Top Gear (2002–…): Season 25, Episode 3 - Episode #25.3 - full transcript

There is a Japanese flavour to this week's show, as Matt LeBlanc and Chris Harris buy second-hand sports cars at auction for a big road trip across Honshu, while Rory has one night to ...


Hello! And welcome
to Top Gear.

Tonight, we're all
about one place - Japan.

A country that has brought us some
of the coolest,

fastest cars of them all.

But in recent years, Japan's
suffered a sort of

reverse mid-life crisis.

It's stopped being crazy and fun and
got all boring and Prius-y.

But now there's a couple of signs
Japan might just be getting its mojo

back, so Chris went to investigate.

First up is a new two-door
rear-wheel drive coupe from Lexus.

It's called the LC500,

and while it might look as sharp as
a samurai sword...

..this version is powered by
an appealingly blunt instrument.



Have some of that!

Seriously, who needs a stereo when
you've got a soundtrack like that?

This retro anthem isn't being played
by a clever, futuristic hybrid.

Underneath the bonnet is a proper,
old school, electric-free V8.

O to 60, less than five seconds,

top speed, nearly 170mph.

We keep being told the fuel-gargling
petrol engine is dead,

but if responsible, conscientious
Lexus still thinks it has legs,

we might be good
for a few years yet.

Especially when that engine is kept
in check by four-wheel steering,

and has been bolted to the stiffest
chassis Lexus has ever produced.

So when you get to a corner, yeah,
it can handle those, too.


It turns nicely, grip builds,

good traction, but it's rear-wheel
drive, so it's playful.

That engine's power and torque is
perfectly matched to the amount of

grip available, so I'm getting those
lovely, little delicate slides

in the exit of the corners.

It encourages you to behave like a
bit of a wally.


It's so un-Lexus, it's wonderful!

But it is a Lexus,
so it's not all good news.

It starts at £76,000,
which is too much.

It weighs nearly two tonnes,

so on a track it doesn't stop
very well,

and it is a bit...overcomplicated.

Four, five, six, seven...

Ten gears?!

Now I'm all for getting more for
your money, but if you have to

deploy long division to work out
what gear you're in,

that might be overkill.

But while the LC500 isn't perfect...

..I do admire it.

It stands out from the crowd.

It's not trying to be a Porsche, or
a Jaguar, or a BMW

or any other European coupe.

It's Japan doing its own thing,

and it's not the only one.


..there's also this.

The new Civic Type R.

Honda's not-so-subtle antidote to
all of Europe's very fast...

..very samey hot hatches.

But the question is,

does it have the trousers
to back up the mouth?

Oh, yes, it does!

Yes, yes, yes!


This is a cracker of a hot hatch.

It's got a two litre turbo-charged
motor, 316 horsepower,

and it weighs just under 1,400 kg.

That is potent.

Hitting 60 in 5.8 seconds,

and with a top speed of 169mph,

this will give any hot hatch
a run for its money.

I just love it!

And it's got a proper manual

Look at this stick down here with a
perfect Type R aluminium gear knob,

and it has a sensible number of
gears, too.

And while more and more hot hatches
now turn up with sensible,

grippy four-wheel drive,

the Civic still sends all of its
power to the front.

And it's all the better for it.

It's so much more fun than
a four-wheel drive hot hatch,

because it's got grip
when you want it,

but when you don't, it'll do this.

# One, two, three, four,
five, break down. #


You get in it,
and you grow horns.


What we have here, then, is a car
that Japan should be truly proud of.

Except, that is, for one tiny

You see, the Type R's not actually
made in Japan at all.

It's made in...

WHISPERS ..Swindon.

And there's nothing wrong
with Swindon -

you just don't really associate it
with excitement, do you?

And then, of course,
there's the way it looks.

Clearly, it's been designed only to
appeal to children.

But here's the issue -

this thing costs over 30 grand.


So even if you were
young and daft enough to think it

looked good enough to buy,

you wouldn't be able to afford to
buy one.

But look at it another way,

if you're in the market for a new
Japanese performance car...

..this Honda might just be a bit of
a bargain.

It may have 150-something
horsepower less,

but I suspect this Civic might
be about as quick around this track

as that LC500.

Time, then, for a race.

Which means we need a driver
for that Lexus.

No, it's not the Stig, it's the
Stig's ninja cousin.

Where is he?

Yes, most impressive.

I think you're being silly now.

Get in the car.



Player One, Lexus LC500, versus

Player Two, Honda Civic Type R.

One lap, winner takes all!

Let's do this.

He's got me off the line.

Come on, Ninja Stig. Look at him,
he's sideways everywhere!

I sort of want to beat him, but I
sort of don't want to beat him.

