Top Gear Series 17 Episode 5
Every time Top Gear reaches its halfway point, I just feel sad. Anyway, it’s Episode 5, and in this episode, Jeremy Clarkson talks to a man in sun glasses, James May draws a square on a wall, and Richard Hammon plays with a soldier’s chopper. Spoiler alert ahead.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, British TV was mostly about spy stuff (no thanks to the Cold War). As such, there always had to be a cool car but no one ever drove a Jensen Interceptor. For a car that looked fantastic, the car was pretty rubbish. It had been fitted with parts from random parts bins. Nothing really purposefully built. However, the old Interceptor gets an update thanks to another small car company. The new Interceptor gets a 6.2L V8 from the Corvette and new suspensions and brakes but retains much of its old features like the body, the dash, and even the radio. But as Jezza, points out, the car is more of a time machine. So in classic Top Gear tradition, the film cuts to a 70s cop/spy clip with the three appearing with period clothing and mustaches. The talk about filming a 70s sequence complete with silhouettes, karate chops, cars, gunfights, and girls in bikinis.
To start off, James points out that the program must finish in 59 minutes to give way to the MotoGP. For the proper news, they talk about the flying car, the Shelby SuperCar Tuatara, the MINI Inspired by Goodwood, Aston Martin Cygnet & Collette Limited Edition, and pictures of bird dirt on cars.
Out on the track, Jezza tries to get the feel of being a Formula 1 driver by driving a Lotus T125 track car. While it’s not exactly a Formula 1 car, the car comes with a Cosworth V8, a full race aero kit, an F1-style steering wheel, a sequential ‘box, and a hand-operated clutch among others. To round up the package, the kit includes a physical trainer, a chef, a mobile home, a team of mechanics, and former Ferrari F1 driver Jean Alesi. Jezza gets into the car but initially fails to do so, no thanks to Jezza’s frame. So they take the seat out and swaps it out for foam. Now that Jezza is in, he takes to the track but struggles with the sheer force of the car. To put it into perspective, Jezza gets into his CLK 63 AMG and shows that he gets to the follow through at 90 mph, however in the Lotus, he needs to tell his mind that he has to take it on at 160 mph. Same is the case with the braking. Coming into the Hammerhead, he needs to brake in his CLK 140 meters before the corner. For motivation, Jezza then sends the Stig out in the Atiel Atom V8 to set a time in their short circuit. Jezza then takes the 36.2 seconds and tries to beat it. And he does. The Lotus wasn’t set out for a quick lap in the Stig’s hands though. No thanks to the rain.
Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car: Bob Geldof
For those not really familiar with the guy, Sir Bob Geldof is an Irish singer, songwriter, actor and political activist involved in efforts such as Band Aid, Live Aid, and Live 8. They talk about how Sir Bob did highway work, his cars including a Toyota Previa and a Lexus and his books. Anyway, a rather boring interview (IMHO). His time: 1:48.1.
Army Vehicle Demolition Challenge
Wrapping up the show is a segment that features nothing but wreckage in true ambitious-but-rubbish TG tradition. The boys got challenged by the World Demolition champions to knock down a row of houses. To practice, they get hold of a digger, a bulldozer, a jackhammer, and a dump truck to knock down an old house. As for the real challenge, the boys shop for military vehicles from an army depot where they get to try out a Scorpion, a Saxon, a Willis Jeep, and even fly a Gazelle chopper. They eventually settle for a 434 Armored Recovery Vehicle with a crane for Hammond, a Combat Engineering Tractor for James, and a ARMTRAC 400 with mine clearing attachment for Jezza. While the champs demolished systematically, the boys try out all sorts of things – harpoons, explosives, and ramming down houses. As expected, the champs win while the boys’ still had a ways to go.
Since the show has to end, at 59 minutes and with Jezza still trying to close out, the show cuts out at the 59th minute while Jezza was talking.