Top Gear (2002–…): Season 12, Episode 2 - Episode #12.2 - full transcript

Jeremy road tests the new Fiat 500 Abarth. The boys went to the U.S to test a new generation of muscle cars while they went on an epic journey from San Fransisco to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. In the road trip, James drive the new Cadillac CTS-V, Jeremy drives the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Richard drives the new Dodge Challenger.

(Jeremy) 0n tonight's holiday program,
we go to San Francisco in California,

we have a night out in Reno, Nevada,

and we end up on the salt flats of Bonneville.

Thank you! Hello.

Hello and welcome.

Now, that... that is all to come.

But first,

ever since Mr. Barclay
stopped lending money to Mr. Lloyd

and Mr. Rock was bought by Mr. Brown,

sales of flash new cars
have almost completely stopped.

So does this mean
it's the end of the road for the petrol-head?

Or can you still have fun for eight pence?

This is the Fiat 500,

and, first things first,
James May doesn't like it at all.

He says it's too cutesy, too twee.

Mind you, we are talking here about
a man who says that if he came to power,

his first job would be to carpet-bomb
the Cotswold town of Burford.


I, on the other hand, would not bomb Burford,
so I like the little Fiat a lot.

It's L4,000 cheaper than a Mini.

It's also smaller, more economical,
and, I think, better-looking.

And, best of all, and I know this is a concept
"Eeyore" May doesn't understand,

this car makes you feel happy.


And now there's a new version,
and that's even better.

This mad little scamp is the 500 Abarth,
and here are the headlines.

The 1.4- Liter engine has been turbocharged
so it produces 135 horsepower.

That means it'll do 130 miles an hour.

That's brilliant, except the car
I'm driving right now is the SS version,

which produces 160 horsepower.

160 horsepower,

in a car the size of a shoe.

That's fantastic.

Heel and toe.


With all that power
going through the front wheels,

there is a bit of tug at the steering wheel,
that's to be expected,

and the ride is quite bouncy.

However, there's no bounciness
in the check you'll have to write,

because prices are gonna start at just L13,500.

And it's not what
you'd call barren in here either.

It's got a slot down here
into which you can plug your... Windows.

It's got air-conditioning. It's got
MP3 connectivity. It's got a CD player.

And it's got a radio that plays...



Although this could be Radio 1.

Now, you could solve that
by fitting an aerial.

And then what you'd end up with
is a small cuddly pet mouse

that can be used for killing burglars.

However, there is one teeny little thing
that's niggling me.

You see, Abarth is to Fiat
what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz.

It's a sort of in-house tuning company.

Only they're much, much more mad.

For example, in the '80s
they got hold of the Strada

and they fitted these fabulous bucket seats.

They were brilliant,

except you couldn't tilt them forward
because the head rest hit the roof,

and that meant you couldn't get in the back.

And that was nothing compared
to what they did to the 600.

What they did was tweak the engine.

And then they found the only way of keeping
it cool was to run with the boot lid open.

And then they found
that if they opened the boot lid fully,

it made the car 11 kilometers an hour faster.

So this is how it was sold,
with a boot lid that can't be closed.

That and seats that won't fold forward,
that is the Abarth way.

And that's the niggle I have with the new 500.
Where's the lunacy?

If we X-ray it, we find the floor from a Panda.

The engine from a Punto.

A shape from the '60s.

And some Abarth badges.

What's more, behind the louvers and
the big wheels and the lowered suspension,

we find it has seating for four, just.

And a boot which is big enough for things.

0n the move, it doesn't bark
or try to turn itself into an oven glove.

And if you try to drive it with
the bonnet open, it doesn't work at all.

I can't see where I'm going!
I can't see a thing!

This car, then, is not mad in any way.

But on the upside,
it is a pretty serious little racer.

I mean, listen to the noise. It growls.

"Rrrr! I'm only this big
but I'm a Lamborghini really!

"I am. I really am. I promise."

Look in here. It's got a steering wheel trimmed
in red and black like a man's wash bag.

It's got body-hugging leather seats and
it's got a button here that makes more talk

and another button here
that does something racy with it.

And look at this, a turbo-boost gauge
the size of a fat spaniel's face.

It corners well too.

It's poised, it's composed, it's tidy.
There are no histrionics.

"You see? I told you
I was a Lamborghini. I am."

In many ways, it reminds me
of the original Golf GTI.

It's just a genuinely good,
small, fast car.

I love it. I really love it.

But as I said in the film,
I do miss some of that Abarth idiocy.

What you're saying is
it would be better if it was worse.

- Yes.
- But you're just being obtuse.

You're the one that
wants to attack the Cotswolds.

Anyway, we must now find out
how fast it goes around our track,

and of course that means
handing it over to our tame racing driver.

Some say that he invented November,

and that if he'd won the world championship
in Brazil last weekend,

there might have been one photograph of him
without his father gurning in the back of shot.

All we know is he's called the Stig.

And he's off. Wheel spin there.

This is the first front-wheel-drive car
we've had on the track for a while.

0K, now he's charging down
to the first corner.

0h, the hazards come on under hard braking.

That's a sensible safety feature,
not at all what you want from an Abarth.


Stig still listening to Morse code.
Better than static, I suppose.

As he squeaks round Chicago.

And now down to the Hammerhead.

More hazard flashing. But it's front-wheel
drive so will it under-steer?

Let's have a look. Yes, there is
a limit to the little terrier's grip.

Yet he's got it gathered up in no time.
Good boyl


Maybe he's signaling to his home planet.

