Bond cars come in all shapes and sizes. And values, too. Obviously, there’s the Aston DB5 – the most iconic of them all – and a good one of those in the right spec is about the same money as a small island in the Bahamas. At the other end of the spectrum, certainly in terms of power, is the humble Citroen 2CV. These aren’t island money but they’re still knocking on the door of £20,000 for a good one. In between those two extremes is a list of many. It includes BMWs, Esprits, a Mercedes W108, Sunbeam Alpine, Alfa GTV6, AMC Hornet and even a Leyland Sherpa van. And those are just the ones Bond drove. The tally of his adversaries’ motors is even longer.
Anyway, today’s subject is the humdrum Renault 11. Often forgotten as a Bond car even though it produced one of the more spectacular on-screen performances. Roger Moore had a habit of decapitating his wheels. In his first depiction of 007 he chopped the upper deck off a Routemaster in Live and Let Die. Then, to bookend that, in his last outing he did the same to a Renault 11 in A View to a Kill. To be fair, it didn’t ruin its looks. The 11’s near-arrow-straight bodywork, from bonnet to tailgate, rather suited this new speedster style. But then he went one better, by removing the rear end as well. Technically, it was a Renault 20 that removed the 11’s back end, but you know what I mean.
Whatever you think of A View to Kill (and the fact that Bond was older than the mother of his Bond girl at the time) that was a cool stunt. If you look at the sequence just before the impact, the 11 looks like a perfectly ordinary car, other than its missing roof. Straight and true down the sides. Yet at that very point the two halves were being held together by an electromagnet, which was disabled at exactly the point the 20 struck, so the car split in two perfectly.
And the 20 wasn’t hanging around when it hit, either. It was travelling at quite a lick and piled straight into the rear wing, just a foot or so behind the stunt driver’s back. It required precision driving and bravery. Despite the cleanness of the break, there was still a fair amount of metal flying around as the rear doors came off. This was genuinely risky stuff, yet beautifully choreographed. The front half dropped seamlessly onto the extra dolly wheels that had been welded to the underneath and it wasn’t even knocked offline by the impact. It continued straight, running on the fuel tank that had been fitted to the front half. Apparently it was quite loud, though. There was no silencer and, therefore, it had a straight-through exhaust.
Anyway, that little appreciation of the stunt was inspired by this 11 that I happened to find in the PH classifieds. It’s not quite the same as the Bond car. It’s white for a start, not blue, and it’s the facelifted model sporting the ‘new’ front end that appeared in 1987. It’s a sharp-looking car, mind. Those Robert Opron lines – yes, he of Citroen SM fame – look very clean and of their time, and although it’s not a hugely sought-after classic these days, it’s the kind of car that you’ll appreciate if your dad had one back in the day. And this one is as clean as they come, inside and out, and showing just 54,000 miles.
An unassuming car, then, but with a bit of a backstory all the same, and well worth a mention.
Specification | Renault 11 1.4 GTL
Engine: 1,397cc, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 68
Torque (lb ft): 78
Recorded mileage: 54,000
Year registered: 1988
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £6,495
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