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(Expatica)   Renault sues owner who told police his vehicle wouldn't stop from 125 mph. Sammy Hagar unavailable for comment   ( divider line
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15898 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Oct 2004 at 6:59 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

91 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-10-07 08:30:10 PM  
Curiouser and Curiouser.
2004-10-08 04:36:27 AM  
To be fair, I used to drive an '85 Ford Crown Victoria that had a flaw in the cruise control that caused it to accelerate all of a sudden. Hell, one even got away on the grounds of the White House and crashed into a tree. (I saw it on 60 Minutes.)
Anyhow, any excuse is a good one if you're drunk.
2004-10-08 07:09:25 AM  
Interesting that he managed to stop before a tool booth. I think he's full of it. ALso, I didn;t think a Renault could go that fast.
2004-10-08 07:17:09 AM  
At least he wasn't drunk.
2004-10-08 07:23:54 AM  
who's this dip think he's bullshiatting?
2004-10-08 07:24:22 AM  
What I can't figure out is why he didn't just put the car into neutral. Unless Renault has some kind of feature that prevents this, it seems impossible to believe that someone could drive as long as he did, while on the phone with the cops, and no one would tell him to just put it in neutral. It makes no sense, I tell you!
2004-10-08 07:30:22 AM  
. . . Hicham Dequiedt, 29, who claimed that on overtaking a lorry . . .

[image from too old to be available]
2004-10-08 07:32:59 AM  
I call shenanigans.

Most cars in Europe have manual transmissions and mechanical clutches (cable actuated or hydraulic).

Step on the clutch, pull it out of gear. In a pinch, you can almost always shift a transmission out of gear without the clutch, too.

In the unlikely event it was an auto, you could do the same thing.

They make it on purpose that you can shift a car out of gear in case the throttle sticks- it is possible whether you have a drive-by-wire throttle (like this thing probably does) or a cable-actuated accelerator.

The natural side effect in this emergency maneuver is that the engine would overrev in neutral (assuming it was getting enough throttle for 125mph) and blow. But it's under warranty, hopefully.

I, like Renault, remain unconvinced. It was driver stupidy at best, and a possible elaborate scam to defraud Renault at worst.

Of course, Renaults do suck. My dad owned a Renault Alliance years ago. Picture a car made with French engineering and early 80's US Union Labor in Kenosha, WI. What a pile of crap that thing was.
2004-10-08 07:34:31 AM  
Vel Satis:

[image from too old to be available]
2004-10-08 07:36:43 AM  
or this Vel Satis?

[image from too old to be available]

2004-10-08 07:50:26 AM  
hmmm, let's take a look at the match up --
large auto manufacturer with deep pockets
some little guy who was so poor he had to drive a Renault

even if he was telling the truth, he's going to get buried in court.
2004-10-08 08:04:54 AM  
vroom vroom

i saw a movie about this once, and i read about it in the readers digest, it's not a very original idea, he could have done better
2004-10-08 08:07:42 AM  

ugliest. car. ever.
2004-10-08 08:16:41 AM  
So poor that he had to buy a Renault?

Ringing in at about 24,000 Pounds. That is what, roughly 50K USD? Ouch.

Remember the Peugots and Renaults we Americans learned to hate in the 80s are long gone. Like the K cars. THANK GOD!!!!

/secretly misses the 'Le Car'
/not really
2004-10-08 08:17:32 AM  
Deck Guy
Interesting that he managed to stop before a tool booth. I think he's full of it. ALso, I didn;t think a Renault could go that fast.

You know, there has been other Renault than the R5 (LeCar for you trans-atlantican friends). Sure, the Renault 5 would certainly not be able to go that fast. But other Renault (and French) cars could. Heck, my 73 Citron GS could reach 100 MPH, and it was a 1.2 liter engine with a gour-gear box !

ugliest. car. ever.
Uglier than the Pontiac Aztec ?
2004-10-08 08:20:17 AM  
If the engine is revved to redline in neutral it will not blow!! The engine computer will cut fuel back to keep it within design parameters.

When will this stupid myth end. The correct thing to do in a runaway situations it to shift to neutral, brake and steer to a stop, /then/ worry about shutting the car off.
2004-10-08 08:20:35 AM  
Must have WindowsCE for the ECU...

I have to tell you, I believe this guy. I had a 1980 Chevy Citation that did that. I was right next to a CHP car and had cruise set, and it took off. The cop thought I was insane to pass him...but he didn't believe me. Months later I was able to have a mechanic track it down, and I fought the ticket and won.

I also had an 84 Toyota pickup that did it too. It would redline. And if you took it out of gear, it would just shoot up. I had to turn it off.