There he is scampering
through Follow-through,

panting and growling past the tires.

This really is the kind of car you'd imagine
would try to make love to your leg.

Two corners left.
Clinging on bravely through there.

Now coming up to Gambon,
turns in, kicks up some dust,

and across the line.

Yeah. Wait, now.


Now, let's not forget, shall we,

that the little Fiat costs
L756,000 less than the Zonda F.

So you would expect it to be right down here.

And it is, actually.
It's, er... it's 1:35.5. There we are.

And now let's do the news. And if, er...

D'you know, that little Fiat,
I just love it.

Seeing it on the telly there
as it bounces round the track. It's great.

But if, for some reason, maybe you're
like Eeyore, you don't want one of those...

Are you wearing that for a bet?

- (Both) Yeah.
- OK. You were saying?

If like Eeyore,
you don't want one of those,

there is an alternative
sort of super-fast little micro-car.

It's this Renault Twingo 133.

Now, that's 0-60, 8.7 seconds, 125mph.

It's not quite as fast as the Fiat.
Very nearly.

But, more importantly, that,
even with the clever sort of sports chassis,

which is a 650 quid option,

is still 1300 quid less than... than the Fiat.

- That's 12,200 quid.
- That is extremely good value for money.

- I love it.
- We've got one of those in the studio.

I've been driving it this morning
and I think it's excellent.

I think, honestly,
having driven both of them, and I have,

the Fiat is, oh... L1,000 more,
but I think it's worth it.

- That make sense? It's worth L1,000 more.
- Yeah.

And there's more fast-small-car news
from Renault with this,

which is the M?gane R26.R.

I think that looks really great as well.

Yeah, yeah, I saw that
and thought of you straightaway, May.

No, I thought what that James May's
gonna want is a hatchback with red wheels,

six point harnesses,
a carbon-fiber bonnet, plastic windows.

And, James, it's French, who you like
to think of as lamb-burning communists.

It's perfect for you in every way.

- How could you arrive at wanting that?
- Because I like it.

Look, James, let me put it to you this way.

You would have to have literally
no penis at all to buy a car like that.

- How do you work that out?
- 'Cause we're always being told

that the flashness of your car
is inversely proportionate to the size...

Is this right? Am I talking sense here, girls?

So the larger the man's car,
the flasher it is, the vegetable thing goes on.

- Is that right?
- Yeah.

And you're saying that to a man
with a 1.2- Liter Fiat Panda.


Mr. Swollen Wheel Arches
Mercedes CLK Black.

- He has a point there.
- You've got a Ford Mustang.

- Let's move on.
- With a big bonnet as well.

- Can we stop talking about cars?
- Well, we weren't talking about cars.

We weren't talking about cars latterly,
but we were to start with.

- I want to congratulate Lewis Hamilton.
- (Richard) Yeah.

- I think we all should.
- (Cheering)

What a race, what a man.

Well done.

What a performance.

Couple of tips, though,
if you're watching, Lewis, OK?

We saw in the paper,
OK, here, that his girlfriend said,

and she's the one from the Pussycat Dolls,
"You're going to get it tonight."

- Ha-hey!
- That's what she said after the race.

We then saw in another paper,
er, that he'd actually done this.

- Stayed up till 9am.
- What?

If you've got a Pussycat Doll, Lewis, saying
you're gonna get it tonight, here's an idea.

Go to bed and have it.

Maybe he didn't realize what she meant.

- "I've already won it." "No, not that."
- (Laughter)

- How could he get it so wrong?
- We're a bit baffled by that.

That's just...

Next year, this is the good thing
about Formula 1, it's coming home.

To the BBC.

- (Cheering)
- Yeah. No adverts.


The only problem we've got
is that there are some people speculating

that the person who's gonna get the
commentary job,

who's gonna be the modern-day Murray Walker,

- is Richard Hammond...
- I've seen that in the papers.

...a man who has never...
- It came as a surprise.

...watched a Formula 1 race in his life.
- Er... no.

- You weren't even watching last weekend.
- I was driving home.

Did you look around and think,
"God, the traffic's quiet tonight"?

- I did get a clear run, I must say.
- It is...

If he got the job, it really would be, "They're
off, and look at that idiot in the Mercedes SL!

"He's holding them up!"
No, Richard, that's the parade lap.

There's a red one in the lead!

He's pulled in! What, for petrol?
Well, why didn't he just fill up before he left?

- It would be, wouldn't it?
- I admit I wouldn't be very good at that.

He would be the worst person
in the world for that job.

- Well, not absolutely.
- (Laughter)

Who would be good?
Anyone got any thoughts?

- Murray!
- Dale Winton!

Dale Winton.

- Brilliant.
- (Men calling out)

- Russell Brand.
- (Richard) Yes.

- No.
- (Jeremy) No.

"I rang Ralf Schumacher..."
"And we're off the air!"



It took time...


I can't think of anybody.
It's gonna have to be me.

Erm... now the time has come, I fear.

Erm... lots of complaints
after last week's program.

The internet kind of awash with hate,

people demanding an apology,
and I'm only too happy to give one.

Erm... I am very sorry
that I didn't put the GT2's time on the board.

Erm... really.

I don't know what to say.

Well done. Well done for getting it out.

We had more complaints about that than
we did about burning Steve Redgrave's shed.

- Er...
- But what was the time?

That's the thing. You thought
it was quicker than the Gallardo, yeah?

It wasn't. It was the same time.

