Top Gear (series 5)

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Top Gear (series 5)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 9
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 24 October 2004 (2004-10-24) – 26 December 2004 (2004-12-26)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The fifth series of Top Gear began in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2004 and concluded on 26 December 2004. The series contained 9 episodes. The series was subsequently followed by one "Best Of Top Gear" special, which aired 2 January 2005, charting the best moments from Series 4 and 5.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
40 1 Series 5, Episode 1 Porsche 911 Carrera S Can an ice cream van jump a bouncy castle? Best Muscle Car on sale (Vauxhall Monaro VX-RChrysler 300CJaguar S-Type R) Bill Bailey 24 October 2004 (2004-10-24) 3.35

Review: Clarkson reviews the Porsche 997 Carrera S. He declares that it is the laziest design job ever, which he proved when he accidentally drove the old one because of its similarities. However, he also says that this is a car for keen drivers; a 911 from the old school. The Stig sets a power lap time 1:28.9, on an extremely wet track.

Restoration Rip-Off: May introduces James Dean's Lotus Ten, one of only seven made.

News: Top Gear is up for a National Television Award. They show the new Ferrari F430. Clarkson has to eat his hair because of a bet he made that the new Vauxhall Astra would not look like the concept. Chef Antony Worrall Thompson begins fixing a hair omelette for Clarkson, which he eats at the end of the show.

Star in a reasonably priced car: Bill Bailey talks about being a communist, owning a 2CV, and his fondness for wrecking hire cars. He sets a time of 1:53.4 in the Liana, on a wet track.

Challenge: An old ice cream van attempts to jump over four bouncy castles. The van manages to clear none of the castles.

Review: May reviews the Vauxhall Monaro VXR, and Clarkson reviews the Chrysler 300C. On face value, the two colonial cars are excellent, so they are met at Pendine Sands with Hammond's Jaguar S-Type R to decide which is the most fun to drive. The Chrysler is panned for money-saving features like poor brakes and a soggy suspension, coming very close to a successful sports saloon but failing. Clarkson and May agree that the Monaro is the best of the three, though Hammond still prefers the Jag.
41 2 Series 5, Episode 2 Ford FocusVauxhall AstraVolkswagen GolfJaguar XJ220Pagani ZondaEnzo FerrariFerrari F40McLaren F1Porsche Carrera GT Mountainboarder versus a rally car Geri Halliwell 31 October 2004 (2004-10-31) 3.81

Review: Hammond looks at the Ford Focus, comparing it to the Vauxhall Astra, and the VW Golf. He decides that the Focus is still the best of the three, apart from the bland new styling.

News: May goes on a rant about Bill Bryson. Ferrari gives the Pope an F1 Car. They discuss the new BMW 3 Series.

Restoration Rip-Off: May introduces the Adams Probe 16 from A Clockwork Orange, one of only three made.

Review: Clarkson reviews the Enzo Ferrari. He declares the Enzo to be a masterpiece. He muses that supercars today may be approaching engineering perfection, but the cars from fifteen years ago are more fun to drive. The Stig sets a lap time of 1:19.0.

Star in a reasonably priced car: Geri Halliwell talks about all the cars she has wrecked. She goes around the track, in the wet, in 1:55.4.

Challenge: A world champion all-terrain skateboarder is pitted against a Group N Mitsubishi rally car. The car loses soundly. They then switch out the rally car with a Bowler Wildcat, and the Wildcat wins by a considerable margin. The cars are driven by "professional racing driver Ben Collins" who was also acting as The Stig at the time.

Cool Wall: The Vauxhall Monaro is declared to be Cool despite the fact that neither Clarkson nor Hammond could find anything cool that is Australian. The Porsche 997 is Uncool due to the fact that its for the sort of chap who wants his children to be Bullied. The Mercedes-Benz SLK is Seriously Uncool as Wayne Rooney has bought one for Coleen Rooney. The Enzo Ferrari is Seriously Uncool as not too many Cool People could afford one.

Review: Clarkson compares two trios of supercars: three older supercars, the Jaguar XJ220, the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari F40, and three newer supercars, the Pagani Zonda, the Porsche Carrera GT and the Enzo Ferrari, coming to the conclusion that the simplicity of some of the older cars makes them more fun, even if they are slower around a track. Clarkson is very critical of the attitude of current supercar makers, claiming that they "held back" with cars like the Porsche Carrera GT, but is also critical of the McLaren F1, saying that driving it resembled trying to ride a nuclear missile á la Dr. Strangelove.
42 3 Series 5, Episode 3 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Drive a Land Rover Discovery to the top of Cnoc an Fhreiceadain in Scotland • Find the craziest car in the world • Top Gear survey 2004 results Joanna Lumley 7 November 2004 (2004-11-07) 4.41

Main review: Dodge Viper SRT10. Jeremy can only briefly knock the barn-door engineering because he loves it. Sets a time of 1:28.5 in the wet.