So yes, I certainly believe it's possible. It took me months to recreate it on the Chevy, but I figured out how to do it on the Toyota.
2004-10-08 08:22:58 AM  
This happened to me. I had rented a Saturn for a cross-country trip with friends, and we were leaving Morehead, KY to get back on the highway when the cruise control kicked in and I started accelerating. I mashed on the brakes, and just before a red light, I came to a smoking halt. The car smelled like burnt rubber for about the next 300 miles. The car had only gotten up to 75 mph, but still.
2004-10-08 08:25:13 AM  

Why do you think they called it the Citation?
2004-10-08 08:27:18 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-10-08 08:27:57 AM  
A lot of the time, the whole reving up thing is just caused by a dirty throttle body. If it starts happening on your car, find the throttle body near where the intake goes into the engine. It should look like a little cylinder thing, it usually has like a plunger looking thing inside it. Once you find it..just tap it with the back of a screwdriver or something. Usually you dislodge enough carbon to get the engine to normalize again.
2004-10-08 08:29:39 AM  

You don't have to "call shenanigans" -- it's OBVIOUS that he's lying. He just had his license suspended for four years, and now he claims he was driving 125 because his throttle stuck!

Also, do you always speak so authoratatively about things you barely understand? Pulling the car out of gear when the throttle sticks isn't an accepted "emergency maneuver" because as you mentioned it will destroy the engine.

If your throttle sticks YOU SHUT OFF THE ENGINE AND THE CAR STOPS. If your brakes fail YOU SHUT OFF THE ENGINE AND THE CAR STOPS. If your cruise control goes nuts and you can't shut it off YOU SHUT OFF THE ENGINE AND THE CAR STOPS. There is no "emergency maneuver" to worry about.
2004-10-08 08:34:45 AM  
BadBatsuMaru: you realize this car has a card-based ignition and thus "shutting off the engine" is not exactly an option, right?
2004-10-08 08:37:46 AM  
Putting the car in neutral and letting the engine explode IS the correct reaction. Check it out on if you don't believe me.

Because which is worse:

1) Blowed up engine
2) Head on impact into something big at 60+ MPH (remember if you do this then your engine is probably no good anyway)
2004-10-08 08:42:11 AM  
Renault 5 = le car
Renault Vel Satis = teh car
2004-10-08 08:42:20 AM  
spinfire: What's this "myth" you speak of? The rev limiter is well past the redline on every car I know of. If you're so confident in your car's ECU, why don't you go sit in your driveway for a few minutes with your car in neutral and the gas pedal to the floor.

That's just about the stupidest thing I've ever heard. If your car doesn't want to stop, you can pull it out of gear and let the engine scream while you apply the brakes, or you can shut the engine off as soon as you pull it out of gear. It doesn't seem like a very tough decision to me.

Shutting the engine off doesn't mean you have to totally remove the key from the ignition. It's not like you have to worry about the wheel locking.
2004-10-08 08:46:02 AM  

Are you suggesting that Renault is now making vehicles in which it is impossible to shut off the engine? I find that hard to believe.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2004-10-08 08:50:43 AM  
The rev limiter is well past the redline on every car I know of.

Cutoff has been only 250-500 past redline on my cars. Some cars with automatic transmissions have separate rev limiters in neutral, way below redline. The engine exploding belief may come from the days before rev limiters. It used to be a race to see whether you would run out of air, the valves would float, or some part of the engine would self-destruct.
2004-10-08 08:55:51 AM  
misterbee, can you say again, for the record, where exactly you and your friends where leaving from?
2004-10-08 09:04:23 AM  

From my understanding the electronic card that actuates the Vel Satis' ignition locks the steering when removed. There are no "key positions" in the car, you simply insert the card and press start. If this turns out to have been a real malfunction, and not a lying motorist, I would expect that this system will be replaced by something that does allow you to stop the engine without locking the steering.

My theory is that the cruise control got confused and thought the Germans were chasing him. The computer was programmed by the French, after all.
2004-10-08 09:11:43 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-10-08 09:12:56 AM  
The rev limiter is well past the redline on every car I know of.

Perhaps every car you know of is a Renault. Every car I've owned had the rev limiter at or just above the spec'd redline, although it (obviously) won't always appear that way on the tach.
2004-10-08 09:17:38 AM  
A car with an engine that can't be stopped? It's a conspiracy by the oil companies.

Amazingly, Renault do actually let drivers stop the engine.... by pressing the start/stop button...

[image from too old to be available]
2004-10-08 09:20:05 AM  
To the "ugliest car evar" comments.