What does a Ninja Stig do
if he gets beaten?

Let's get up the inside of him.
Oh, he's looking lively!

Now I've got to outbrake him.

I've got him, I've got him,
I've got him on the brakes!

I've done him!

What fantastic brakes.

Now he's got grunt!

There he goes!

He's got traction issues.

This is so impressive for a


I've got brakes, I've
got grip, I've got turning.

Oh, he's running wide, he's running
wide! This is my chance, my chance!

Come on, little Honda! Come on,
little Honda!



Player Two, Honda Civic Type R,

Well done, little Honda!


So the Honda beat the Lexus?

Wow! Impressive. And you really
liked the Civic, right?

It's brilliant. The chassis is
fantastic, and it's SO fast.

It really is the best hot hatchback
you can buy.

What? Whoa, wait a minute.

We said the Ford Focus RS was the
best you could buy,

so I went out and bought one.

Well, you'll have to buy one of
these now.

No, I can't do that.

I mean, look at it. It's hideous.

OK, I admit it. I mean,
it's disgusting.

Yeah. But it's so good to drive,
I can forgive the way it looks,

and the best thing about being
behind the wheel -

you don't see how it looks
from the outside.

They should put that in the

OK, now, earlier today we put both
cars around our test track in the

hands of the Stig. Not great
conditions out there,

but the Lexus did it

in a 1:25:6,

so that goes there,

and the Civic did it

in a 1:25:6.

The exact same time,
so that goes right there.

Oh... That's great work.

It goes in there.

Or down the bottom,
who gives a BLEEP!

I told you they were close.

Yep, very close. And that time makes
the Civic

the fastest front-wheel
drive car,

and the fastest hot
hatchback ever around our track,

and that's got to be worth a round
of applause. Oh, yeah.


Well done, you guys. OK, come on.

Let's talk about '90s Japanese
sports cars,

because they were awesome.

A golden era of fast, affordable

Problem is, the ones that made it to
the UK have been mostly crashed or

modified, and the ones that haven't
are now annoyingly expensive.

That's right. Look at this lovely
Honda NSX.

A couple of years ago?
30 grand.

Today, 60 grand.

But it turns out there is a place
you can pick up immaculate, old

Japanese sports cars for a fraction
of the price.

That's right. It's called Japan.

We've been sent to Tokyo,

where we've been told to go and find
two of Japan's finest classic

'90s sports cars.

Oh, how cool is this, huh?

Three days in Japan, and all we have
to do is buy a couple of old cars.

That leaves us plenty of time to do
cool Japanese stuff, like temples,

and swords, and ninjas, and sushi.

Well, I've got a list of sights
I want to see, too. Oh, yeah?

Yeah, yeah, Toyota Century.

Uh-huh. Honda S660, maybe even
a first-generation Estima.

Yeah, OK, so hold on, these sights
you're talking about,

are they all cars?

Well, technically the Estima
was a minivan, but you'll see cars

here you won't see anywhere else
on the planet, man.

Japan's like its own weird
little car ecosystem.

Yeah, look, I know this is a car
show, and I know you love cars,

and you know I love cars,
but I think...

Cars are everything... I think you
think about them way too...

Hi. Oh, wow, a challenge already,

"Here, have one million yen each."

Oh, wow, look at that.
My kind of challenge.

OK. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

OK, ready, last one, here we go.

Right, I'm done. We're done.

Oh, he got me on the way out.
Did you see that?

Oh, oh-oh, oh...

OK, "With this cash you will now
head to the USS Tokyo car auction

"in Chiba Ken and each buy a sports
car to ship back to Britain
and sell."

Oh, yes! "The presenter who clears
the most profit on their car is the

"winner. Oh, and by the way, the
auction has already started.

"Better get a move on before all the
good cars go." Oh, OK.

Right, subway's this way.
But, but, all right...

Well, two things. First of all,
I'm just going to pretend

I didn't see that thing you're
carrying your money in,

and two, why take the subway? This
is a car show, not a train show.

The most efficient public transport
system on the planet

versus rush-hour in the busiest city
on the planet.

OK, but if we take a taxi,

we might get to see one of your
Toyota Enemas.

It's an Estima, and the tube's
faster. Bye! OK...

So if it was a race Chris wanted,
then fine,

because while he became acquainted
with Tokyo's very Japanese

subway system...


Oh, dear.


I discovered the city has
the world's sharpest-dressed
cab drivers.

Yep, this would be my most
relaxing win yet.

Nice, comfortable taxi.

My man here, white hat,
white gloves,

so he can never leave any

Yeah, that's probably just a
cultural thing.

I'm sure it's no big deal.

I haven't got a clue where I am now.

Excuse me, do you speak English?