I forget what it was. 1:19.6 or something.
It was exactly the same time.

There you go, then. It's the same time.

So it's the same as your four-wheel drive
Lambo. The two-wheel drive Porsche did it.

You could do it once, OK, in the Porsche.
You did it a second lap, it would kill you.

Only if you were a useless coward,
so it's a better car.

Right, time to move on.
What we have down here

is a selection of American muscle cars.

Now, the recipe for this sort of thing
was always very simple.

Massive engine. Crude, simple suspension,

very low price, and finally some orange paint.

Now, this sort of thing never really
caught on in the civilized world

and we thought that what with
petrol prices being so high now,

they'd have died out in America as well.

However, in the last few months,

three brand-new American
muscle cars have arrived.

So we thought we'd best pop over to the States
and find out if they were any good.

Unfortunately there was a problem.

You see, we all have visas which allow us to go
to America and make a factual documentary,

but since our last trip over there,

when I might have accidentally
put a cow on the roof of my car,

the American...
the US State Department, no less,

has decided Top Gear
is actually now an entertainment show.

And unfortunately,
that requires a different type of visa

and we didn't have time to go and get one.

So in the end we were only allowed
into the country if we promised...

- This isn't a lie, is it?
- No, this is absolutely hand on heart.

- If we promised not to be entertaining.
- (Laughter)

(Jeremy) The idea was that we'd meet up
with our muscle cars in San Francisco...

...the 14th most populous city in America.

But immediately we ran into another problem.

This is the Cadillac CTS-V

that James will be driving.

This is the Corvette ZR-1 that I'll be driving.

And this is an empty space,

where Richard's Dodge Challenger
should have been parked.

It isn't here

because Chrysler, the people
who make the Dodge Challenger,

said we're always horrid about their cars,

and they decided at the last minute
not to lend us one.

Now, if this was normal Top Gear, we'd just
make a Challenger out of leaves or something.

Yes, or push Hammond off there
and carry on without him.

- Exactly, but we decided to show Chrysler...
- In a factual, not an entertaining way.

Oh, absolutely. That Britain is not
a bankrupt rock in the North Atlantic.

And that we will not be pushed around
by a two-bit car company.

This is a Dodge Challenger that I just bought.

Yeah. Thought you could stop us, did you?

Because of demand for these cars over here
right now, I have had to pay $51,000,

which is $10,000 more than the list price.

But all the same I reckon, what,
L28,000 is not a lot for 425 horsepower

and a sound that can start earthquakes.

- (Engine growls)
- Oh, yeah.

That's... that's subtle.

(Jeremy) 0nce we were all assembled,
we broke out the map.

We had to get from San Francisco,
across California and Nevada

to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah,

where in three days' time we'd been
entered for the Speed Week drag races.

Now, look, you two. No irony, no hyperbole,
no sarcasm. And don't put a cow on your roof.

- Can I crash into James every time we stop?
- No.

- Just a tiny...
- No!

All right.

If Hammond drives into May's car,

Bruce Willis will come
in a State Department gunship

and we shall all be killed.

We burbled out of San Francisco,

which is, er...
the 14th most populous city in America,

towards the Golden Gate.

0pened in 1937, this 27-million-dollar colossus

is much like the Humber Bridge in Britain.

0nly smaller.

I want to make it plain that was a fact.

And here's another one.

After just half an hour, James had decided
he didn't like his Cadillac very much.

(James) What exactly were they thinking of?

This ambassador for the relaxed
American way of traveling around in style

has a 6.2- Liter supercharged V8
developing 556 horsepower.

It's just not necessary. If you want...

(Jeremy) The moaning went on.

What was wrong with being a Cadillac?

It's supposed to be soft and floaty.
You're supposed to not know you're driving...

(Wind howling)

...has been round the N?rburgring,

and sending a car around
the N?rburgring spoils it.

It's as simple as that.

I can see exactly why
the muscle car never caught on in civilized...

Unlike James, I absolutely understand
the appeal of muscle cars.

Factually, they're like killer whales,
very striking to look at and very fast.

But you wouldn't want to own one.

This Corvette ZR-1 is a classic case in point.

I have the same basic engine
that James has in his Cadillac,

but, while he has to make do
with only 550 horsepower, I have 640.

(Engine roars)


That is intoxicating.

I'm not being entertaining,
I'm just saying that is...

really incredible.

It may cost $100,000,
which is a lot for a Corvette,

but it is Enzo-fast.

0-60 takes three seconds.

The top speed is 205.

It is ballistic,

but you can't have a Corvette in Britain.

It's too brash, it's too ghastly.

It'd be like turning up
at one of the Queen's garden parties

in chromed cowboy boots and chaps.

0f course, Hammond failed
to understand any of this

because, deep down, he is a secret American.

I love muscle cars.

I love the fact that they're
about standing quarter-miles,

about racing away from the lights
when the police aren't looking.

They're about cowboy boots, work boots,
denim jeans, dime stores, bars.

I love that.

I'm feeling cooler already.
I'm chewing gum and everything.

(Jeremy) James, meanwhile,
wasn't even enjoying the excellent music

on the local radio station.

(Top Gear theme tune plays)

I wasn't expecting to hear that.

On tonight's program! Ha-ha-ha!

High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains,
we pulled over next to Lake Tahoe,

the eighth deepest lake in the world.

But because we could only look
at its shimmering beauty in a factual way,

we didn't bother,

and concentrated instead on teasing Hammond
about some of the facts on his Challenger.

