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Fast moving convoys of identical cars?


dave21478

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I have only ever seen this further south in the Herault....St Pons, Beziers, Perpignan kind of areas....Convoys of several identical cars moving very fast.

First time was last year sometime - a line of six dark blue new style Passat estates. All new cars, but looked well used if you see what I mean? all with dark tinted windows, base spec cars with steel wheels and no hubcaps rather than alloys, but obviously powerful. I was "making good progress" and all six ripped past me like I had yanked the handbrake, in an almost nose to tail line.

I wondered if they were some kind of police or CRS response unit?

Since then I have seen similar convoys. 5 or 6 grey new Golfs, A line of perhaps 8 Peugeot saloons, 407`s I think, and today I saw 6 white Vectra estates all parked in a row in a layby. Each time, the cars have been new, but dirty and looked well used, tints and steel wheels. Not 100% sure, but I think todays Vectras didnt have numberplates either.

Police?

Customs?

Bodyguards?

Press demonstrators?

Spooky!

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We have had up to 20 black unmarked helicopters flying around but we are near the antiterrorist training school.

They are scary at night but I stay in the compound with my wifelets and collection of art films.
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  • 3 years later...
Still seeing these.....every single time I head south, always between StPons and over the high pass towards St Chinian, mostly on the southern side of the pass.....each time I go I will normally see at least 1 convoy, sometimes more. Today I saw two different lots...

What are they...I dont even.... All modern cars look the same to me....

[img]http://s29.postimg.org/ilr7n3213/4x4.jpg[/img]

Then while stuck at roadworks 4 Audis ripped past, all grubby, running steel wheels with no trims. The pics dont show it but they all had some large device suction-cupped to the windscreen (way bigger than a GPS)

[img]http://s24.postimg.org/y88mxc1ph/image.jpg[/img]

[img]http://s17.postimg.org/ecehtdi67/image.jpg[/img]

[img]http://s17.postimg.org/55w763cxr/image.jpg[/img]

 spooky[:P]

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I wonder if it's one of those "go fast" things, of drug runners? I imagined they would take place in the dead of night when roads are emptier, but maybe they run at any time of day.

There's something about them here:

http://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/france/go-fast-huit-questions-pour-tout-savoir-sur-les-convois-de-la-drogue_587579.html

Sorry, can't do proper links on iPad...

Angela

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They might have a second vehicle to run interference but they would not draw attention to themselves by running identical cars in convoy.

As Dave has said the steel wheels is a key item, its done for safety of other road users, a slight performance advantage but mainly for their durability if they have to have some serious contact more than just trading paint, its not an option available to Joe Public and ironically these days they probably pay more for it, its something that is specified by the forces that Dave mentioned when they buy in volume.

Could there perhaps be an Advanced driver training centre in the vicinity for the GIGN or something? They would do their training in groups or perhaps an anti-terrorist driver training unit? Both of which would keep a low profile.

How about giving chase to them the next time [:-))]

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Dave's photos show 2 of the Audis on "W" plates; aren't these the equivalent of "trade" plates? So delivery drivers might not be out of the question, but I suspect something a little darker, secret service or something, disguising their identity?

I didn't understand the steel wheels bit either. [8-)]  I thought alloys were stronger and therefore safer (in the right hands).

Have you ever seen the Gendarmerie motorcycle convoys on the autoroutes? Often two or more groups of up to 8 motos travelling very fast and VERY close formation, that is, almost touching!! [:-))]

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Re the steel wheels, when you start playing bumper cars, driving over kerbs and off road to either evade or chase, pretty alloy wheels strong though they may be will crack or shatter on impact at best immobilising the vehicle at worst causing a roll over accident, steel wheels bend but continue to function if the tyre remains intact.

They dont use hubcaps or centre caps on the wheels because they will fly off in an impact, may injure a pedestrian but their main concern is that they can sever the valve stem when detaching.

