Top Gear (2002–…): Season 27, Episode 1 - Episode #27.1 - full transcript

In their first adventure together, Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness head to the searing heat of Ethiopia in their first cars. Back at the track, Chris puts the Ferrari 488 Pista and McLaren 600LT through their paces.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Hello and welcome to Top Gear.

I'm here, he's here, he's
still here, and you're all here!

Yes. How good is this?
How good is this?

It's so good to be presenting our
first show and we know Top Gear

has had more rebirths than
Doctor Who recently,

but look, we've kept
the little Dalek.


And I would just like to say...

..that I genuinely...
Exterminate, no?

I genuinely cannot understand
a single word you two are saying.

It's just mangled
northern vowels, isn't it?

Probably for the best, to be honest.
Right, let's get on with the show.

We'll be with you every Sunday
for the next few weeks,

and here's
what you've got to look forward to.


Come on.

We're going in!


Get in, Sam! Argh!

That's the funniest face
I've ever seen.

I've no engine. Argh!

All right, Chris, I've got this.

Are you all right?

Oh, you absolute whopper.

He's a berk.

Hello, patty, patty cake.

Oh, God, it's the German. I thought
they got rid of her.

Stop the car!

My name is Chris Harris
and I am a chassis enthusiast.

Wow, wow.

So basically what you need to know
is that he crashes

everything he drives.

And he gets terrified if he travels
more than ten miles from Bolton!

And as it is our first show,
we wanted to go right back

to the beginning - first cars.

Did you know that the average young
person now spends £4,000

on their first car?
Four grand!

And it's not that they're buying
some future classic.

It's going to be a bit mundane,
it's going to be economical,

practical, like an Aygo,
or a Picanto or something.

When we were younger,
first cars were exciting

and they were cheap.
They don't know they're born, Chris.

They don't know they're born, no.

So the producer said, prove it.

They gave us each four grand
and told us to buy the nearest thing

to our own first car
that we could find,

and then they said,
take them to Ethiopia.


Look at this, the bustle
of an African town.

Nothing beats it.

What do you make of it, Paddy?

It's mind-blowing, isn't it, really?

I'm quite excited
about receiving my car, to be honest.

Really? Yeah.

Mine's a car that's
impossible to dislike.

I'd say mine is as well,
Paddy, to be honest.

Really? Yeah.

He's being very quiet, isn't he?

Well, I'm just, I'm just
soaking up the memories.

The last time I saw my version
of the car that we're about to meet,

it was upside down in
Knowle West playing field,

on fire, cos someone had nicked
it, so I feel a bit sad about that,

and then you talk about
the things that I did in the car.

I'm not sure they are suitable
for a family show, actually.

Don't pretend, don't pretend you had
girls in there, Chris!

On his own!

On your own.

Is this it? This is it.

Cheers, mate.

Very excited, sun's out.
Wait there.

I'm going to get my car.

What are you thinking?

Late '80s, Bolton - Ford Fiesta.


No, it will be a MK2 or maybe...


Is it a Ford?

Turn round, look at that!

Oh. MK2 Escort.

That is lovely.
That's a delicious car.

I'm not going to tell him, though.
Wow. Wow. Hey!


The MK2 Escort, boys.

Rolling back the years.

Look at her.

Look at her, come on.
Don't give me that face.

No, no, I don't know
whether to congratulate you,

cos the car's wonderful.
Thank you.

Or to point out that
you're a cheating sod.


Where did you buy that?

Yeah, well, this is
the genius of it all. Yes.

These cars in the UK,
you're looking anything

between ten grand and 30 grand.

South Africa, £2,100.

Went on the net, boom - job done.

You went on the net?
Went on the net.

What came up when you
googled "old escorts"?

You don't want to know,
and I've since burnt my hard drive,

but this is a thing of beauty.

I'm not going to lie, Paddy.

You've pulled it out
of the bag here, mate.

You like it, don't you?

That steering wheel.

Lovely, isn't it?
I, oh... How do you do it?

Just pull that handle, Fred.

I know you get...
It's the basics with Fred.

Look at this!
It's beautiful.

Its little touches.
Why are you so miserable?

Because I'm, I feel
I've been beaten already.

A British classic.

I think it's a great car in a great

colour and he's bought it for great

See what you've got there, raise it.
This is music to my ears.

However, however,
you wait till you see

what I've got, boys.

What do you think it's going to be?

It's going to be small, isn't it?

I'm praying this is him.

A horse!

I've gone old school British, lads.

First car I ever had.

Oh, here he comes, look at this.

As if it was going
to be any other car. Yeah.

The tuk-tuks are bigger.

The tuk-tuks are
bigger than his car!

Look at... he's smiling.

Chris! Wow.


Look at his little face.

I tell you what.

Oh, here we go.
I'm wistful. Are you?

You're wistful.

What year is this?
Gorgeous. 1990.

It's a little bit younger than mine,
but it's the same spec.

It's lovely.
998CC, four speed gearbox.

I mean, the genius of Issigonis'

Put the gearbox under the engine.

