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Fast & Furious convoy around London – personal experiences and despair!

Submitted by on April 9, 2009 – 7:35 pm5 Comments

fastfurious4-4It is always interesting to hear about someone else’s take on the same events. A colleague and I went to experience the Fast & Furious in yesterday; promising a collection of “twenty modified imported and customised high performance speedsters”, leaving the Ace Café for a tour around the city to promote the next in the Fast & Furious franchise.

If we fast forward to today’s report of the event in question and the amount of cars in the convoy (subsequently and inexplicably altered in name to the “”), it increased to fifty cars. I am truly aghast at this as yesterday’s experiences (for us) were very, very different from those reported.

We were told that these customized cars would be leaving the legendary Ace Café at 10am and ensured we were there before this time. This meant (since we are both from Surrey) that we needed to spend an extra £25 on getting there due to the extra fees that travelling in rush hour incur. Naturally, having to spend this extra cash already made us in a bad mood but to find that instead of 20 cars at the Ace Café, we found 15; this was the rotten cherry on the badly made cake.

For me, 15 cars do not a convoy make! Happily the figure increased to 17 after a few hours). In fact from the whole experience, I had expected nothing more than a very dull queue around London with a few cars that you’d see anywhere in the country.

The breakdown of vehicles was thus:

  • (pretty car but not customised)
  • (new shape) – the best car there (still not appropriate though)
  • 106
  • Peugeot 206
  • Peugeot 206 cc
  • 3 x MR2s (one of which didn’t leave the Café)
  • Nissan
  • 6 x Nissan Skylines
  • Porsche 911

Now let’s not forget that the latest Fast & Furious film focuses on classic muscle cars more than modern European ones. Only Paul “I like technology” Walker drove a in the film for a 12 minute scene. Clearly then almost all of the above were irrelevant to the film! In fact the closest in tone to the latest films were the Skylines (all of which I despise due to the fact that they are the dream content of 17 year old males. Anything from the dreams of 17 year old males are not worth paying attention to).

So we had a collection (a small one) of vehicles almost completely unrelated to the film that they were promoting. Never mind I thought! They would still be good to see racing around the streets of London in convoy. Each vehicle was adorned with some stickers for Fast & Furious so that the few people who spotted the cars would “know” somehow that they were promoting the latest Vin Diesel and Paul Walker film. Some two and a half (or more) hours later, the vehicles began their journey from the Ace Café. Their planned journey was thus:

  • 10.00am – Depart Ace Café
  • 11.15am- Regents Park (London Zoo)
  • 12.00pm- Regent St
  • 12.10pm- Piccadilly Circus
  • 12.15pm- Pall Mall
  • 12.25pm- St. James
  • 12.40pm- Trafalgar Square
  • 1.00pm- Tower Bridge
  • 1.20pm- London Eye
  • 1.30pm- Parliament Square
  • 2.00pm- Hyde Park
  • 3.00pm- Battersea Park
  • 4.30pm- Arrive back to the Ace Café

Clearly since they left at 12:40 the itinerary above meant absolutely nothing, so it was left to us to figure out when they would be passing various locations. In the original itinerary we were informed that it was a 1 hour and 15 minute journey from the Café to Regent’s Park (London Zoo). Being on London public transport (to prove that it is the best way to travel around the city) my colleague and I arrived at the entrance of London Zoo at 12:30. We knew it was the entrance because it said “Main Entrance”. Clearly there was no ambiguity in the sign then! We waited…and waited….and waited….checked the camera had not been stolen….and waited…appreciated that there were a great deal of attractive joggers in Regent’s Park…and waited some more. By 13:17 we had decided that they must be stuck in traffic. We called the coordinator and were informed that they had passed London Zoo a while back and were now going through Great Portland Street.

Now call me stupid if you will, but Great Portland Street was not on the itinerary above and this information was as useful to me as if the coordinator had exclaimed that he had loved lemons as a child. It seems that despite sitting outside of the main entrance of London Zoo, the cars had not passed it. Was this because they were trying to catch up after leaving so late? If this was the case then my newly calculated itinerary meant less than the stickers on each of the silly spoilered cars. Not being from London town, we decided that we would miss out the next few stops and head on to Charing Cross in order to get a shot of the cars around Trafalgar Square.

Another short train journey and we found ourselves in the land of evicted pigeons, lions and Nelson. More waiting ensued and since it was 14:30 and we hadn’t eaten yet that day we decided enough was enough! Time for lunch! Screw the convoy/tunnel run, the “coordinator” and screw the silly coloured cars with stupidly sized speakers and big bore exhausts! Let’s put it into perspective here: we were attempting to spot 16 cars travelling around London. That is like finding a needle in a haystack! For me, a convoy involves a hundred cars (or at least 50). You couldn’t miss that! You couldn’t ignore the sound as they raced by!

When all is said and done, this event was to promote Fast and Furious. It didn’t have the relevant cars, it was very, very late, it was badly coordinated and apart from a few stickers and a couple of posters on the Ace Café it could have been just a couple of boy racers meeting up.

I’d encourage anyone who enjoys cars to go and appreciate Fast & Furious (out on the 10th April). I’d also encourage anyone to go and visit the Ace Café as they hold events (probably better than this one) all around the year. I just wouldn’t suggest that two unfit gentlemen race around London in an attempt to catch up with the most mediocre of convoys using public transport. When all is said and done though, the tone of the film was captured elegantly! The cars were too fast and by the end of the day, we were furious!

Take a look at the pictures included of the cars leaving Ace Café and in particular have a look at the cream Peugeot 106 and tell me how you are supposed to change a wheel without removing several vital car body sections…because we couldn’t figure it out!

Update: I have just been sent the official of the event and been told that the 16 cars we saw leaving the Ace Café turned into 50 arriving in the late afternoon! Most of the images were taken as a kind of evening meet-up as opposed to being part of the convoy. Let me assure you that if we had been bothered to go back to the Ace Café for the “finish” we would still have been disappointed. This was a shambles from beginning to end and be glad that you missed it! I for one will not get that time back and someone shall be paying for it!

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