No, OK, sorry. Chiba Ken?

Chiba Ken. Chiba Ken.

And while Chris was busy
unnerving the locals...

Oh, sorry, sorry. driver was slicing through
Tokyo's sticky rush-hour traffic,

and we were getting along like a
house on fire.



Do you like that one?

I'm just kidding,
I'm not really pregnant.

Oh, just killing time in the tunnel,
you know.

In fact, it wasn't so much a
question of who was going to win,

but whether there'd be anything
left at the auction by the time
Chris got there.

Here he goes. The driver's taking
his time, a nice, steady stop,

so it's smooth, and then the driver
opens the doors.

That takes too long.

And then we count to, what, seven?

One, two, three...

So, unsurprisingly enough, I was
first to the auction.


And it was massive.

Oh, man, there's just
so much great stuff,

and it just goes on for miles.

The USS Tokyo car auction is one of
the biggest in the world,

selling around 15,000 cars in a day,

including hundreds of mint condition
'90s sports cars.

GTR, there's a good car right there.

But with only one hour left
until closing,

I needed to start bidding.


But how?

Here, over 2,500 bidders can compete
with up to 12 cars selling

every 20 seconds.

And with a million yen at stake,
this was less of an auction,

and more some sort of weird casino.

Oh, yeah.


Did I just buy something?

Well, well, well, better late than

but he still had to cross the
world's most distracting car park.

Oh, Supra! Now, that... That might
be right in my price range.

The Evo 7.

Oh, look at this! I mean,
where do you turn?

Shall I get that one?

It's huge!


Hey, there you are. Where you been?

Under most of Tokyo.

What are you bidding on?
Ah, well, I'm not really sure.

I think this is the price going up,
obviously, and that's

the lot number,
and what does that say?

Can you read that? No.
That must be what the car is, right?

If I can't read that, why would I be
able to read that?

Well, if you look, this is the same
in all of them.

But there's only... There are

Maybe that means...

Have you got an idea of what you
want to buy?

I want something fast, manual, fast,

maybe like a Skyline GTR.

That would be nice.
Yeah, I'm sure you'll find one.

He wouldn't. 1 million yen is,
in fact, about seven grand.

Oh, what's this? That one, that one,
that one, that one, that one.

Ah, missed it!

So while Matt was set
for a disappointment,

at least he'd worked out his own
bidding strategy.

Are you trying to buy the entire

No, no, I want that one, I want it,
I want it, I want it, I want it,

I want it. Come on! There we go,
there we go.

I got it. I got it!

I think I got it. Did you get one?
Yep. You did?

What did you get?
It's gone now. You can't see it,

but I am now the proud owner
of a car.

The question was - what did he buy?

In fact, what did I buy?

It's like ordering food in a foreign
restaurant when you don't speak

the language, you know what I mean?

It's like, I'm really hoping I got
the grilled fillet,

and not the poached anus.

Come on. What?

Oh, here we go. Oh...

Now that is my car!
That's yellow.

And there was nothing
anus-y about it.

Mazda RX-7.


That's the one with the twin turbo
rotary engine, right?

Yep, absolutely right.

Yep, the incredibly unreliable
twin turbo rotary engine?

Come on, don't buy into that. They
can be a little bit temperamental,

but that's the whole point.

What, what, what?
When you go abroad,

you don't order a pint of John
Smith's, you order the local beer.

This, here, is the local beer.

Only Japan could have made this car.

Only Japan shouldn't have made this

The rotary motor was junk.

They rev beautifully, they're sweet,
they're lovely little things.

They wear out in ten minutes!

Nonsense. She was a minter, and, at
an easy 15 grand in the UK,

I had hit the jackpot.

Question was, had Matt?

Oh, yeah!

That's me, right there.

The Nissan Skyline R34 GTR, huh?

That is a classic.
Everyone knows the GTR.

Everyone apart from you, Matthew.

What do you mean?
That's a GTT.

GTT? GTT. I thought it was a typo!

No, no, no...

So, do you know what
makes a GTT special?

I, I don't. What? That it's
missing a turbocharger,

it's missing the front-driven axle,
so it's only two-wheel drive,

it's missing a load of power.

It's like a GTR,
but just a bit BLEEP.

Cheaper, too.

A GTR could have fetched 40 grand in
the UK, but annoyingly,

my GTT was worth about the same as
Chris's RX-7.

Am I crazy about the body?

No, and even on the GTR, I wasn't
crazy about the body shape.

I think it's... It's not even the
car you thought you'd bought!

Well, I didn't know what I...
I was surprised I got a car... Hi.

Sorry. How are you?
Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

"Well done on buying some cars."

OK. "We've laid on the transport to
get them home."