- Is this real carbon fiber?
- No, it's not.

- Are these real Ram Air scoops?
- No.

- I'm sorry, Richard, it's... it's a joke car.
- It's not supposed to be a Rolls-Royce.

It's simple, it's fast, it's a worker's car.
It's for blue-collar workers.

Were you born in the USA or something?
What has happened to you?

Let me put it this way. This is like
a body-builder, right? Hugely impressive.

But when you take its trunks down,
it's, "Hello, Mr. Squ..."

(Long bleep)

- What do you mean, you put it in a melon?
- Sorry, don't... don't send helicopters.

Why have you got secondary
double glazing under the bonnet?

- It's hideous, and what's the point...
- Why do they have that?

Lamborghini and Ferrari put
a glass engine cover on these days

- so you can see the craftsmanship.
- Yes.

This so you can see some writing
and some showing off.

- I quite like that.
- You...

I do. I like it.

The Ferrari's made by craftsmen in Maranello.

- This is made by two fat blokes in Kentucky.
- Called Bud and Bob.

This plastic comes from the same plastic
they use to make newsreaders over here.

- (Chuckling)
- That's the same color as well.

(Jeremy) It is.

Is there nothing about your car that you like?

What, factually? No.

'Cause when we went to... No, last time
we were here, you bought a Cadillac,

and you love that.

Yeah, but I was being entertaining.

- Fearful that James may have made a joke...
- Sorry.

...we decided to leave.

- Quickly, go. Bruce Willis will be here.
- I can hear helicopters.

(James) After an hour or so, there was
a worrying announcement from Jeremy.

I'm starting to like this Corvette.

It's ridiculous.

- (Dog barks)
- (Jeremy) It isn't the power.

It's the surprise of the power.

When you're driving a Ferrari Enzo,
you expect it to go like stink.

This, though, it's quiet, it's comfortable,

it's spacious,
it's beautifully air-conditioned.

So you're simply not ready for the savagery
when you put your foot down.

(Engine gets louder)



And I've got a head-up display with
my lateral G and my supercharger pressure.

I've got the best stereo in the world and...

Facts, Jeremy, facts.

As night began to fall, and with James
still complaining about his car...

(James)... to make a BMW M5 less well...

(Jeremy)... we arrived in Reno,

which is like Las Vegas,
only smaller

and worse.

It's a town with some light bulbs on it.

Weirdly, James made straight for a casino...

- Welcome to Circus Circus.
- Can't wait, sorry.

...while out on the street I was trying to keep
the Duke of Hammond under control.

Don't race between the lights.

Ha-ha! No!

Yeah, that... that's what we mustn't do.

(Machines whir and hum)

(James) In Nevada's casinos
you can usually win a car of some sort.

Sadly the prize in this casino was this.

Still, it was better than that stupid Cadillac.

(Machines whir and hum)

(Bleeping tune)


(Jeremy) Meanwhile, we were still thinking
of things we weren't supposed to do... to do.

Right, ready. Are you ready?

- Here, OK.
- Go.

- (Revving)
- (Horns sounding)

(Jeremy) Two revving V8s
and the alarms went berserk.

Run away, run away!

Go, go, go! Don't screech your wheels!

(Wheels screech)

Oh, well, that helped, Jeremy. That helped.

(Horns sounding)

(Machines whir and hum)

- It won't change unless you change that.
- (Bleeping)

- It won't change unless you change that.
- (Bleeping)

- Now you hit it again.
- Where are you guys from? Australia?

(Richard) James wasn't
really enjoying his company.

But then neither was Jeremy.

- I didn't know you were the police.
- Police. Real police.

- Well, I... I just...
- Police.

- The tires, and the rev of the engine?
- No, sorry, my foot slipped off the clutch.

- No, no, I don't buy that for a second.
- OK, sorry.

Ooh, dear.

(Richard) After a ticking off from the police,
we went to find James.

- That's desperate. That is desperate.
- That is desperate.

- You'd rather have that than your Cadillac?
- Yeah.

What is that? It's hideous.

(Richard) We decided to turn in
and leave James with his new best friends.

- Are you... John Lennon or, uh...
- Might be.

Well, you're from the best band
that I ever heard.

Thank you.

Not arrested yet.

OK, right, we're gonna pick that up later on,

but now it's time to put a star
in our reasonably priced car.

My guest tonight won a program
called Pop Idol,

which, of course, means
I've never heard of him.

Bit difficult, this. But, ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome that man over there.


- You know who I am!
- I have really. I know!

It's Will Young, everybody!

I'm being obtuse.

I'm being obtuse again.

Now, I'm not very good at chat shows,

er... as we discovered last week
when we had Michael Parkinson on.

And what's really worrying me
is that when Simon Cowell came here, OK...

- Yeah.
...I may have said, accidentally,

that you look like you'd been
hit in the face with an axe.

And now you're here.

I get that, I get... 'cause I do
have quite a wide jaw. So I get...

I've had sort of "slick-jaw McGraw"
and... you know.

But I've never heard
"Hit in the face with an axe."

Well, it's that, "Doof! Ow!
Look what you've done now."

Anyway, look, the thing I find interesting

is that you have actually got a career
out of winning Pop Idol,

- which, of course, became the X Factor.
- Yeah.

Because most of them don't.

Looking at the winners. I have to refer to
notes, because they're meaningless names.

Shane Warne?

Shayne... Shayne Ward.

- Well, I don't know. What's... Ward?
- He's a cricketer. Even I know that.

