Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Instrumentalism #03:- Renault 9/11 Electronic

I have been fascinated by this car for pretty much all my life. Or, well, since I was five, anyway. I was walking back home from some kind of mundane shopping exercise or somesuch, and a car being driven by one of her friends drew level and offered us a lift. It was a tedious car, bland beyond any kind of recall in the future, or it would have been had the dashboard not completely hypnotised me.

Please remember, I was 5. That's my excuse.

 The Renault 9 / 11 was (I was quite right here) ordinary in the extreme. Even a brief appearance in A View To A Kill didn't give it any lasting cult status. They were elected as European Car Of The Year in 1982, perhaps because they demonstrated just how normal cars could be.

There were a few twitches of life, though. The Turbo, of course, which used the same engine as the Renault 5 Turbo and consequently was extremely good at wheelspinning, But it wasn't the Turbo that got the Spaceodyssey dashboard.

No, it was an entirely different model; the TXE Electronic. In this the regular gauge cluster was thrown against the wall and then jumped upon repeatedly, and in its place went a new LCD panel, together with an exclusive stereo system developed specifically for that car by Phillips. There was also the dreaded Voice Synthesizer to warn of interesting faults like brake pad wear, low oil pressure or open doors.

Thankfully, it seems that at least one of these bizzarely specified vehicles has lasted
for long enough for somebody from overseas to take a video and whang it onto Youtube. And here it is:

(Thanks to Axel34440 in Youtubeland for putting the above in the public domain.)