That's nice of the producers.
"The transport leaves in two days'
time from Enbu.

"Please drive there." So we have to
take them on a trip now?

Yes. It's a good thing you bought a
reliable car.

Can I trade it back in...?
No, you can't, nope.

On the road, and our destination
at Enbu

was just a couple of hundred
miles to the north of Tokyo.

But with two days to reach it,

we'd been told first to make a
detour towards the hills,

and that left us with plenty of time
to get to know what we'd bought.

Three reasons why the RX-7 rocked.

First of all, the styling.

It must be one of the best looking
Japanese cars ever.

Look at this bodywork. It's just
shrunk over the shape of the car

in the most lovely shapes.

Second of all, pop-up headlights.

Everyone loves a pop-up headlight.

Thirdly, this was the first-ever
sequentially turbo-charged

rotary engine production car, and it
made close to 300 horsepower.

Now, it didn't exactly start a
rotary engine revolution.

In fact, the unique design of the
Wankel engine, as it's known,

drinks so much fuel and oil

that no other manufacturer has ever
followed suit.

But, when they were working well,
as this one is now,

there's nothing like them.

It just revs perfectly.

And while the RX-7 and I were
getting on famously,

over in his low-spec Skyline,

Matt has had time to put a positive
spin on things.

OK, so I may not have chosen the car
that I thought I'd chose,

but it turns out I accidentally made
a pretty good choice.

This is basically a GTR.

It's got one turbo, instead of two,

one fewer thing to go wrong,

it's got rear-wheel drive instead
of four-wheel drive,

so it's the purist's choice,

and this car has four-wheel

Now that's the kind of technology
you really only find on your latest

Ferraris and Porsches and Mercedes.

I'm accidentally awesome.

Before long, we reached the hills.

And pulling off the main highway,

our sports cars started
to feel right at home.

These are great roads.

Now it becomes quite touge-like.

Japanese for mountain pass,
touge roads are legendary.

Narrow, twisting tarmac,

where Japan's sports car enthusiasts
have always come to play.

Oh, what is this? There's a guy in
the road, guy in the road up here.


I think he needs a
little lube on his arm.

He is, um, squeaky.

All right, challenge.

"To test your car's performance
before export to the UK,

"you will now race around the famous
Gunsai touge road

"while each carrying a passenger."

Is that where we are now,
the Gunsai touge?

I guess so. I have wanted to come
here all my life.

Have you? This is where the Japanese
best motoring guys used to skid

S2000s, MX-5s, sorry,
Miata, for you.

Yeah. OK. All right, don't look now,
but there are two very large,

mostly naked, men standing right
behind you.

Yes, sumo wrestlers.

From a sport which actually bans its
stars from driving,

they make ideal passenger seat

to really put our sports
cars to the test.

Hi. They're never going to fit
in the cars, are they?

Ahead of us lay a 1.4 mile loop
of closed touge road.

Designed to test our cars' handling,

we'd be racing two laps of this
fast, technical course.

Who would win in a fight between
you two guys?

You. Ha-ha, that's what I'm talking


OK, we're a team...

We're a team?


What a start!


Come on, baby, come on!

Tuck in behind me, Le Blanc.
Get used to being there.

He can't overtake us here.
He can't get us here!

Wrong, Harris, very wrong.

You cheeky little...

That's what I'm talking about!

Oh, a little too hot...


I like that. We're through!

I'm sorry about that, he got me!

All right, come on, think light,
big boy, think light!

With the road running out...

Feel that smooth, rotary power,
my friend.

The RX-7 had just enough...

Come on, come on. keep the GTT at bay.

It's a victory!

I would have had you if I didn't
blow it in the hairpin down there.

It was close, it was close.

Do you think sumo mid-90s slightly
ropey sports car racing

is a new sport?

I think absolutely, right?
That's what my guy says.

With the day drawing to a close,
leaving the touge roads behind,

we got back on the highway.


Oh, no. Chris, why are you stopped
at the toll?

Why do you think I'm stopped
at the toll?

I don't know why you're stopped at
the toll, that's why I'm asking you.


He's just shouting at me.

My Japanese is very weak.

It extends to... Honda.

Now, see, this is interesting.

This is where we find out how
impatient Mr Harris is.

You watch what's going to happen

He has the patience of a gnat.


I've got three people behind me now.

Back? Back?



BLEEP hell!

Finally free of the toll booths,
the next challenge was dinner.

And we soon discovered that, no
matter how far you travel,

food from motorway services...

Let's see what we've got here...


Oh, that's not nice!

That's bad. Wow, I'm going to close
that back up, OK?

That's going to get in the
"wish we didn't get those" pile.

That was rank.

What about these? What are these?
Some kind of egg thing.


Come on. Eat that!