Less space up front required.

What did you pay for this?


I paid a grand for my original one.
They're worth good money now.

You're genuinely
excited, aren't you? Look at you.

Of course I am, it's arguably

the greatest British object ever

I've got it, listen,
I like the Mini.

I can't wait to see his.
Should I just go and get it?


Go on.

What do you reckon he's got?

First of all look at
the size of him.

He's a big bloke, big car -
I'm saying Land Rover.

What, for a first car?

I'd keep, I'm sorry. What's that?

No way.

No way!

First car. What?

All right, lads?
That's a Porsche Boxster.

Hey, you know your cars, don't you?

Your first car was
a Porsche Boxster?

Well, I did have a Rover 216
when I passed my test,

but it was a lease car.

Then I had a few sponsored cars.

Hang on, you leased a Rover?

Lancashire, you paid 1%
of the car's value a month

and you got your insurance.
A no-brainer. The first car

I actually bought
was when I was 22.

It was a Porsche Boxster.

So at 22 years of age,
how much did you pay for that at 22?

At 22 years of age I'd been
a professional cricketer

for six years. And?

The car was 35 grand.


35 grand, 22!

You played cricket,
is that what you get, you lads?

So you know all this,
"I grew up the hard way,

"Lancashire, took my own coal
to school, had to burn other

"children and eat other
people to live"... It was all...

I made my debut for England at 20.

What happened was, right, I found a
talent young, when I was 16.

I was a professional cricketer.

You two, you're still
on that journey.

It'll happen to you one day, lads.

Absolutely speechless.
It doesn't happen often.

How much?


You paid £400 more
than I did for this?

For a Porsche Boxster? Yeah.
Yeah. How many miles has it done?


Eh up, oh.

Thank you.

Welcome to Ethiopia.

If your first cars are as good
as you say, they'll have no problem

crossing the vast Semian mountain
range to reach the Afar Triangle.

Birthplace of humankind
and the hottest place on Earth.

Get an 'at.

And you owe me a fiver. Why?

You can read.

I told you I can read.

So this was the journey
we'd need to overcome.

A three-day trek across Ethiopia's
ancient mountainous landscapes

to reach the deep desert depression
of the Afar Triangle,

the lowest point in Africa,
long thought to be the area

where humankind took its first
steps into the world.

Not a bad place for a nostalgic road
trip, then,

but a big ask of our first cars.

Although it sounds good
that I bought a Porsche

for under four grand,
I'll let you into a little secret.

I'm not going to tell the other two.

I've had to compromise a little bit.

The clutch is slippy,
it's prone to overheating,

which is not great in this weather.

I've got no air conditioning.
After you, yeah, you carry on.

Yeah, the roof is not working,
hence why I've got it up.

But I'm in a Porsche!

This is what the Mini was built for.

Urban chaos, small and nimble,
I can duck into gaps.

I just love it.

I love being in a Mini.

I've forgotten how much
I love being in a Mini.

Come back, brake pedal.

Being back in my first car,
the first car I bought

with my own money that
I'd worked hard for,

I worked at Morrisons at the time,
worked in the warehouse,

90 quid I saved up, and everything
about this car is exactly

as it is when I owned it.

In fact, this is in better condition
than my original car,

because the original MK2 I had,
the steering rack was hanging off,

the carburettor was all over
the show, that's why I swapped

it for the twin Webers.

This is actually better.

Leaving the city of Gondar behind,
we headed north-east

towards the Semian mountains
and our first glimpse

at what Ethiopia had in store.

That is amazing.


It's safe to say I'm not
a very well travelled man.

Portugal's about
as far as I've gone,

but growing up in the '80s the only
thing you saw of Ethiopia on the TV

was really famine and Live Aid

and the images were harrowing,
and I'm out here now

and it's totally different.

Obviously it was a long time ago
but it's a beautiful country.

And with a lot of it to cover,
we settled in for the drive.

You know what,
I'm not an emotional person,

I don't really get emotional, but

this car, driving it again is
stirring up a few thoughts.

Not all that I'm proud
of, to be honest.

I think a lot of sportsmen,
or people go through that stage

in your life, where
you're a bit of a knobhead.

I played for England,
I thought I was cracking it,

but my career was terrible,
I wasn't scoring any runs,

I wasn't taking any wickets,
I was unfit and I took my eye

off the ball.

I got carried away with everything
off the field and didn't concentrate

what was going on on the field.

And when I sold it,
my career turned round.

I realised what's important.

If I get my cricket right,
if I get my game right,

all the things like the cars,
the house and all that will follow,

but I've got to get that right,
and it sounds strange to say

but, yeah, it really did teach me
a lesson, this car.

It was time we started finding out
who really had the best first car,

and a little further up the road...

Wow, look at that down there.

Lads, I've got a fantastic idea.

..I spotted a good place to knock
together a little nostalgic test.

Lovely this, Chris, isn't it?

Gentlemen, welcome to

the Driving Test Greatest
Hits Rally Race.

