History and histories

Leclerc and Lelouch: Mercedes or Ferrari?

Photo credit: Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes, Les Films 13/Christophel

A Ford GT40 on an empty test track in Montlhéry, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Mustang in US colors, and a mad dash to Paris, for a romantic tryst, in the same car used in the Rally. These are the ingredients of Jean-Claude Lelouch’s 1966 masterpiece Un Homme et une Femme, and the film is so real you can’t help thinking that its leading male, a race driver, must be based on Lelouch himself.

The Ford GT40 with the red, white and blue livery of Ford France used by actor Jean-Louis Trintignant in Claude Lelouch’s famous film “Un homme et une femme”

Certainly, the Paris sequence is one that the director went on to repeat, but this time for real. His crazy race through deserted Paris streets early one Sunday morning in 1978 was captured in a thrilling short film called C’était un rendez-vous.

The Ford Mustang that actually participated in the Monte-Carlo Rally with Trintignant to give him realistic scenes of the race

As the film’s title shows, the reason for this high-speed drive across Paris in a Ferrari 275 GTB, touching speeds of 200 km/h, was the same: he had a date of his own. It matters little if, in this case, the car in question was actually a Mercedes 450 SEL, probably used in place of a Ferrari so as not to attract the attention of the traffic police. The sound of the engine and the perfectly executed and perfectly timed gear changes could well have been those of a Ferrari.

The star of the crazy run across Paris was supposed to be a 275 GTB/4, the noise of the engine and the gear changes would seem to confirm it…

And what about the third story in the “series”, this one, filmed by Lelouch at daybreak a few days ago (Saturday, May 23), featuring Charles Leclerc at the wheel of a Ferrari SF 90 (or could it have been a Mercedes?!), going hell for leather along the route of the Monaco Gran Prix. What was the object of his desire?  Who knows?!

…but the available documents say it was the Mercedes 450 SEL owned by the director that carried out this love-inspired stunt. Watch the movie. We’re sure you won’t believe it, too

All we know at present is that he is in love with Ferrari, but what happens at the finishing line? Prince Albert himself was present to watch the filming, but the rest of us will have to wait and see. What more passionate ending could there be, though, than a Monte Carlo born driver winning his home Gran Prix at the wheel of a Ferrari? Seeing would be believing. It would surely mean a new Oscar for Lelouch. We’ll find out in due course.

Claude Lelouch during the filming of his latest message of passion for racing: Charles Leclerc will blast around the streets of Monte Carlo on board the SF90 Stradale

 


In the meantime, enjoy the crazy short film C’était un rendez-vous