Journal: These Films Celebrate The Best Of French Cars

These Films Celebrate The Best Of French Cars

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
April 1, 2016

Our film this week on the Renault 5 Turbo 2 hot hatchback must have made you wonder, “What other cool cars have come from France?” Though it’s a completely unanswerable question—and would fill a few dozen textbooks–I will still try to pique your interest in some of the designs to come from our tricolore friends. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but enjoy a look at Citroën, the incredible Alpine sports cars, a Bugatti workshop…and a few surprises.

Attaining Nirvana is an earlier film of ours, but presents the iconic Citroën DS in exactly the right light: that of a beautiful, revolutionary machine.

Does posting Climb Dance ever get old? In the context of celebrating amazing French cars, no—this Group B monster had its way with the Pikes Peak hill climb.

Fun fact: the 1979 French Grand Prix was the first time a turbocharged car won in Formula 1, and it was a Renault. You know this race for another reason: the almighty battle between Gilles Villeneuve and René Arnoux that saw Villeneuve’s Ferrari valiantly fight a Renault 1-2.

Back when Citroën was owned by Michelin, the tire manufacturer developed a DS into a very-well-engineered beast that lived at its test track. This car, the PLR, could test transport truck tires to destruction, at high speeds. One thing’s for sure: if I saw it coming in the rearview, I’d drive straight off the road.

Want to see some of the best-performing sports cars to ever come from France? Prepare to fall in love with the incredible cars from Alpine.


In these days of throwaway-replaceable everything, Garage Novo does the impossible: it fixes, it repairs, and it crafts.

French driver, French car, and an (almost) French event—this is the Rallye Monte-Carlo, on-board with Sébastien Loeb.

What’s the best-sounding vintage racing car? My vote goes to the Matra MS50 V12.

Thumbnail image by Jeremy Heslup

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Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

I have only owned one French car, a 1978 Peugeot 504 wagon, with a diesel. It was a boring car, because, it always just WORKED. It was seriously like a little tank. It was slow, not much to look at, handled like a flaming dumpster, but, it was just about the most reliable car I’ve ever owned.