The name of the game is to remain mobile Under all circumstances with a secondary interest of not injuring the public.

Proper off road vehicles use steel wheels, Chelsea Tractors have alloys.

Most modern alloy wheels except for some made exclusively for motorsport are hideously heavy, steel rims are a lot lighter. The steel rim and tyre on my Lotus Elan weighs about a quarter of the alloy and tyre on my Skoda, probably a tenth of the weight of some of the monstrosities I see like on BMW X5's where I bet the owners have never ever changed a Wheel after a puncture instead just calling the breakdown service on their mobile, I no longer have any because I resent paying for a service that doesnt charge people for doing what IMO they should be capable and competent of doing before taking to the roads in several tons of roadblock.

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I must admit that I haven't weighed the equivalent wheels on any of my cars. I haven't had steel wheels for over 30 years, but I well remember being forced to the left and hitting a kerb once with a steel wheel and the tyre immediately deflated because the bead was deformed and it caused me a heck of a control problem, so I dispute that "continue to function" statement. I vowed never to use steel ones again. (or to hit kerbs if I could help it). But hey, we're all experts on here, eh?

 

 

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These "convoys" can often be seen in Spain. They are existing vehicles that have prototype modifications fitted by the vehicle manufacturer and are in the process of being "road tested".

The hub caps and manufactures' badges are normally also removed so that the model is not easily identified. Often pressed cardboard body panels are also glued on to try to disguise the vehicle.

The reason they drive fast, and also close together, is an attempt to replicate the driving conditionson of all the test vehicles. Simples.

 

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Seems obvious to me that these vehicles are running Tyron wheel bands in the wheels so that what ever happens to their clandestine operations they can run on regardless

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKwjfWXGU4U

We had then on our caravan before we moved over. Bulletproof running!! Easy init when you know how [8-|] The police have never praised them because if they did then they would have to find an alternative to their stingers init [:-))]

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Chancer is spot-on about the steel wheels - they are much more durable at the extreme end of use. For example, a Banger racer would never use alloys if they can avoid it, simply because if a steel wheel takes a big hit it will buckle or deform but still "work" even if the tyre is deflated where an alloy will just shatter into bits and be useless.

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And not all alloys are equal, the more modern ones seem to shatter at even a glimpse of a kerb, just after one of my detached retina operations AKA driving blind [:P] I swung to the right on a one way street to take a left turn and hadnt seen that they had brought the kerb out to make a chicane, judging by the state of what remained of the kerb I wasnt the only Mr Magoo, anyway it was a huge hit with both front and rear wheels and the car left the ground on that side I stopped immediately convinced I had wrecked both tyres and wheels, in the event only the front tyre was destroyed and rim folded back on itself the rear was OK which really shocked me but it had hit with a straighter trajectory to the front steered Wheel.

The track rod was bent and the steering toed in massively but I managed to scrub my way home, I gave the track rod a good beating with the club hammer and got out my string line to retrack the steering as my Dunlop guages were back in the UK, then I turned my attention to the severely damaged alloy Wheel, I had nothing to lose so I went at it with a deadblow hammer and to my amazement got it back into shape and to this day I am still driving on it.

My poor hapless neighbour in the UK has wrecked 3 alloy wheels on his focus without ever even damaging a tyre, in fact it was only kisses of the tyre on kerbs that bent or shatterde his rims they didnt actually make contact, I tried straightening the least damaged one, you could have driven with it as it was but it would probably have failed an MOT, it shattered at the slightest touch from my rubber hammer.

The local paper reported that a motorist had successfully sued the local Council for £2750 for damage to his alloy Wheel, tyre and suspension from a pothole , the vehicle? - A Range Rover [:'(] Hundreds if not thousands of cars had driven through that pothole for close to a year, maybe some got damaged but they didnt have the means to sue, but how ironic that a vehicle that should, and once apon a time could handle any terrain should get damaged from a small pothole that lesser vehicles took in their stride.