Basically, all of your favourite
bits of the driving test

wrapped up in a rally stage, OK?

Down here, flat out,
round through the equipment,

down there, emergency stop,
three-point turn.

Were you good at that?

And then reverse all the way
back through the course,

back up there, don't go
up through the barrel

because it's about 90 foot
down into the quarry.

It's your go, isn't it?
You go first, your game. Ow!

Go on, yeah, go on, the
Smurf, go on, Papa Smurf.

Go on, son.

Bless him.

Are you ready, Chris?

No pressure, but you're an actual
racing driver so you've got

to win this.
I'm not a racing driver.

I do some racing.

Three, two, one, go!

Come on, old girl.

I thought he was going
to be faster down there.

Right, I'm going to finish first.

We're at altitude,
2,500 metres here,

and the Mini is a rally weapon.

Come on, Mini.

I'm Paddy Hopkirk.

I'm Rauno Aaltonen, I'm every
Mini rally hero ever!

Nice, tidy through the chicane.

We need to slow him down, Fred.

Three-point turn,
what the Mini was made for.

Oh, might have got a bit
of dust going there.

You've gone the wrong way!
You've gone the wrong way!

You've gone the wrong way, son!

What's this?

No, you're all right, keep going!

No, you lying BLEEP,
Paddy McGuinness!

He's having an absolute 'mare.

He's 55 seconds.

I can't see a thing.

Go on, Chris!

You shouted, you've
gone the wrong way!

Don't listen to us. Play to the
whistle, Chris.

What were you listening to us for?

That's a horrendous piece
of cheating, Paddy McGuinness.

My God.

One minute 21 to beat.

And McGuinness and his
Escort were up next.

Three, two, one, go.

Come on.

Does that look visually
quicker than I was going? Yeah.

Does it?
Yeah, it does.

Wide line here, wide line.

Whoa, whoa, round we go,
round we go,

there we go, back end out,

let's get on it.

He's quicker than
you at this point, Chris.

Is he?
Yeah, he really is.

Now this three-point turn now,
here we go, straight

up into this.

Paddy, you're on fire,
your car is on fire, stop! Stop!

Oh, sorry about that, no.

Carry on, buddy, carry on.

I can't believe he's gone for that!

He's spewing, look at him!

I wondered what you were doing.

You got me then as well!

Run, run, run.

Come on, come on.

It's going to be close this,
Chris, one minute ten.

Go, Paddy!
What do you mean, go, Paddy?

That's it, never leaves you.
Jesus Christ.


Oh, he's gone, he's gone,
he was going to do you then as well.

Oh, where is he going?

And stop there.
One minute, 27, point 66.

What did I do?
1.21. Cheating BLEEP.

Oh, he doesn't like it
when it's him, does he?

Do you want to know the time now?
Go on.

One minute, 27.66.

Oh, what a pisstake.

All I can say is your performance
was woeful, cheats never prosper,

back you come.

A moral victory for me.

Cheats never prosper.
Oh, yeah.

I've got no chance!

You ready, son?

Ready, big lad.

Three, two, one, go.

Quick start.

Come on, nice, nice
and smooth through here.

It's all over the place!

The back end, it's too much power.

Is this the bit where I say,
your car's got a grenade on top

of it and rocket
launchers everywhere?

I can't see a thing!

I can't see a thing at the back.

He can't see!

He can't see.

Get it round, get it round,
come on, don't panic.

Where the BLEEP is it?

I can't see anything
out the back.

I'm stuck!

I'm stuck! No!

He's beached it, he's beached it.
Shush, shush. Hear it. No!

It's still running.
We're going.

Here you go, see it.
Oh, good arm.

Now, OK, so we've got
a winner and a loser. Yeah.

The winner of my Greatest Driving
Test Hits Classic Rally Challenge

thing, I have to present
the loser with his prize.

Sorry about this.

Well, you did lose.

Oh, dear God.

As the loser, Andrew Flintoff,
I'd like to present

you with the chunky
knit jumper of failure,

to be worn until our next challenge.

Get it on.

Roll neck as well,
that will be lovely and warm.

Now that's it, be careful
snagging your teeth on it.

Beautiful, that. How hot is it now?
85, 87?

It's a bit clammy.

Shall we get back on the road?

Yeah. I'll catch you up.

I think failing my driving test was

one of the worst days
of my life.

What did you fail on, Chris?

Couldn't reach the pedals!

When did you pass, Fred?

Third time.

I passed the second time
and I'm not proud of it,

but I used my sexuality.
Go on.

What happened was the first time
it was a guy with a little pencil

'tache, I knew I were going
to fail straight away.

I was a young good-looking lad
from Bolton, he got a bit jealous.

Anyhow, the second time
it was a lady instructor,

and what you two boys don't know
is underneath these trousers

I've got two sticks of dynamite,
known as my legs,

and when I was a young lad, oh,
they were tanned and they were lean.

I had this pair of the shortest blue
silk shorts, little white ankle

socks and a skin-tight Juventus
football top

and I passed
with flying colours, boys.