Is it that bad?
Eat that!

Suffice to say, the meal
was an education.

So, after a hungry night,

the next morning we hit the road
early for another day of discovery.

The Japanese are the masters of the
weird car name.

Allow me to give you some examples.

The Suzuki Every Joypop Turbo -
how about that one?

Or an Isuzu Mysterious Utility

Or the Honda Lovely Lady Garden.

Those aren't real car names.

Yeah, you're right, I made the last
one up, but the others, I promise
you, are real.

But the last one was
my favourite one.

We picked up the route to Enbu,

following the main highway north

and soon our journey took us into
new territory.

Hey, Chris, look at this sign. What
is that? Is that a Geiger counter?

That's a radiation meter.
Look at that.

Oh, crikey. So we're actually quite
close to, erm...

Fukushima, where they had the big
disaster in 2011.

We were approaching the Daiichi
Nuclear Power Plant.

Critically damaged by a tsunami in
the wake of one of the largest

earthquakes ever recorded in Japan,

a 20km exclusion zone was
set up around the plant.

In one day, the entire local

was evacuated to escape
the dangers of radiation.

Experts predict the clear-up
operation at Daiichi

could take up to 40 years.

For now, the area remains largely

An area that we were granted special
permission to witness first-hand.

We're 5km from the
reactor that blew here.

Are we really that close?

You read about it and you see the

but until you come here and just see
the way people have abandoned

their lives involuntarily...

It doesn't really hit you until you
see it, does it?

No, it doesn't.

You think about all the people that
got displaced over this.

There were 160,000 people here.

That's the population of Oxford and
they were just gone in one day.

Gone, bye.

Just terrible.

Just seems that somebody saved up
their pennies and bought their dream

Porsche and they've driven it home
one night from work,

parked it up and then never got to
see it again.

You don't own a car like this unless
you love cars

and yet the dangers here were so
great that they were willing

to just leave it behind and run.

Kids' shoes and...

Dishware and...


I mean, this was probably a family
lived here

and just, their whole
lives were just gone.


This is awful.

It was time to move on.

That's a hard one to shake.

That's a hard one to shake.

I've got to say, that was eerie.

I mean, the size of the exclusion

I don't think I'll ever forget that.

The scale of the clean-up is just
absolutely immense.

It's one of the biggest engineering
challenges of our time.

They're talking 30, 40 years.

I've never seen anything like it.

Yeah. Right, well, we'll pick up the
rest of that road trip

a little later in the show.

Rory. Now, while Matt and Chris were
off filming that,

I was on a Japanese mission
of my own.

Back in Tokyo, I'd been given just
one night to delve into the more

unusual side of
Japanese car culture.

And I thought I'd begin with the
very USUAL Daihatsu Tanto.

If you really want
to understand Japan,

this is where you need to look.

The Kei car.

Because in the world's
most populated city,

Tokyo's 38 million inhabitants have
long been torn between a love

of cars and a lack of space.

And for many, these are the answer.

Kei cars make up about 40% of the
cars on the road over here.

There's one. There's another one.

They're all Kei cars.

And they're all built to a set of

that makes the Formula 1
rule book look laid-back.

The engines are all exactly 660 cc.

They're all limited to 63 horsepower

and they're all incredibly slow.

It was introduced in 1949 as an
affordable post-war alternative to

the motorcycle. And as the Japanese
population boomed,

the Kei car's frugal and compact
formula was future-proof.

You see, in Tokyo,
because space is so tight,

you can't actually buy a car unless
you can prove you actually have the

space to park it. That's why these
things are so popular.

The Kei car is all about sacrificing
the individual for the good of the

many. Everything in order.

Button-down. To hell with

But here's the thing about

No matter how tightly you button it
down, it always finds a way out.

And the tighter you button, the
weirder it comes out.

Because after dark, while the rest
of the city sleeps,

Tokyo's less conventional drivers
come out to play.

Oh, yes!

Bosozoku style!

A small corner of automotive

that's all about extremes.


I'm not going to lie - this is a
little bit intimidating.

I don't really want
to say the wrong thing.

These guys come with a certain

With its origins in gang culture,

Bosozoku style today takes
once stock Japanese classics

and wildly remodels them.

Look at this!

What is this, metal?

That looks dangerous, man.

Its trademarks are flamboyant

extreme flared arches and snowplough
ground clearance.

This yours? Yeah, street racer.

This is nice.

But what are they like to drive?

Well, after a bit of negotiation, I
was given the chance to find out.

I can drive? You sure?

Arigato. Arigato, arigato.

Oh, my God. Come on!

Oh, mate!

Yeah! Enjoy. Oh, I will enjoy, don't
you worry.

This is more my style.
I want one of these.

