, in a family of what could only be called really
unbelievably questionable passes, really bad passes.
Unbelievably, even though we're obeying all traffic laws
and being really perfect gentlemen, I'm a little bit
out of breath.
I genuinely feel that desire to get on it, that same desire
Lelouch must have felt every day of his life until the day
he actually turned on the camera and shot this video,
which is so legendary.
How about that move?
That's how nervous I am.
MALE SPEAKER: There's no reason to be nervous.
ALEX ROY: And I haven't done anything wrong.
Honestly, I can't really be calm, given that we're
It's literally like being on the Daytona course and not be
allowed to drive on it at speed.


ALEX ROY: Unbelievable, such unsafe
driving from some Parisians.
Who would think?
We're now picking up the correct course.
We're heading towards Opera.
It's really hard to do this at this hour and not feel that
desire to get on it.
I mean, J.F., I'm sure you understand.
We're now passing the intersection where Lelouch
came up upon a bus in the left lane and went against head-on
traffic and through the light.
The second street where the direction was changed is at
the Galeries Lafayette, where, unfortunately, we had to
re-route left of the most famous department store in
Paris as opposed to between the two buildings.
If I were Lelouch, I'd be wondering whether I just
finished the hardest part or were starting it.
Up until this point, he's had three, four long
straightaways, running a lot of lights with the likelihood
of traffic hitting him perpendicular at high speed.
Now, we're in narrow streets heading into the
north part of the city.
This is where he got flashed by a car which would have hit
him head on had he arrived 15 seconds later.
Up ahead, where he encountered a garbage truck and a woman
walking her dog.
In the distance, you can see the finish line, Sacre-Coeur,
It doesn't take Ralph Nader to know that running a red light
with a possibility of particular
traffic is a bad idea.
But there's another school of thought, which I did consider
when I was going around Manhattan, which is the
quicker you pass through an intersection, the less time
you're exposed to perpendicular traffic.
People often ask if this can be done today.
Well, maybe close, you have the reversed street
But of course, Paris is unique among all cities in that
everyone has a month off in August.
So, in theory, as long as the French political system
maintains the August vacation month, it might be possible.
But this isn't something that I would try.
Or at least if I had or did, I wouldn't say so yet.
Even now, just after dawn, the streets are filled, filled
with people, even standing in the sidewalk.
I cannot describe my stress and desire to get on it the
way Lelouch did.
This is where Lelouch almost hit his last pedestrian.
He made the turn to head north, passed the Cemetery of
Montmartre, up towards Sacre-Coeur, the final stage
in his journey.
That was a near-Lelouch moment.
Here, where I'm kindly stopping as per French traffic
law, is where Lelouch almost hit a little car heading
perpendicular from right to left right in front of him.
Watch it three times.
It was very, very close.
Approaching one of the most dramatic and sharp right
turns, where Lelouch nearly massacred at flock of birds.

And onto the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, where
the hydropneumatic suspension would have helped enormously
in getting the footage, as stable as Lelouch wanted.
And now, the final stretch.

And the finish line, slightly blocked off.
We'll do our best to see it as Lelouch did.

He pulls up to the steps.
The car stops.
Once again, the sound doesn't sync.
The driver gets out and a gorgeous blond
walks up the steps.
And this is the reason he did this.
He told this woman, Gunilla Friden, Miss Sweden 1967, he'd
be there within 10 minutes.
Lelouch made racing film history, street racing
history, viral video history, and created the Holy Grail of
car racing videos.
JF: I'm trying to get the--
Why do you have--
Is this cat hair?
ALEX ROY: It's from my--
I told you I had no clean clothes.
You didn't believe me.
I've always wanted you to slap my chest.
JF: Get the fuck out.
ALEX ROY: My jiggly chest.
JF: Stop it.

ALEX ROY: Stop it.
No, I want to have a dirty shirt.
JF: This is disgusting.
Let me clean the fucking shirt.
ALEX ROY: No, you're making me feel gay.
You like how J.F. just ignores the realities.
Oh, clean clothes, you won't need those.
MALE SPEAKER: Wait, J.F. ignored it or you did?
ALEX ROY: I told him.
I told him.
Last night I was trying to buy a shirt.
It was like 100 euros.
He's like, no, no.
Do I look like I have man tits?
Do you see my man boob?
Do you?
Do you see my man boob?
Do you?
MALE SPEAKER: No, the belt is covering.
ALEX ROY: That's good.
What about this side?