Have you ever used your sexuality
for anything, Chris?

Harris' detour had left

the morning's silky smooth tarmac
far behind us.

This is pretty sketchy
at the minute.

Just don't think about
the drop to your right.

That's the best way,
just imagine it's about a foot.

I mean, if at any point
this steering rack goes awry for me

on this road, it's game over.

We've now climbed high
into the mountains.

Good God, look at that.

And for me in the Boxster the state
of the road was the least

of our problems.

I've lost one of the fans,
which I think was in the quarry,

but it's a bump so obviously
temperature gauge is up to 100.

The air conditioning doesn't work.

My roof doesn't work.

So hot in here.

But then Paddy's Escort
gave us all a break.

Oy, pull in, pull in.


The rules are I've got
to wear the jumper.

Nobody said anything
about wearing my trousers.

Oh, that's better.

What, what, what has
happened to your...

Oh, Jesus wept.

What's up, Pad?

Now, buying a car over the internet
can have its pitfalls.

How are you going
to get that on that?

Where's the jack?

Luckily, though, Harris knew
an old rally technique

that could help us out.

Drive the car into a ditch.

You want me to drive this car
with a flat tyre into a ditch?

Come on, Paddy.

All you do is crash the car...


Get yourself in an utterly
inappropriate position on the boot.

The right foot should be rising up.

It's rising up, Chris, trust me.

And invite some locals
over to join in.

Thanks, lads.

Right, we're up, we're up.

I'm just getting a bit,
I need to adjust myself.

No, no!

It's horrible!

Will you hurry up?

Right, let me down.

Fred, Fred get off me.

All of which, remarkably...

Yeah, go.

..did the trick.

We're on, boys!

Back up and running we got
reacquainted with the dirt road.

Man, it's dusty.

But before long, our
perseverance paid off.

Lads, eyes forward,
look what's over that bridge.

We found tarmac boys!

Oh, the Porsche is
stretching its legs.

Oh, look at this up here?

Oh, go on!

Just when we were finally making
some decent progress, though...

Oh, I don't like that,
every time I drop a gear and start

climbing, my temperature gauge
just goes straight up.

Lads, I hate to do this to you,
but I have to pull over.

Oh, you are kidding me?


Well, we can't stay here.

We can't stay here,
in the middle of nowhere.

When I was changing the tyre before,
there's an old tow rope in the back.


The indignity.

You all right, you're all right.

I'm not I'm being towed by
Paddy McGuinness.

Right, let's give it a whirl.

You ready?

All right, mate, nice and easy.

Go on.

We're off.

I'm just in a MK2 Escort
in Ethiopia towing a Porsche Boxer.

Other side of the road, Paddy.

Other side of the road, Paddy!

Paddy, other side of the road.

That's a very good point, Fred.

I get confused. In the heat.

Never mind any of that,
I never thought I'd see the day

that a Porsche gets towed
off a little old Escort.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

That's a bit rich from a man
they didn't know what side

of the road to drive on.

Like, seriously, have you travelled
anywhere around the word

apart from Benidorm?

And technically that is England.

I was distracted by your
massive big pasty legs.

Too much white flesh on show.

It was like towing
a Christmas turkey.

Anyway, we'll get back to Ethiopia,
and you two clowns.

But first let's talk about fast
Ferraris. Have a look at these.

The greatest hits.

360 Challenge Stradale,
430 Scuderia, 458 Speciale.

Yep, for track focused supercars,
Ferrari was always the place to go.

And from the look of its latest
efforts, it still is.

Flintoff, you are an arse.

Brilliant, brilliant,
brilliant Chris.

It's called the Pista.

And it costs £250,000.

Based on a Ferraris 488
supercar, it has a 3.9 litre twin

turbo-charged V-8 engine.

Only, where the 488 may do
with 660 horsepower,

this one has over 700.

This is the most powerful
V-8 Ferrari ever made.

It'll do nought to 60
in around 3 seconds.

But then so does every other
grown-up supercar these days.

What really matters here
is that from a standing start,

after 10 seconds it's doing 140mph.

10 seconds.

Crikey, that's fast.

And the 488's comprehensive
rewrite doesn't stop at the engine.

A quarter of a million pounds also
buys you F1 grade aerodynamics

and an exhaust made of inconel,
which is the same stuff they use

in rocket engines.

Inside, meanwhile, every inch
of the interior has been pared back

to save 90 kilos in weight.

All of which makes the Pista
about nine tenths

of a racing car for the road.

Which comes with its downsides.

But if you're going to go
pared back and minimal,

at least make sure it's pleasant.

I mean, this seat here,
it's as bony as an old donkey.

And what's left of the dash,
well, it's 10 years old.

It's from a Ferrari 458.

And then there's this thing
down here, it's a carbon fibre sort

of spur with buttons on it.

It looks like a medieval sex toy.

Beaneath the threadbare surface,

lurks a lot of very clever
electronic assistance.