Bosozoku is everything a Kei car
isn't -

anti-social and on the fringes
of legality.

The story goes that in the '50s,

kamikaze pilots coming back from war
kind of needed a new hobby.

So they took to modifying their
motorcycles with crazy exhausts and

all kinds of ornaments, generally
getting up to havoc in city centres,

creating high jinks.

Occasionally organised
crime-flavoured high jinks.

Anyhow, the Bosozoku tuning style
moved away from gang culture and

into cars and so many definitely
law-abiding years later,

we end up with these.


I'm pretty sure this is not legal.

If you want to show off,
you couldn't do much better.

Except, of course, this is Tokyo.

Oh, hello! Lambos!

Oh, yes!


Oh, yes!

Oh, that is nuts.

Oh, yes!

Yeah! Yeah!

Loving your style, mate.

Loving your style.

I am completely out of my depth

Let's work, come on.

I'm pretty sure that's fine.

Wait for me, wait for me!

Oh, my lord!


In Japan's underground car scene,

even the deepest pockets are out
to make a statement.

For this lot, the supercar
is just the start.

And I had to blag a go.

Oh, my


I'll be honest, this is turning into
one of the stranger nights

of my life.

Again, if you're asking why, why
cover a Lambo in neon lights,

glitter and fake bullet holes?

Japan's answer is quite
simply, why not?

The world is all about uniqueness
these days.

You buy a brand-new mini and there
are literally millions of options

for customisation. Union Jack roof,
bonnet stripes.

This is the same thing.

It just takes it a little bit

But there's more to it than that
because the people who run these

kaleidoscopic supercars say they
have a grander mission.

You see, the number of under-30s
with a driving licence is falling

every year in Japan, down by a third
since the turn of the century.

And they reckon it's all the boring
Kei cars that are the problem.

Make more stuff like this, they say,

and the kids will come flooding back
to cars.

And, to be fair,
they may have a point.

Yeah, go ahead -
Instagram it, come on!

I know you want to.

Like them or not, you can't deny the
sheer flamboyance of these cars does

make for a spectacular sight.

But the problem with neon Lambos out
here is that they're just a bit...

A bit common. If you want something
that's genuinely, utterly unique,

you've got to dig
a little bit deeper.

This is the Porsche 962.

Three-time winner of the 24 hours
of Le Mans,

it was one of the most dominant
race cars of its day.

But what is really special about
this 962

is that it isn't just a
race car.

Here in Japan, this 962
is road legal.

And I'm going to drive it.

With my one night in Tokyo
coming to an end,

it was time to leave the
city sprawl behind

and head for the hills.

Because a car like this deserves -

no, demands - a proper road.

Listen to the noise!


This is nuts!
This is absolutely nuts.

I'm driving a
Porsche Le Mans car on the road!

The engine is a twin turbo-charged
flat six

that makes about 630 horsepower.

That might not sound like an awful
lot in today's crazy world,

but you've got to remember two

First of all, this car only weighs

That's about as much as air weighs.

And secondly,

you've got to remember that the
traction control system

is this guy!

This is insane.

What a day. What a day!


If, like me, you've ever worried the
world's roads are becoming lost

to beige SUVs and
anonymous hatchbacks,


Come to Japan.

The world of cars is alive and well

and weirder than you could
ever hope.

And that is worth travelling for.


So jealous.

Yeah. Wow.

I have to say, that did look great.
A Porsche 962 on the road?

It's proper bucket list stuff.
I know. Honestly, it really was.

It was just the most incredible
12 hours.

What about the 13th hour?

Do you want to show what happened
when you were driving the very rare,

very expensive Porsche
back from the shoot?

No. No, I don't.

Well, we have some footage.

Look at this.

Yeah, I think something's
broken in this.

Yeah, I've got smoke,
I've got smoke.


Please don't clap that.

That looked significant.

Yeah. What was wrong?

Well, we kind of narrowed it down to
the engine region.

So what did you do? I legged it!

Great, so if any of you out there
fancy a broken Le Mans Porsche,

head to the Hakone turnpike just
outside of Odawara.

Yeah, and bring a spanner.

Right, time to get back to our big
Japanese road trip.

As you'll remember, Chris and I had
been tasked with buying a couple of

'90s sports cars and shipping them
back to the UK

to try and turn a profit.

You rejoin us the following morning
when we'd been told to head to a

local race circuit for another

The racetrack we'd been sent to was
buried deep in the forest.

And as we'd come to expect
from Japan,

it wasn't quite what we'd expected.

What is this?
Are we in the right place?

What kind of a racetrack has large
statues of monkeys?

Is it a racetrack, or a zoo?

Perhaps it was a bit of both.