- Shane Warne's a cricketer?
- (Several) Yeah.

I don't know anything about cricket either.

It's like talking to my dad.

Leon Jackson?

He's good? He's not as good
as Camel or Gong, trust me, love.

Nobody's heard of Camel or Gong.
Focus or Genesis? Led Zeppelin? The Who?

Smoke On The Water?
People normally get that one.

- What's Smoke On The Water?
- Oh, for God's sake.

But this is you, isn't it? You don't...
Your record collection doesn't go past...

- 1979, does it?
- Stop. When were you born?

And I... and I was born in 1979.

See, this is why you've had this problem,

is you were born the year
quite literally the music died.

'Cause the Clash... the Clash
were pretty much over in '79.

Prog rock was over.

What was going on when you were growing up?
What did you listen to?

I listened to a lot of my parents'. So it
would have been Joni Mitchell, the Beatles.

This explains why you're so successful now.

You've got a new album out.
What's that called?

Let It Go. Which sounds like a self-help
book, but it's the only title I could...

And you're on the South Bank Show now.
I mean, you really have achieved...

X Factor to the South Bank Show's astonishing.

Yeah, but this,
I am dead chuffed to be on this show.

- This?
- 'Cause I'm quite an avid watcher. Yeah.

I am the guy that watches,
you know, the re-runs of this on Dave.

So you do? 'Cause I've often wondered
who's watching it again.

That's me. I'm the loser.

So are you a bit of a car man?

I am a car man and my family
have always been sort of car mad.

My grandparents used to have amazing cars.

I mean, they had XK120s. They had a Bristol.

My grandmother had an Alfa Spider.
They always had 'em.

And then my mum and my dad have
always been into cars. So we're quite...

We do love each other but we don't
really get on that well sometimes.

So when we go on holiday,
like if we go to Scotland or something,

we all drive in our separate cars.

- We can't be in the car together.
- Seriously?

- Yeah.
- Does it ever develop into a race?

We have, er...

No, no, 'cause we're very responsible
and we don't have races.

- So...
- I did a race once. I did a Top Gear race.

- Really?
- Yeah, I had the best car I've ever driven.

Erm... it was a Range Rover
Supercharged Sport.

And, er... my friends were flying back
from Newquay and we were driving back,

and we did our own Top Gear.

- What, see who could get back to London...
- Notting Hill.

- Ooh, now, that's interesting. Who won?
- We won.

- In the car?
- Yeah.

- Good man. That's the ticket.
- Yeah.

So how... where did your...

where did your car story begin?

- The first car you had?
- Um...

- The inevitable Mini?
- Yeah, there was a Mini. Racing-green Mini.

Which was great, because it was...

I always think of it like Lego.
You could just, you know...

I remember buying another Mini
for 80 quid just for the wheels,

and then you put bucket seats in
and you had racing pedals,

and you could just interchange the whole time.

You should always start with Minis.
It's the right place to start.

It's like a go-cart. You're so low to the ground,
you feel like you're doing 100.

The wing mirrors used to flap at 80.

Er... you are interested in aesthetics,
I was seeing.

I mean, property is an area you've moved into.

- Property developing.
- Yeah, yeah.

I love doing them up, you know.

I've just got a place in Brighton and it was
quite dilapidated, and I loved sort of...

- I've just...
...bringing it back to former glory.

Does yours always end up rubbish?
'Cause mine...

I've just done my house up
and you just think, "What did I do that for?"

- Don't you think it's addictive?
- Mm.

I mean, everything down to the sort of...
the right cushion, you know?

I like the whole detail.

I've had the same thing. The poor woman
who's been trying to get my cushion fabric.

You may find this surprising
but I've been really going,

"No, the brown stripe's too wide,
I want more orange."

I wouldn't... I wouldn't have you down
for that type of man.

Maybe we should start a program.

Jeremy and Will do up Surrey houses.

Yeah. Oh, I'd love to do up Surrey houses.

Us fighting over shag-pile carpets.

- I can see it.
- Yeah, I don't like shag pile.

Neither do I.

- You ever been to the Chelsea Flower Show?
- I have, actually.

You see, I went to the Chelsea Flower Show
to get a water feature...

Talk among yourselves. How pathetic.
They are useless water features.

I just got some, er...
authentic Spanish tiles for my garden

and... and a water feature,
and it's slate, but the water sort of...

- What... what color slate? Grey?
- Yeah, that's the color of slate.

Yeah, well, no, but you see...

- This is how the show could go.
- Yeah.

- It would either go incredibly well...
- Mm.

...and our careers
would go to new heights, or...

- Or it would end in a massive fight.
- Or we'd have a fight. You'd probably kill me.

No, I've got arms like pipe cleaners. You're
quite trim, actually. I mean, not trim. Fit.

Not fit. I'm saying all the wrong things.

Er... right, now, er... your lap.

- How did it go out there?
- I think I did all right.

But some things the Stig, er... was saying
to me, and I just sort of didn't quite get...

Particularly the last corner.
I had a lot of problems with the last corner.

- I have to say the Stig was impressed.
- Really?

No, he was impressed. I mean, you were let
down slightly by the Lord of Weather today.

- It was drizzling, wasn't it?
- It started drizzling, which is the worst.

But he says that you have
a gung-ho attitude and a fearless...

- and also a precision, I mean a feel for cars.
- Oh, good. Oh, good!

Shall we see how he got on?

Honestly, I know everyone says this.
I am so nervous.

This could...
I'll either be elated or I shall be weeping.