But not the boring stuff
that boings to warn you that

you're wandering out
of your motorway lane,

or that there's a scooter in your
blind spot - oh, no.

The Pista's computers concern

themselves with something far more

Drifts on demand.

Ferrari calls it side
slip angle control 6.

Basically, will tickle a brake
alongside electronic differential,

to keep you in line.

Or rather, out of line.

It's genius.

Sliding a 700 horsepower
Ferrari shouldn't be this easy.

But the Pista makes it child's

There's no question
that with the Pista,

Ferrari has done it again.

What you're looking
at is the new benchmark

for the track focus supercar.

But there is a problem
with being the best,

it does put a target on your back.

And this is the Pista's newest

The McLaren 600 LT.

This is the latest car to get
McLaren's longtail treatment.

It gets a twin turbo-charged 3.7
litre V-8, and like the Pista,

its main focus is the track.

But with over hundred horsepower
less than the Ferrari,

and starting at £65,000 cheaper,

it shouldn't really be a rival,
at all.

Here's the thing, though,
a couple of years ago McLaren gave

us the 720S that was supposed
to be a rival for the Ferrari 488.

But in reality, it was so much
more advanced and so much faster

than the Ferrari, it might as well
have come from another planet.

And now there's this 600 LT.

Which might be £65,000
cheaper than the Pista,

but I'm not sure it's £65,000
less car.

I reckon this could be very close.

That's 60...

Oh he's gone, he's gone.
Look at him go!

What, come on!

What are we doing, 130,
140, he's pulling away!

Ah, 65 grand does buy you a bit
more straight line performance.

180 over the line.

OK, it's quicker but
it's not night and day.

It's not night and day.

And it's not like McLaren
has been any less committed

to the details.

The Longtail is nearly a 100 kilos
lighter than the 570S

on which its based.

The windscreen is 2mm
thinner, saving 1,500 g.

They've even reworked the exhaust,
to exit straight out the top

for less piping and more flame.

McLaren has gone to town
on this car, bigger carbon

ceramic brakes.

New springs, new dampers,
revised anti-roll bars.

And for me, McLaren is still
the master of the supercar cabin.

I get a great view
straight down on the road,

I can see the top
of the wings there.

It means it's light, airy,
it's not intimidating.

By supercar standards,
it's pretty good value.

Looks like someone wants to play.

Now, we know he's got
more straight-line speed than me,

but I'm not convinced
he's more agile.

Look at that, the Ferrari's
just a great big 700

horsepower drift machine!

The McLaren's different,
it's an accurate car,

this wants to carve up corners.

The whole thing, to me,
feels better connected.

The Ferrari's got the speed,

but I'm getting more entertained

Special car, you don't come
across these very often.

Hasta la vista, baby!

The truth is, there
are no losers here.

Forget the million pound

for sheer driver experience

this is the best McLaren
you can buy right now,

and that is the best Ferrari.

So, which would I have?

Well, the McLaren.

Yeah, it's cheaper than the Ferrari
and it's not as fast,

but this is a proper,
pure driver's car.

And it's the one that I feel
most connected to.

That one there, that is the one.

That is the one.

So, 600LT, LT as we know, stands

for Longtail, explain.

OK, it references McLaren's F1
race cars from Le Mans in the '90s.

They grafted a load of body work
onto the back to make them longer,

to go faster, hence Longtail.

Look, it's a brilliant car, OK?

I know that's 250 grand,
but that's 185,

it's an absolute bargain.

Oh, 185 grand, yeah, it
for nothing that, isn't it?

You're like the Martin Lewis
of cars, aren't you?

Come on.

What we all want to know
is which is the fastest?

So earlier today, we sent The Stig
out on the track to find out.

What'd you reckon, Chris?

I reckon the Ferrari's the fastest,
it's got more power,

more grip, it's a really,
really fast car.

But that's not what it's all about,
but show us the lap times,

come on.

Right, we'll start with
the McLaren, 600 LT.

I can tell you it went around
the track and the 1 minute 15.1.

Yes! Which...

Did you expect higher?
What is up with them?

That's a great result,
great result for Woking.

For Woking?

Well, next up you've got
the Ferrari 488 Pista.

How far are we going
to be going up, Chris?

Oh, we're right up the top here,
in the clouds where I can't reach.

That's where you're doing it, Fred.
You reckon? Yeah.

Well, I can tell you that

the Ferrari went around in
1 minute 12... No way!

.7, which makes it our fastest
ever car,

beating the Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

.7 of a second, that's
an absolute mauling,

that is the new weapon on the block.

All the people who've just rushed
out buying a McLaren

on your advice, are going to feel
very, very silly now.

You're the car
expert here, Chris.

You not here for the eye candy.
It's not all about speed...


That's the discerning choice,
that's a peacock car that's

more of your Paddy McGuinness,
this is more me.

The thinking man's supercar.

You got a link to do.

The thinking man, he says.

The thinking man.


Right, time to get back to our first
cars in Ethiopia where

you'll remember some genius...

..bought a Porsche Boxster
for less than four grand

which unsurprisingly
had broken down.

