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Alex Roy Explains ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’ – Video 19
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alex Roy, Automotive, Kurt, Rendezvous, video on 09 19th, 2012

If you’ve never seen Claude Lelouch’s C’etait un Rendezvous, stop what you’re doing now and search for it on YouTube. It’s not that we’re too lazy to post a link (like this one), it’s just that links seem to come and go with regularity, as the owners of the film generally ask posters to take it down. Rendezvous is some eight minutes of high-speed running through the early-morning streets of Paris, filmed without regard to traffic laws. For everyone besides Alex Roy and Claude Lelouch, it remains our biggest automotive fantasy.

In the latest Live and Let Drive video, Alex Roy takes us through the events of that August morning in 1976. In the film, Lelouch was actually driving a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 with a three-speed automatic transmission; later, audio of his Ferrari 275 was dubbed in, though the most observant will point out that the audio doesn’t quite synch with the video. Why did Lelouch choose the Mercedes over his Ferrari? In the interests of cinematography, of course, since the Mercedes’ Hydramatic suspension yielded steadier footage.

As Roy points out, duplicating such a video would be nearly impossible today, as the streets of Paris have changed much over the past 36 years, and there are more pedestrians, even in the early morning hours. Still, for someone like Roy, the urge to give it a try would likely be too tempting, and we suspect there’s more to the story than Roy is willing to share. For now, anyway.

Alex Roy Brings You The 24 Minutes Of Paris: Video 5
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alex Roy, Automotive, Driving, Events, Kurt, video on 09 5th, 2012

Alex Roy demonstrates how to curse in French

If you don’t know the name Alex Roy, you should. His feats of high-speed endurance driving are the stuff of legend, and he’s known to many as the leader of Team Polizei of Gumball and Bullrun Rally fame. He holds the record for the fastest semi-official run from New York to Los Angeles (32 hours, 7 minutes), yet enjoys a perfect safety record on the events he runs. To Roy, meticulous planning for the event is as important as the event itself.

If you know the short film titled C’était un Rendezvous, you know what a high-speed run through the streets of Paris looks like (if you don’t know the film, you should watch it – it’s fantastik). Roy’s latest endeavor is like “Rendezvous” in spirit, but much, much slower and, oddly, entirely legal. Instead of terrorizing the early morning streets of the city at triple-digit speeds, Roy’s latest effort involves lapping the Arc de Triomphe as many times as he can over 24 minutes.

If you think this is no big deal, you’ve never seen or driven in Paris traffic. As far as risk goes, we’d equate this to a lap of the Nürburgring in a Porsche 930, in the rain, on slick tires, while tripping on LSD. While speed isn’t a factor, the constant danger of collision with trucks, busses and inattentive drivers is what makes our sphincters pucker.

Roy’s record now stands at 6.2 kilometers in 24 minutes. We’re not going to attempt to beat that anytime soon, but we’re pretty sure someone will.

Live And Let Drive’s El Slavador Adventure: Video 22
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alex Roy, Automotive, Drive Channel, Kurt, Live And Let Drive, porsche, video on 02 22nd, 2012

VW's Amarok pickup is perhaps the best transportation bargain in El Salvador

We’ll be the first to admit that, like smoked beer or steak tartar, Alex Roy is an acquired taste. He may come across as arrogant, but only because he really has been there and done that, with the t-shirt to prove it. We’ll also admit to being a bit skeptical about his latest J.F Musial-inspired mission, but it didn’t take long for this video to suck us in.

When it comes to road trips, we prefer ours north of the border. We have too many friends with too many stories about road trips ending in Mexican jails, which just isn’t our idea of a good time. Head farther south, and the political climate gets even more heated; El Salvador, according to the U.S. State Department and the CIA Fact Book, isn’t really an ideal place for a vacation getaway.

If you can get past the fact that your rental car will likely be the biggest piece of crap you’ve ever driven, and if the sight of barbed wire and ever-present (heavily) armed guards doesn’t give you cause for concern, El Salvador has perhaps the most active car culture in Central America. It’s also a reminder of how good we have things in the United States, since a Volkswagen GTI sells for roughly $45,000 in El Salvador. Ouch.

Alex Roy Explains How To Beat Speed Traps: Video 20
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Alex Roy, Automotive, BMW, Drive, Kurt, Speed Traps, video on 02 20th, 2012

Alex Roy and his 2000 BMW E39 M5

Unless you’re a true gear head, it’s entirely possible that you’ve never heard of Alex Roy. He isn’t a Formula 1 star, he hasn’t beaten Sebastian Loeb in a stage of the World Rally Championship and (as far as we know) he’s never turned a faster lap around Talladega than Jeff Gordon. He’s not a movie star, either, but Roy does has a taste for flamboyant costumes and over-the-top theatrics. The man knows a thing or two about driving fast, as well.

Roy is a multi-year Gumball 3000 and Bullrun participant, and holds the (unofficial) transcontinental speed record from New York to Los Angeles, a run Roy and co-driver David Maher made in 31 hours and 4 minutes. He also set a (now beaten) record for a lap of Manhattan, making the trip in 27 minutes with speeds as high as 144 miles per hour.

While Roy has seen his share of police stops, he’s also managed to make a career around avoiding them. In other words, when Alex Roy speaks about avoiding speed traps, it may benefit you greatly to pay attention. That said, we don’t advocate equipping a car with laser jammers (illegal in many jurisdictions), and we’d be the first to point out that public roads aren’t the place to test your driving skills.

Below is the first of a multi-part series where Roy gives advice on avoiding detection. While a lot of what he discusses is common sense, it’s still worth the time to watch the video, and we can’t wait to hear what he has to say on upcoming segments.