Let's have a look at the lap. Here we go.

(Tires screech)

I've just turned the air-con off,

thinking that'll make a difference
to how competitive I am.

(Jeremy) It'll make a huge difference,
about 10% more power.

(Will) You see? Yeah.
(Jeremy) You really are intent. Look at this.

Windscreen wipers on.
How do they work? I can't see anything.

(Jeremy) But it's raining.
You need to have them on.

That's not bad. If you can get it back
in tight again for the exit, which you have.

I'm so sweaty. Come on.

(Jeremy) Hammerheadl
(Will) It's very hard, that.

(Jeremy) It's the hardest corner on any track.
If you can keep it in those lines...

Yes, look. What were you worried about?

- That's all right.
- Yes.

Don't lift off the gas.

(Jeremy) You didn't go over
the red and whites. Flat out through there.

This is... (Bleep) terrifying.

(Tires screech)

(Jeremy) We slowed down. That's too slow.
(Will) Yeah, I know. I just couldn't...

Were you frightened about crashing there...

And there we are across the linel

That second-to-last corner.

What happened?

Where do you reckon, then?
Now, bear in mind, if it's wet...

As you can see, the wet laps start down here.

This is very wet. Keith Allen, Rob Brydon.

They're down the 1:51s.

Do I get a wet lap?

Oh, yes, there was no question it was wet.
I'm assured by the Stig.

Well, damp. I'll put a D on it.

Or an M. Which do you want?
We do a moist or a damp.


- We've got to do that show. It'll be brilliant.
- Yeah...

- D, please.
- D. Right, you've got a D for damp.

Oh, God.

Come on, hazard a guess.

Hazard... I don't know.

- I mean, I'd like to be in the top ten.
- You can't be. It's wet.

All right, I'd like to be in the top ten
of the damp wet people.

Of the damp people. OK. I have to say...

- I'm just prolonging your agony.
- Oh, you're such a... (Bleep)

You can't put that out.

You did it in one minute...


That's the fastest wet lap we've ever had.

That is right.

That good?

I know you're going to look disappointed
but that's not our fault.

I'm a little bit disappointed.

I think that's an incredibly good time...

- Oh, OK.
...on a damp track.

- It's been brilliant.
- It's been great fun having you.

A car fan at last,
ladies and gentlemen, Will Young!

- Thanks, Will.
- Thank you.

Now, tonight, we're trying to get
three fast cars from San Francisco

to the Speed Week drag races
at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Usual range of problems.

We've got visas that only allow us
to be factual, not entertaining.

Jeremy has... met a policeman.

And James hates his car.

We rejoin the action at Reno,

which is, factually speaking, a toilet.

(Radio tuning)

(Man) Good morning, this is KE0L, and it's
another beautiful day in northern Nevada.

(Jeremy) Hm... not for James, it wasn't.

(Machines play jingles)

He'd been up all night, hadn't won the trike

and was now facing another day
in his hateful Cadillac.

What an appalling cack-hole.

(Jeremy) Now, the quick way from Reno
to Bonneville is on the interstate.

But to cheer James up,
Hammond and I decided not to use it.

Er... chaps,
why are we going the long way round?

Well, because we've got really good cars.

We would be using the l-50,

which has been known
as "The Loneliest Road in America" since 1986.

That's a staggering 22 years.

It crosses all of Nevada

and is famous for going past
almost nothing of any interest whatsoever.

It was on this very road
that they shot the epic film Vanishing Point.

It was about a bloke being chased
by police in a Dodge Challenger.

Then he smashed into a digger and was killed,
I seem to remember. I won't do that bit.

That sound of a big V8 growling
and bellowing across the desert

has got to be one of the single most
evocative noises in the world.

Look at that road. Look at it.

You could just become
mesmerized by the straightness of it.

After a while, though,
we became bored by the straightness of it.

There are 213 stitches on my door panel.

If you add up all the numbers on my dashboard,
it comes to 1,247.

My battery is producing 12.9 volts.

(Jeremy) To liven things up,
I decided to stop for some elevenses...

(Engine revs)

...Corvette style.

- What are you doing?
- I've just laid these black lines on the road.

And I bet you, you can't do longer ones.

I bet you a million pounds I can.

This is what this car's for.

What are we doing?

Well, you're keeping a lookout

while he tries to lay longer black lines
down the road than I've managed.

What if somebody sees us?

I don't think they will.

- Ready? Here I go.
- Yes.



This may be harder than I thought.
It's automatic.

- Back out the way. Let's see if May can do it.
- This is not gonna go well.

- Have you turned the traction control off?
- Yes.

- Have you ever done that in your life?
- No.

- I think it's very game of him to join in.
- Right, what do I do? Lots of revs.

Steering wheel straight.

- Ooh. Ooh.
- (Laughing)

Oh, cock.

- You are such an imbecile.
- What do you call that?

I over-corrected.

How well does that bode for Bonneville?

He can't drive in a straight line.

Traction control...


(Jeremy) We tried going
back to being factual...


...but soon we ran out of facts.

Oh, God, look. It's clouding over.

(James) Oh.

(Jeremy) After what felt like six years,
we came across some civilization...

where Richard said he fancied an all-day
breakfast in a good old boys'American diner.

And that gave me an opportunity to think
of another thing we weren't supposed to do...

to do.

- Can I get you guys something else?
- All our cars have keyless go.

So providing you have the key somewhere
about your person, somewhere near the car,

the engine will start.

I think, however, that Dodges are a bit crude.