He was having a rest, Chris.

We pick up the journey the next
morning still heading east

towards the birthplace of humankind.

He was right the first time.

What in the name of God's green
Earth have you done to that Porsche?

I've addressed the issue
of overheating.

It's a bit different,
but they are doing a great job.

That is now a great-looking vehicle,
I reckon you could sell that kit to

people who have bought a Boxter.

So day one in Ethiopia had asked
a few questions of our cars,

but we'd crossed the Semien Mountains
and were now well on our way

to the Afar Triangle.

And let's remember that so far only
one of our cars was yet to give us

any kind of trouble.

Well, the Mini continues to demonstrate
its core brilliance, really.

We're out a bit lower,
so a little bit more power,

chassis feels good.

Oh, it's joyous.

Lads, it's genuinely weird
driving a car I've not driven

for two and a half decades.

Because the muscle
memory is still there,

the thing feels totally familiar,
all the controls exactly

where I remember them.

Honestly, I could drive this thing
with my eyes closed.

Now, there was no way
we were going to let that slide.

And in the time it took to look
up local Ethiopian airstrip

on the Internet, Freddie
had come up with a plan.

You are going to love this.

This is how it works,
you start down there, get up to 40

mile an hour, cruise down the runway
and get as close to the cone

as you possibly can.
Straightforward enough.

Oh, no, Paddy, we're going
to be doing this blindfolded.

Blindfolded? Yeah.

You said that you could
drive your Mini, you're at one

with it, with your eyes shut.

Here's your time
to shine a young man.

Well, you know,
it was a phrase I used. It was.

So how do you know
you're doing 40mph?

Glad you asked.

I've got an app for that.
This will beep.

Confident? No.

No, not really, cos
I've just put a new tyre on.

And I've not had the tracking done,
the balancing might be off.

There's just one other thing, lads.

Feels good.
Whoever loses, wears the jumper.

Go on, then.

Oh, it's wet.

With the next stint
and the chunky knit at stake,

it was game on.

And McGuinness was up first.

Now, you can't see owt, can you?

Come on.

Click me in, son.

What is... Oh, it's you!

It's me.

I felt something wet,
I'm like, "What's that?!"

All right, Paddy,
in your own time, mate.

It's like Bird Box. Get out!
You pulled it up.

It's got to be getting to 40, that.

Oh, Jesus!

What in the name
of God's green Earth?!

Oh, I don't know where I am.

He's lifted his blindfold up,
he's way too close.

He's way too close.

Oh, come on, Paddy,
I'm not having that.

I've got to be near, now.

Oh, I'm just going to take a risk,
I'm going to take a risk.

I'm going to take a risk there.

No, no, no! No chance.

He's basically by the cone!

Oh, my God!

Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

Oh, my God!

Ohhhh! Yeah!

Hey, look at that!

Can you see it?

Get in!

Do you think he sounds pleased?
I think he's happy with himself.


Boys, I took a gamble,
I'm not going to lie, lads.

But you're not going
to get nearer than that.

I'm literally about one, two, three
away from the cone.

Absolutely nailed it, boys.

One thing I learned... Can't reach,
can you? I'll come down. Nice one.

Nice one. One thing I learned about
these kind of activities,

if you take your blindfold off,

you can get quite close.
It does help.

Oh, I see! Something happened there,
Paddy, come on.

Oh, I see. We've watched you
literally driving at it...

All right, all right.
..slow down and then go again!

Listen, your go next.

Here, get that wrapped round
your face.

What a winner!

No jumper for McGuinness. Get in!


So Paddy had laid down the gauntlet

and the pressure was now
all on Harris and his Mini.

You said you could drive this car
with your eyes shut.

Now's your chance, come on.

Go, go, go!

Where's he going?

Oh, this is horrible.

Oh, he's on the grass!

Oh, yes, oh, lovely.

Go on, keep going, keep going.
Keep going. He's passed it.

I'm stopping there.


Literally nowhere near.

Not too bad.

Not great either.

Which meant the door
had been left wide open

for me and the Boxster.

Best of luck to you.

Off you go.

There he goes.

This is horrible.

He's gone wrong immediately!

Come on, nice and straight.

Into third gear.

One, two...

Wow, that's massive to the right.

He's going to hit that
at some speed.

Oh, I'm on the grass!

Where's he going? He's going...

Nine, 10, 11...

I'm on the runway again, 12.

Oh, now, this is worrying.

What'd I do there, I'd stop
if I were him. I'd stop just there.

15. See, I don't know why
I'm counting,

I've not got a clue where I am.

Ooh, he's close.

Maybe a little bit more?
Oh, I don't know!

Be closer than Harris.


Get in, Harris.

Oh, oh...

Someone's wearing the jumper.

Someone's wearing the jumper.

You're going to be hot, Chris.

You're going to be
very, very hot, Christopher.

I'm not going to lie, boys,
it's good to be back in front.

Well done, Paddy.

Thanks, Fred.

I've got to say, those fans look
good on the front of the car, pal.