Maybe you've never seen the Renault Megane, one of the best selling cars on the Continent. (Note how I said "on the continent." Our English brethren have better taste.)​-3/Septe mber-17-03-p8.htm
2004-10-08 09:20:42 AM  
retry​-3/Septe mber-17-03-p8.htm
2004-10-08 09:22:19 AM  
Police who spoke to Dequiedt on his mobile phone as he sped for an hour on the motorway said they were convinced he was telling the truth. Eventually he said he was able to switch off the engine and the car cruised to a halt 20 kilometres (12 miles) from a toll-gate near the town of Riom.

The article doesn't say (if I does, I couldn't find it) if the police were trying to pull him over. Did he CALL the cops and tell them his car was doing this? If so, why would he lie about the car going 125 mph if no one would be the wiser?

The article also states he was 12 MILES away from the toll booth when he was able to stop. It wasn't like he was going to crash into it.

The police believed him. Police are usually good at finding the negativity in any and all situations. Seems to me they would be getting some pretty good money from that ticket had he been lying.
2004-10-08 09:30:45 AM  
Dear New Owner,

Thank you for buying our exciting product. If you find anything wrong at all, keep your mouth shut ot we'll sue the living shiat out of you.

Thank you for buying Renault!

Have a nice day.

2004-10-08 09:33:07 AM  
I've never been able to get a speeding ticket in France no matter how fast I drive. I can't imagine cops bothering to look up and take notice of a car streaming past them at only 125mph. Hell I was passed by a Renault minivan full of skiers at 105mph once. I don't even change to the left lane on the A24 below 110mph anymore.
2004-10-08 09:35:11 AM  
A car revving for a long time in neutral will probably blow the engine because it will over heat as air needs to move past the radiator to cool the fluid that in turn cools the engine. However an average car revving it guts out while coming to a stop is unlikely to blow it's self up.

AS for Renault being shiat. They are average cars. Personally I don't trust French cars build quality but the suspension on them is normally top notch they also have a knack of good hot hatches (PUG 205,106 GTI, Renault Clio cup). Although none of these will appeal to Americans as they are to small with small capacity engines or diesel ones. BTW automatics in small cars suck cos they suck all torque out of them and Americans seem to love automatics (madness I tell ya).
2004-10-08 09:39:07 AM  
Americans seem to love automatics (madness I tell ya).

Do you use punchcards to post to Fark? Modern automatic transmissions aren't nearly as bad as the older ones, and anyone who's sat in the DC Beltway traffic on a daily basis will tell you that they're cheaper than buying new clutches every 15k miles or so.

I learned to drive on a manual, and I think that has contributed to my overall distaste of driving, period. I don't even own a car right now.
2004-10-08 09:53:36 AM  
CheatCommando --
"...will tell you that they're cheaper than buying new clutches every 15k miles or so."

15K miles!? Maybe for a female driver or someone who can't drive a stick.

I've got 160K on the clutch of my manual car and it's mostly city miles.
2004-10-08 09:56:43 AM  
Mabee he should have been driving my old Ford Escort. I got it to hit 83mph on the highway with a tailwind. Great car, just not going to set any speed records.

/Has a new car :)
2004-10-08 10:03:14 AM  
Having watch the news on french television last night I believe Renault are in for a bit of a shock. More drivers are coming forward with similar complaints, all concerning the cruise control. Renault's not going to have it easy.
2004-10-08 10:04:03 AM  
Maybe he just forgot to take his foot off the gas ...

2004-10-08 10:11:59 AM  
Just to cut all the bull about RevLimiters
I'm just back from a Honda Dealer event showcasing a certain new bike engine, and we were shown footage of them red lining a new bike engine for 24 Hours Straight on a bench (No passing ventilation, relying on the engine's cooling system only). The footage was remarkable, when the engine was brought to idle after 24 hours, apart from the block looking a dull red colour, all it would have needed was a cooldown and inspection service. All engines run at about 70% of tolerances, thats why you can chip/modify them for more performance, it's for reliability.

And yes, I am in the Motor Trade, and yes I do work on engines the odd time.
2004-10-08 10:21:58 AM  
"Eventually he was able to switch off his engine..."

Wow, that would have been the first thing I thought of, besides hitting the brakes. Calling the police would have been a long way down the list. What are we supposed to believe, that the cruis control AND the ignition switch suddenly both stopped working? I'm pretty sure there is no way an ignition switch would fail to cut power to the ignition system. Did his brakes fail at the same time? Don't tell me the brakes didn't work either.

And of course, there is always neutral.
I think this is an obvious case of dumbassishness.
2004-10-08 10:22:03 AM  

You got to 83 MPH in an Escort? What did you do, drop it from 15,000 feet out of a C-130?
2004-10-08 10:22:35 AM  
"I can't drive....88.5 kph"
2004-10-08 10:23:45 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

"I'm shocked! Shocked to find that speeding is going on here!"
2004-10-08 10:25:41 AM  

This Vel Satis was a concept car, never produced.
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