I bet he had poncy 22" rims with rubber band tyres.

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[quote user="dave21478"]Chancer is spot-on about the steel wheels - they are much more durable at the extreme end of use. For example, a Banger racer would never use alloys if they can avoid it, simply because if a steel wheel takes a big hit it will buckle or deform but still "work" even if the tyre is deflated where an alloy will just shatter into bits and be useless.


[/quote]

You're having a laugh.  [:P][:P][:P]

Surely the point of banger racing is the cost of racing... erm... a banger! Which suggests that steel wheels are the low cost choice, not a concern about shattering.  [Www]

Steel wheels are NOT more durable. They rust for one thing, which isn't exactly top marks for durability. Where do you get your information? You only have to ask your good friend Google "Steel wheels versus Alloys" (try it) to find that it's all a matter of personal choice, BUT modern alloys do not shatter, and they would only be seriously damaged in circumstances where a steel one would be rendered useless anyway. How many police car chases have you seen on TV where the tyres have been punctured by a stinger but the car keeps going with sparks from all four alloy wheels ('cos that's the kind of car the joyriders pinch).  [geek]

I won't even mention Formula One; .... dammit, it escaped my fingers. I can just see them screaming around Monte Carlo on steel wheels next season because it says here they'll still work whatever happens. I don't think.  [:-))]

A deflated tyre will come off the rim as soon as you try to change direction, if not before. That's the case whatever type of wheel.

Also, alloys are lighter than steel, contrary to what was stated earlier. I thought this was the case, but had to check first. My 205/40 x 18" alloys + tyre are the virtually the same weight as the 17" spacesaver steel spare + tyre. For a same size wheel an alloy is usually only a matter of ounces lighter but it's significant in reducing the force required to turn the wheel, hence better acceleration and braking. 

Sid - Driving cars of all types since 1966 and checking his sources. [8-|]

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[quote user="sid"]

Where do you get your information?[/quote]

12 years of banger racing.

It is nothing to do with cost an everything to do with keeping forward motion no matter what.

[quote user="sid"]

 BUT modern alloys do not shatter...

[/quote]

They kinda do actually.

[img]http://images.ukcs.net/14355/DSC00056.JPG[/img]

[img]http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachments/the-tire-rack-s-tires-wheels-and-brakes-forum/168446d1269348732-sevas-s7-wheels-rumor-dsc00308.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.thewheelmedics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Alloy-Wheel-Face-Repairs.-Aluminium-Welding.-Gallery-Info.jpg[/img]

You will never see a steel wheel do that, and when a steel wheel does get badly damaged...

[img]http://a.rgbimg.com/cache1nGANu/users/b/br/branox/300/mi2ZvI4.jpg[/img]

you can still drive on it, knowing that it is not going to shatter.

Dave - Driving on broken wheels for fun since the 90`s. [:P]

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And the damage at the bottom of that steel rim I could, and have, repaired at the side of the road, even the huge fold at the top is repairable not that you would choose to were other steel rims freely available.

You can also widen steel rims or weld in spacers or adaptors for other bolt patterns all of which I have done at some time or other.

My Elan steel rims weigh 5kg, never come across an alloy even mangnesium alloys that comes anywhere near as light including motorsport split rims with forged magnesium centres and lightweight spun alloy outer rims from KAD, Image wheels etc.

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I prefer these steel wheels

[URL=http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Jonzjob/media/Johns/MGTC1A.jpg.html][IMG]http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f180/Jonzjob/Johns/MGTC1A.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Shame I ever got rid of that car. Wasn't cheap either, it cost me £35 [:-))] Probably worth a tad more now [8-)]

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I sincerely hope that hammer is a soft faced jobbie [:-))]

I've seen quite a few knock-ons ruined by prats using steel knockometers on them [:'(]

Mine was a government surplus (well it was govt. , but I surplussed it [6]) copper faced job [8-|]

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