Because this was Ebisu -

home to the wilder animals of
Japanese motorsport.

What is that?

Yes, this is drifting.

You know that moment when you're
about to crash that seems to last

forever? They've taken that moment
and stretched it out

and turned it into a motorsport.
What could be better?


Starting out as an illegal race

on Japan's touge mountain
roads back in the '90s,

drifting has evolved into
disciplines like this.

Known as Tsuiso,
drivers run in pairs,

drifting as close and as fast as
possible in parallel.

And, worryingly, it was just then
that our challenge arrived.

Hi. Hi.

A challenge. Thank you.

Thank you.

What have we got? What have we got?

Nice helmet design. "Because you've
both bought rear-wheel drive
Japanese sports cars,

"it's time for you to team up for a
drift challenge against a

"team of Japanese aces."

Those guys?
Not those guys, those guys.

Well, which guys are those guys?

Yep, these guys.

Matchbox-sized Kei car pick-ups from
the shallower end of the drift pool.

So, issued with beginners' safety

Looking good!

..and a set of super-skinny rear
tyres to help us slide,

we headed out for some practice.

This is brilliant!

And, OK, some of us needed more
practice than others.

It's so tricky.

Keep going. It's going to come.
I know it is!

I can't see with those
stupid things on.

Oh, there's the road.

That's it, Matt. Keep it going,
Matt. Keep it going, Matthew.

That's better! That's better!

But getting the hang of the drift
was only half the battle.

To compete, we'd need to do it in

It's so hard to stay together.

I lost a wheel. Lost the wheel.

With no time left to practise,
there was only one way to make sure

we'd nail the art
of the parallel drift.

Problem solved.

And starting at the front
of the grid,

the aim of this challenge would be
to stay ahead

of the Kei car drifters for two laps
of sideways action.

Any tips?

Take it nice and smooth,
instigate the transition positively,

and try and stay alive.


Three, two, one...

Now, in a stroke of genius,

lashing our cars together had turned
us into a rolling road block.

You've got to steer! I am steering!

So, while the other teams struggled
to get past,

we were free to concentrate on our

OK, ready? OK.

Steer, steer!

And, unbelievably...

Our improvised answer to the perfect
tandem drift actually worked.

That's what I'm talking about, baby!


OK, get ready.

Go! Steer, steer!

Nice! Yeah, we've got it.

Ready, ready, ready?


Against the odds, with the Kei cars
still at bay,

we were looking good for the win.

Right, ready, ready, ready?
Full power, full power.

It's going great!

But with just half
a lap between us and victory...


It broke!

It was working so well.

I don't understand
why it went wrong.

Out of the race, we handed the Kei
car pick-ups a solid one-two finish.

But frankly, we had bigger things
to worry about.

My car is shagged. Wow.

Now, is it the goal to buy these
for a million yen...

Yeah. ..get them back to the UK and
sell them and make a profit?

Ooh, what do you think?

Well, it's often said that a racing
car that's enjoyed huge success

like, win the Le Mans 24 hours,

if you leave it after the race
untouched, you don't clean it,

you leave all the patination and the
life, it's worth more money. Uh-huh.

So, what race is this?

The near the weird zoo drift

Challenge. Yes!

That adds value. Yeah.
I think that adds value.

Now, a busy morning "adding value"
does build an appetite,

so we left Ebisu behind

and this time Matt sensibly
suggested we skip

the service station eggs and go for
one of his favourite local dishes.

What's this?
Oh, have you ever had wanko soba?

No, I like a couple of beers first,

No, no, it's a Japanese delicacy.

Honestly, I love wanko.

Sit down.

Wanko soba?




Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mmm. That's good.

They're quite plain, aren't they?


It's customary to keep eating - eat
as many bowls as you can, you know?

Is it? And the record is held by
this little skinny Japanese girl.

She ate 700 bowls. 700 bowls?

A little skinny Japanese girl.
Well, it's not a competition, is it?

We'll have a couple
and then we'll move on.

I mean, it really isn't
a competition, is it?


Oh, OK... I'm...

I'm full.

It was good though, right?
That is fantastic.

And... And...
I know it wasn't a competition,

but if it was, I, you know...

Yeah, you would have won.
I would have won, yeah.

Thank you.
Oh, look at that.

OK. "We forgot to mention, we only
sorted the shipping for one car.

"The transport leaves in one hour
from the airport in Enbu.

"Please decide between yourselves
which car you're taking back
to the UK."

Oh, well, obviously you'd take the

It's a beautiful example, a special
car, rotary engine, not many left.

But they're a dime a dozen.

What do you mean a dime a dozen?
They're all over the place.

A GTT... You don't see anywhere.
You do! I've never seen one.