I'm really pleased with them, Paddy.

I think it adds something
to the car.

Looks better.

How's that jumper, Chris, at the
back? Is it as warm as I remember?

Oh, Fred, I think
you were so good in that one,

oh, I think the Boxster's wonderful.

Oh, Paddy,
I think you were so magnificent

the way that you cheated
in that last competition.

Oh, dear.

And to think, with the day
still warming up,

the chunky knit
was only getting hotter.

It smells like
a marathon runner's ballbag.

By midday, the mini in the Mini
had had enough.

Lads, any chance we can stop
and get a drink, please?


These lads are good, aren't they?

You play a bit of this?

I've dabbled a bit.

Back in the day at the youth club.

Do you want a game?
What are you doing?

What are you doing?
Come on, do us proud.

Let me... I'm going to... I'm just
going to nip for a wee first.

I'm just going to nip for a wee.

I've just teed you up with a game.
Come on!

Quick wee and I'll be back.
I'm not playing with him.

Right, boys, I'm back.
Oh, my word.

Step aside, sunshine.

Oh, wow.

I've got full 17-year-old
driving test attire on.

What are you doing?

Don't be intimidated, boys.

First to ten. Let's go.

Hit it, Paddy!
I just did, you clown.

Do something in midfield.

You can't dress like this
and be this bad.

Look at this. This is silky now.

Oh, the pressure!

Ohhhh! Teamwork!

Yeah, nine-all!

9-9, this is it!


Go on, Fred! Go on, Fred!

It's like Italia '90.

Thanks very much, thank you.
Cheers, Bob.

Oh, boys, I've got to tell you,
I feel alive.

It brings it all back to me, this.

Late '80s, early '90s,
got the blue shorts back on,

got my Juventus top back on,
driving my MK2 Escort.

Everything about this car
is fantastic.

Ford really did break the mould
with the MK2.

In fact, there's only one thing
they got wrong with it.

It would be the name they gave it
when they developed it.

I mean, the Ford Mustang, codename
for that was Project Falcon.

Sounds good.

The GT - Project Phoenix.


The Ford Escort MK2,
Project Brenda.


Whatever her name was, though,
the Escort was in for a treat.

Oh, what a road!

Oh, my word!

Come on, Paddy. Open her up.

Get a wriggle on, boy.

Whoohoo! This is a lot of fun.

Oh, fully airborne in the Mini!

Tell you what, this is what the Boxster
was designed for, perfect tarmac.

Whoa! And there's goats! Be careful!

Don't get them on the Col de Turini.


Life's good, life is very good.

Man alive!

What a day it's been.

I rather like Ethiopia.

I love this place.

It just gets better
and better and better,

the more you travel through it.

It has a sense of calm about it
that I've not experienced before.

Maybe that's because
it is the most ancient place

where human beings
have lived on the planet,

I don't know,
but there's a calmness to it.

The landscape is utterly stunning.

It's joyous.

I just had a thought in my head
that I find it very difficult

to associate
what we've seen of this country

with that appalling famine
30 years ago.

I just can't believe it happened,

because it doesn't feel like the
kind of place where it has happened.

Go on, lads!

I don't know what I expected
when I came here,

but I didn't expect this.

Today, the Boxster
has done me proud.

I'd even go so far as to say
this has been my best day

in a Porsche Boxster ever.

Thank you, Ethiopia.

Thank you.

But Ethiopia
wasn't finished with us yet.

The next morning, we were closing in

on the vast desert
of the Afar Triangle.

Our destination was within reach
but the terrain was getting tougher.

Look at that!

What's happened to the road?

Even the safety wall's
given up there.


Big ones here, lads, big ones.

As we kept winding downhill, though,

the air was getting thicker

and, frankly,
the risk of being wiped out by

a landslide was nothing...

..compared to the relentless heat.

Oh, even with this wind here,
even the wind is hot.

Boys, I've just had a bit of a...

I got very, very hot,
very quickly then.

I'm about to chunder.

Have you got anything
with sugar in it?

Sounds a bit disconcerting.

Is that jumper
getting to you, Chris?

Oh... You all right?

I wasn't all right. And with the
mercury rising towards 40 degrees,

a little further down the road,
it soon became clear

that things were only
going to get worse.

Boys, boys, stop, stop, stop.

Road's run out.



It's baking!

What have you got, Paddy?


"You have reached the edge
of the Afar Triangle,

"birthplace of humankind.

"It's now time to find out
how good your first cars really are

"by crossing the Danakil Depression
to the sulphur pools at Dallol,

"the hottest and most
inhospitable place on Earth."

So it's going to get hotter?

It's going to get hotter?
It's going to get hotter.

"Good luck.
You and your cars will need it."

Um, I don't feel well.

I feel badly dehydrated.

I've definitely got heatstroke now.

Oh, and they've gone without me.


Right, let's get a move on.

Lads, I've got to get
a bit of a move on here.

Do you want to open it up a bit,
get some air in the car?


This is more like it.

Oh! Oh, maybe not.

