It was a rendez vous: 40 years of the first recording of cars viral, more than 200 km/h for the center of Paris

In August 1976, does now exactly 40 years, the means to produce an electrical video were, with respect to the current, as compare an arrowhead of flint, with a combat car. There were No video cameras, personal – type GoPro – nor all we had a video camera of high resolution, with embedded phone in the pocket. Also there were platforms massive video distribution, such as Youtube. Maybe that’s why this short film, no longer than 9 minutes, ended up becoming a video cult, generating controversy several and a profound reflection on the limits of what we consider moral and ethical in the production of a short film or a feature film, and a video that for many fans of speed will always be a point of reference, C etait a rendez vous.


C etait a rendez vous was filmed a good morning of August 1976, at about 5:30, to take advantage of the decongestion of the streets of paris at that time, and minimize risks.

in the absence of permission to close to traffic the streets of the centre of Paris, Claude Lelouch, director of C etait a rendez vous, decided to conduct his recording with the traffic open. We talk about drive through the centre of Paris in a little more than 8 minutes of infarction, to high speed, from Porte Dauphine, until you reach the Basilique du Sacré Couer of Montmartre, where he hoped the appointment of this intrepid driver in a hurry, in a hurry. A journey dodging other cars, oblivious to the recording, shooing away the pigeons, and to the surprise of passers-by.

Even with the limitations of the media of the time, and the absence of channels of distribution mass, C etait a rendez vous could well be defined as the first recording from a car with the viral nature of the story.

To further increase his legend, still continue to spread different rumors and aspects of its production that even today is controversial. The most widespread concerns of its director, Claude Lelouch, and their alleged arrest after the publication of the short. It also generated numerous discussions, the identity of the pilot, which was rumored as if it was a Stig of the seventies it were, it could be even a pilot of Formula 1.

In a most recent film Lelouch would make sure that he himself was the driver, and only knew of his intentions two people, his girlfriend, who received the order to wait in Sacre Coeur, and his assistant, which was placed close to the Louvre (the scene of the twist of the left, the red traffic light and the bus that we see at around minute 3:17 of the video), to avoid an accident when crossing the blind arch and the double meaning of the Place du Carousel. Lelouch would recognize that in spite of all they are in luck, because the walkie-talkie that had been prepared to warn of the presence of cars on the other side of the arch did not work at the time of filming the scene. Having crossed a few seconds earlier could well have finished recess in the underside of the bus.

The recording was made from the bumper of a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9, with an eight-cylinder motor, which only was available with an automatic change of three relationships. When you watch the video, soon you will become aware of that, if that is the case, the audio would not fit with that vehicle, especially by the sharp sound of the engine and to listen to cuts of three and four gears, with toe-heel included. And the reason is not other than the fact that it was carried out a dubbing of the audio using the Ferrari 275 GTB of the own Lelouch.

The own Lelouch would recognize that in many times is exceeded the 200 km/h, even to skim the tip of the Mercedes-Benz. Others claim that at no time did it reach such speeds. Those who set out to analyze the video carefully would come to the conclusion (see Speed of a Car: C etait a Rendezvous) that the speeds were not as high for the feel of the video, even if it would have reached at some point, presumably in the stretch between the Arc de Triomphe de l’etoile, the Place de La Concorde, and the Louvre, speeds approaching and exceeding those 200 km/h.