So Hammond's sitting there. He's got
the key in his pocket. He's left it open.

So I don't have his key.

OK, ready?

- (Engine starts)
- (Beeping)

I'm going to repark it.

I'm not sure how far I can actually drive
before the engine realizes there's no key.

But I think if I push it, I don't know,

about here, perfect.


- (Horn sounds)
- With that factual test completed,

we enjoyed a light breakfast
and chatted about our road trip.

How much are you
looking forward to Bonneville?

More than I've looked forward
to anything pretty much forever.

- (Horn sounds)
- I've wanted to go there since I was a boy.

(Horn sounds)

- I'm going to buy a Corvette in England.
- (James) You won't.

- (Horn sounds)
- (Jeremy) It was time to hit the road.

- Onwards!
- My car was there and now it's there.

- (Jeremy) Did you leave it there?
- No, of course I didn't leave it in the road.

- I've got the...
- I'd go and get it if I were you.

- How the...
- (Jeremy snorts)

- (Horn sounds)
- Oh, God, I'm sorry. Sorry.

(Horn sounds)

That's weird.

(Jeremy) Back on the l-50,
I rechecked my stitching...

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one...

...and James carried on moaning.

This isn't a proper American luxury car.

This is some sort of ridiculous
American interpretation...

(Jeremy) At the end of the l-50 there's
another very straight road to Bonneville.

But Richard and I decided it would be more
fun to go there on the longer twisting road

through the mountains.

So we'll go that way.

Why can't we just go there?

Look, James, Cadillac
has never heard of Germany, OK?

But despite that, this car has been round
the N?rburgring in less than eight minutes.

It's supposed to be
the fastest four-door saloon ever.

On those twisty roads, you'll love it.

(Jeremy) And you know what?

0n this astonishing road, he did.


All of a sudden, that stuff about limited
slip differentials and magnetic suspension

all makes complete sense.

Oh, yes.

It's so planted.

This is the best American car I've ever driven,
by a distance as great as that road.

(Jeremy) The lighter, grippier Corvette,
however, was even better.

Now, this is great.

How can a car, as docile as this one
is most of the time, be this exciting?

Oh, and the road gets twistier.
How is that possible?

It's also such a joy to have
all this power and all this handling

and a proper manual gearbox.

None of those stupid flappy paddles!

Simple traction control, on or off.

Are you listening, Ferrari?

Well done, fat man from Kentucky!

This is a masterpiece!

Here in the mountains,

James and I had discovered we weren't
really driving point-and-squirt muscle cars.

We were in full-on sports cars.

Richard, on the other hand,
was driving a traditional muscle car,

and he wasn't having quite such a good time.

Challenger's not really very good
at this sort of thing.

The steering, though, is... numb.
Actually, it's quite numb.

(Jeremy) Meanwhile, back at the front,
something amazing was happening.

This is just a tremendous...

Oh, my God, look at this. I just got overtaken.

Sorry, mate, but you were
spoiling the view ahead slightly.

Now, that won't do.

What's got into him?

Try and keep up, Jezza.

He is really shifting now, is Captain Slow!

(Jeremy) This was way too exciting
for the US government.

And anyway, we had to reach
Bonneville before nightfall.

So we rejoined the main highway,
and went for it.

Sadly, though, this was also
too much for the US government.

I just wanted to make sure that
you guys are doing the documentary...

Oh, it is a documentary.
It's not a... like a fooling around show.

No, it's a serious show.

(Richard) Jeremy's sincerity wasn't convincing,
and his hand gestures didn't help either.

Everything you said, everything you said

made it worse. At one point, I wanted to just...

I said we were doing a factual documentary.
There's gonna be no issues with the visas.

What's really alarming is
you've actually been quite entertaining.

- Oh, God.
- I wasn't entertaining.

- No, I found you entertaining.
- Yeah, you were.

- I was being factual.
- (Both) No.

(Richard) After that, we drove on,
in a factual manner,

excited that soon we would be in Bonneville,
the Mecca of speed.

And it really is a pilgrimage. I mean, for
a petrol-head, it's... that is hallowed ground.

(Jeremy) We woke up the next morning,
having spent the night in a rented Winnebago,

on the Salt Flats themselves.

Caused by global warming
about 15,000 years ago,

they've been used by speed freaks since 1912.

Keen to become one of those speed freaks,
I was up extremely early.

Now, as we know, practice makes perfect.

So I'm gonna get some practice now
before the course opens, in the 'bago.

- Clarkson!
- What?

I know it's you! What are you doing?

We're up to 40 miles an hour in the 'bago!
Come on!

I was asleep!

- Where's May?
- Back here, and I'm on the throne!

- Clarkson, it's not funny!
- (Laughter)

Clarkson, you infantile pillock.

You're tidying that up.

(Jeremy) At nine the event began,

and we immediately bought some hats
so we'd blend in.

(American accent) Mornin'.

Then it was time for our safety briefing.

On a run, if a car has a problem,
they blow up an engine or they catch fire,

they turn out to the right and
we know immediately to send a fire truck...

- So we go right if we have a problem?
- That's correct.

If we go left, spinning wildly out of control,
that doesn't mean we haven't had a problem.

It just means
we haven't been able to go to the right.

(Jeremy) 0ur challenge was simple,

to see what speed we could achieve
as we went past the mile marker.

I'm not leaving here
until I've achieved 170 miles an hour.

150 is my target for that.

- 150?
- 160.

- 50, 60, 70.
- Right, gentlemen.