It's the cockroach of Japanese cars.

They're everywhere.
Why would we take the RX-7?

Quite right, we're taking the RX-7.
Oh, you'll want some of that.
Look at that over there.


With only one car heading back
to the UK...

Oh, no, no, no, no, you don't.

..and just an hour to reach the

we each had our own take on how to
get there first.

I don't know what Chris's plan is to
get there, but my plan,

I'm going to head to the highway,

stay off these windy roads and then
let it rip.

He's got a march on me,
the little swine.

I'm going to save time.
I'm going the windy route.

I've got an RX-7 - why wouldn't I go
the windy route?

With our destination at Enbu
just 20 miles to the north,

my highway route might have been
slightly further,

but it was definitely faster.

The race was on.

Right, so I've got more power and,
frankly, a better car,

so I should be able to carry more
speed, especially since I'm taking
the highway.

I should be able to get there

And I'm home free.

I still reckon
I've got the faster car.

I still reckon this
is the RX-7's to lose.

And, frankly, the odds were with me,

because for Matt to take advantage
of his superfast highway...

Hi, can you open the gate?

Open the gate, please?

First, he'd have to get on it.

Who? Who? No, I just need you to
open the gate so I can get
on the highway. Highway?

Highway. Kado, kado.

No, I'm not going to Chicago.

The gate, the gate, the gate!

You need to open the gate.

Just open it.
There must be a button.

Are you kidding?


This was a setback.

And annoyingly, pocket rocket
Harris was flying.

There is so much to love
about this car.

That rotary engine is so light,

it means the front of the car
doesn't have too much weight so it
doesn't understeer,

it doesn't push,
it just grips and goes.

It is the perfect weapon in which
to beat Matt LeBlanc.

Open the gate!

No, no. No, no, what?

How do I get in?


ETC? Yeah.
I have the ETC.

Yeah, I have it. I have it
somewhere. I don't know where it is.

Yeah, I have it. I don't know.

Yeah, the ETC.

What's an ETC? I don't know what
that means.

But while I was still negotiating
hard with the keeper

of the plastic gate...

Come on!

Thankfully, Chris soon discovered
that local roads means local

Get out of the way.

Come on!

And while he was held up...

Here we go. Open road, open road.

I had finally overcome
my language barrier.

I have no idea what that guy was
talking about but, hoo, boy,

was he angry.


Yes. The Skyline and I were in the

I love this car, I really do.

It's really grown on me. I've got to
win this and get it back to the UK.

Come on!

With less than ten miles to go to
reach the airport finish,

the gap to Harris was closing fast.

And as I left the highway behind...

Yes! That's what I'm talking about. would be a straight sprint up a
private road to reach the waiting

transport and, for one of us,

This is GTT territory, my friend.

There is no way LeBlanc is going to
get here before me. No way!

There's no way he'd beat me here.

No way!

All right, come on, come on.

Right, got to be getting near the
top now.

Oh, he's there already!

Oh, man!

That sucks.

How did you get here so fast?
I had a Mazda RX-7.

What took you so long?
I got hung up at a toll booth.

What's that?
I got hung up at a tollbooth.

Come on, let's chase him.

Look at him go.

All right, end of the line.

There he goes.

How did you beat me?

I mean, how did you...

What is that? What are you doing?

It's Ichiban.
Lipstick for men.

You need a little more
on the side there.

You're an asshole.



That was mega.
That was awesome.

Awesome, awesome.

That was a hell of a trip.

Japan, great country.

Weird as hell, but great.

You know what really blew my mind?

The toilets, am I right?

Oh! Back me up. They were amazing.

Heated seat and that little probe
thing that comes out and washes...

Let's not use the word "probe".
Oh, come on. No, no, no.

Let's call it a telescoping
wash nozzle thing.

It cleans you. No, no, can we
get back to the point of the film
here, right?

OK. Which was to make money on a
Japanese sports car.

Let's do the maths on this.
You paid, what,

Seven grand at auction, right?

Right. OK, and then there was the
cost of flights.

What's that, a grand?
Little bit more.

And then the cost of shipping
the car? Yeah, don't forget fuel.

Then there was that night at the
sake bar.

That was a great night.
That was mega.

So let's cut to the chase on this.

How much would you have to sell this
car for to break even?

About 52 grand.

But... But I've had a couple of very
strong nibbles, Rory.

Yeah? And I'm hopeful.

What's your highest bid so far?

800 quid. 800 quid?

Yeah, but I'm going to squeeze a bit
more out of him. It's fine.

It's not exactly the strongest
business model, is it?

Now, look, look, in Chris'

No, I've got nothing.
I'm sorry, no, no.

OK, look, that's all we've got time
for this week.

See you next week. Goodnight.