You dickhead!

You absolute whopper!

If I was you,
I'd get back in your car.

You braked!
Because there was a big lump.

You braked!
You saw I was right behind you.

How, in the Afar Triangle,

you can't see anything for miles,

do you crash a Mini
into a Porsche Boxster?

Never mind the start of life,
I'm going to wipe one out.

Whoa, Chris, stop the car!

The heat was starting
to get to all of us.

Absolute bellends.

And since driving fast to keep us
cool hadn't worked...

40 degrees!

..I resorted to Plan B.

Lads, lads, I'm going to try
and get this roof off.

Oh, God, that's...
That's just warm water.

Just poured warm water
all over myself.

Now we were properly
up and running...

Oh, I'm happy.

I can feel the air.

Tiger, the Boxster Tiger.

But then, immediately,
the desert had other ideas.

This is hard, hard going.

And before long...

Are you all right, Harris?

..we'd stopped again.

Right, what's up?

The engine, and the clutch.

It won't start and it won't idle.

The suspension's completely rooted.
It's smashed to bits.

All right. You've pointed it
all out. What can we do to help?

Let's not think of problems,

let's think of solutions.
What can we do?

I tell you what will fix the car

is if the driver
can take off the jumper.

No. No, no, no. No, no, no, Chris.

That's not happening.

And, do you know what,
you're letting yourself down

by even thinking that way.

Don't take it off!

And then, when we get to
the end of the Afar Triangle,

wherever that is, you can
take it off then

and you'll feel good about yourself,
you've achieved something.

Look yourself in the mirror tonight,
if you get a step.

You'll be all right.

Now get in the Mini.
Come on, son.

Let's get out there. Chris, Chris!

And, as well, this...
We've let this one slide.

You've got the sleeves up.
He didn't.

Better. Better. This is better.

This is better now.

You feel better, don't you?

You feel better.

Get yourself in, go on.
Get yourself in.

Good lad. Go on, Harris.

To glory!

But, unfortunately,

glory was on the other side of this.

The vast salt plains
of the Danakil desert.

Mile after mile
of car-killing punishment.

Jesus wept!

Oh, no, no, no, no.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Oh, listen to it, listen to it!

I am literally
praying for this to end.

It just goes on and on and on.


There's something going on now.

I think the fan's come off.

Oh, my word. I'm not even steering.

Chris, can you see what's happening
on my car at the front?

It's making some weird noises.
Is that the fan?

Fred, I'm afraid I've got
my own problems at the moment.

We've got to keep moving!

Oh, come on, Escort.

I've got to tell you, though...

..this little 1600 rear-wheel drive
monster of a car

is handling it!

I wouldn't say no problem,
but it's doing the do.

I think it's getting better.

Come on, little Mini. Come on.

It's flattening out, lads.

It's flattening out.

Come on.

Keep trucking, Boxster.

And then...

We're out the rough, boys!
We're out the rough!

Keep going, Chris! Keep going!

Oh, yes! Yes!

Now we're rolling.

She's singing!

What a wicked little car.

Oh, here he comes.
Here comes the Boxster!

Oh, here he comes!

Good to have you back, Chris.

Against the odds, we'd all made it.

The finish line.

Lead us in, son.

Come on, boys!


We made it, boys!

Who'd have thought?

Chris Harris...

You did it, Harris!

Come here, you.

You little superstar.

Eh? Never thought you were
getting through. But...

Come on. We did it, boys!
We did it!

We did it! We did it!

This was it,
the heart of the Danakil.

Bought for just a few thousand

our first cars had journeyed to
the cradle of humankind

and then withstood one of the most
hostile environments on Earth.

But more than that,
through trials and triumphs,

they'd taken us back to
that first thrill of driving.

That wonder of the open road,

and where it might take you.

Oh, my word.

Can I take the jumper off now?

No. No.

First off, Ethiopia, what a place!

Truly, truly beautiful.

Stunning scenery, spoiled only

by bits of
Freddie's Porsche everywhere.

Anyhow, gents, we have to decide
which of us bought the best car, OK?

Yeah, true, that's true.
I can't believe I'm saying this,

but we have to agree that
one of these cars was standout,

better than the others, wasn't it,
and it was that flipping Escort?

I don't want to say it, Chris,
but I have to give it to him.

Yes! Thank you. It was so good.

And I pulled, everyone.

I pulled a Porsche!

Can you believe it?

I pulled a Porsche. Credit where
it's due, credit where it's due.

Genuinely, it is a great car.

It's the greatest car of the three

and if you can remember which side
of the road to drive on,

you might, one day, you might make
a decent Top Gear host.

Just one thing before we go,

Paddy never got the chance in
Ethiopia to wear the chunky knit.

So... Thank you. No, no.
So I've got...

No. I can smell it!
..the stinky chunky jumper. No, no.

No, no!

Right! That's all
we've got time for tonight.

We're back next week
with an electric car collection

and our guests will be
Danny Boyle and Himesh Patel.

Thanks for watching, goodnight!