(Jeremy) 0n a mile-long run on tarmac,
our cars would hit those speeds easily.

But on salt that's a very different story.

There's a top coat of, you know, tiny crystals.

You kind of float over 130.
You start floating around a little bit.

(Man) It's slicker. The surface
responds differently to the tires.

- Does it slide about?
- Sometimes.

It depends on how much
horsepower you put down.

425. What would happen then?

- You'll spin out.
- OK.

You'll spin out.
So what am I gonna do at 640 horsepower?

You're gonna have to be awfully careful.

(Jeremy) It was time for our first runs.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

They probably think
that's a Bon Jovi lyric here.

OK, here we go.

Come on, now, baby.
This is your territory. This is what you do.

Just that little bit more.

Oh, that was a bad start.

Bit of snaking, bit of wobble.

Come on, car.

One mile!

There we go.

Coast is clear.

(Jeremy) All of us were too slow.

- 166.
- 157.

- 142. That... that's not...
- No, I know!

(Jeremy) To reach our targets, we'd have to
get the wheel spin off the line exactly right.

Every gear change exactly right.

We'd have to get our line
in the salt exactly right.

Every bit of the run would have to be perfect.

And that's a tall order for us lot.

(Bleep) I hit the limiter.

No, this is hopeless.



153. Ignoring that one.

Come on, come on.

Oh, no, I missed third!

It's gonna be worse! No!

This is so irritating!

Oh... (Bleep)

- 144.
- 157.

Missing the gear cost me three miles an hour.

Just doesn't work with the traction control on.

That's a complete cock-up.

That was hopeless. I'm going backwards.

- 144 again!
- Ugh.

(Richard) In the midst
of all this disappointment, though,

the little red Corvette
achieved something amazing.

Well, you've got the fastest run
we've ever clocked on these clocks.

(Richard) Most people would be pleased
to break a record for production cars.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!

Damn, damn!

(Richard) But Jeremy was still shy
of his 170mph target.

They call this salt fever
when you become so obsessed

that you just can think of nothing
but going faster and faster and faster.

- Sod it.
- (Richard) Even Captain Slow was infected.


Have you met James?
Middle name "Queue Barger"?

I like this game.

(James) To help us find more speed,
Jeremy and I pumped our tires up.

While Richard had found an expert
who said he should let some air out.

If you have too much air in the tire,

the air is actually holding
the pressure out on the sidewall

so the tire can't grow.

I'm really pinning my hopes on that guy being
one of those sort of mystic gurus of the flats.

They exist.

(James) Jeremy and I lined up for another run
with our tires bulging at 50 PSI.

Warning notices all over my dashboard,
and I'm ready to rock.

Good gear change there.
Didn't hit the rev limiter this time.

Come on, stretching,
stretching, stretching. 162.

164. 165.

169. Half a mile an hour to go.

Come on, come on, come on.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

- 159.
- Oh, God.

I can't do it.

(Richard) It had been close
but no banana for Jeremy and James.

So now watch and learn.

That's a much better start.

It's gonna work.

Come on, Challenger.

Think of the glory, think of the honor.

- (Laughter)
- A hundred and thirty...

- What's that? 'Cause I can't read it.
- 139.

(Richard) It was afterwards when we were
making the front of my car more streamlined

that I learned a bit more about my salt guru.

How much of your life
have you spent on the flats?

This is my first time on the salt.


(Richard) Still,
he was pretty good with Sellotape.

So with my grille sealed over
and my tires pumped up,

I set off for another run.

Snaky start, snaky start. Come on.

Oh, no! A bit of tape's gone.

I can't press the pedal any harder.

Come on, come on! Keep climbing,
keep climbing, keep climbing!

Hot, hot. Do you have a knife I can borrow?

There you go, Challenger. Breathe!

(Jeremy) With my tires pumped up
to the point of exploding,

I set off after Hammond.

Forward into the pages of history!

Synchro's getting a bit weak on second.

Up to 153, 4...

Come on, stretch it, stretch it.

Come on, 'Vette.

I don't know.


I didn't expect that then! I've done it.


- What?
- Just this second, that last run.

- You've done it?
- I've done it. 150.02.

What have I just done?

Let's see.

- 176.549.
- No!

(Jeremy) So, could Slow
make it three out of three?

Now, come on.

Quick change.

Come on, come on, come on.

176 miles an hour.

I got my 150 from my Challenger.

I've ruined it, obviously.

Come on.

Please let that be it.

- Was it a good run?
- Felt like it.

- Sir?
- 163.

(Both) Yes!

- Do you know what it is?
- We've all done it!

- Has Hammond done it?
- Hammond's done 150!

- Fantastic.
- He's celebrating in the Honey Bucket.

- Hammond! Hammond!
- What?

- He did it!
- What, 160?

- 163.
- We've all hit our target.

We've all done it. We were ambitious
and for the first time ever, successful.

- And we've been factual.
- We've not been good at anything before.

(Jeremy) 0ur success, though,
was not the biggest surprise on this trip.

We came here wondering if America had
finally made a car that might actually work

in the civilized world.

The answer is, no, they haven't.

As you can see from our smiles.

They've made three.


They were all three of them just great.

They were. I reckon my 'Vette
was better than that Renault Twingo.

- I'd rather have a Challenger.
- Yeah.

Perhaps they're not
quite as well made as we'd like.

No, but they were just fantastic fun.
We just loved them.

And on that... Obama-shell,
it's time to end the show.

Thanks very much for watching.
See you next week. Good night!