News: The £140,000 Bugatti Veyron wristwatch, which Clarkson claims needs a butler to put on.

Challenge: Clarkson tries to drive a Land Rover Discovery up a mountain in Scotland. The summit he finally reaches is that of Cnoc an Fhreiceadain (Watch Hill), above Coldbackie, and not Ben Tongue as widely reported at the time.

Maddest Car: Hammond finds the world's maddest car, in Switzerland. It's the Rinspeed Splash, which becomes a hydrofoil boat.

Restoration Rip-Off: Keith Moon's 1938 Chrysler Wimbledon, which was originally a British staff car during World War II, but later driven into a duck pond.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Joanna Lumley talks to Jeremy about how poor British Leyland were with car consistency in The New Avengers and how she once stalked a car. Lap of 1:51.5
43 4 Series 5, Episode 4 Pagani Zonda S RoadsterAston Martin Vanquish SFerrari 575M Maranello 24 hours in a Smart ForFour • Playing conkers with caravans. Jimmy CarrSteve Coogan 14 November 2004 (2004-11-14) 4.44

Main review: Pagani Zonda S Roadster, which Clarkson says Hammond fell in love with and that girls who came there showing their bare midriffs there were wasting their time

Challenge: Hammond and May spend 24 hours in a Smart Forfour to see if the brochure claim 'designed like a lounge' makes the experience tolerable. They find it handles well, it's styled nicely, and it turns heads well enough to get people to buy them food, but it's simply too expensive for what it is.

Restoration Rip-Off: 1978 Range Rover previously owned by Princess Diana. The Range Rover had just 58,000 kilometres but the engine needed complete repair.

Skit: Hammond and May attempt to play conkers with 6 caravans, appearing to take great skill in their choice of caravans for the game. Hammond ends up as the winner of the game.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jimmy Carr thinks motorways should be Autobahn at night and talks about owning a Rover 75. The Stig described him as "the worst driver we've ever had and the luckiest man alive", but Carr beats Simon Cowell to the top of board with 1:46.9.

Review: The Aston Martin Vanquish S, which Clarkson tests in a race against Steve Coogan in a Ferrari 575M GTC. The Vanquish has been improved greatly, but it is still no match for the Ferrari on the track. However, as an all-rounder, with looks and comfort taken into consideration, Clarkson and Coogan would rather have the underdog Aston than the big-headed Ferrari.
44 5 Series 5, Episode 5 Morgan Aero 8 GTNMercedes-Benz 300SL People carrier racing • Break 10:00 around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a diesel car Christian Slater 21 November 2004 (2004-11-21) 4.69

Main review: Morgan Aero 8 GTN. Jeremy and James constantly mock it because of its aesthetics. Lap time: 1:25.9, although it did cross the line sideways.

News: Hammond finally gets a Dodge Charger, more precisely, a 1969 model.

Restoration Rip-Off: The Fender Stratocaster guitar and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing both celebrate their 50th birthdays this year, so as a result, instead of talking about a restored car, May talks about the reasons why the Gullwing is the first supercar, with songs performed with the Stratocaster playing in the background including Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Sultans of Swing, China Girl, Layla, Get It On, and Wind Of Change (the single song in the set that is from Germany, as is the SL300 Gullwing).

Star in a reasonably priced car: Actor Christian Slater talks about being in a real police chase and driving a Hybrid, he takes the Liana around with a lap time of 1:51.4.

Down to Earth Board: The presenters show the excellent characteristics of the Subaru Legacy.

Challenge: Hammond starts a people carrier race series, with the inaugural race featuring two Renault Espaces, a Toyota Previa, a Toyota Spacecruiser, a Mitsubishi Space Wagon, and a Nissan Serena. Hammond in the Espace wins the race easily, because of his more powerful engine.

Challenge: After much practice, Clarkson took a diesel Jaguar S-Type around the Nürburgring at 9:59, just under ten minutes. His instructor, Sabine Schmitz, exclaimed "I could do that in a van". She then took the Jaguar out and recorded a lap time much quicker on her first try, at 9:12.
45 6 Series 5, Episode 6 Volkswagen Golf V GTI How much Porsche can you get for £1500? Porsche 924, Porsche 944, Porsche 928 • Blind man doing a power lap Cliff RichardBilly Baxter 5 December 2004 (2004-12-05) 4.87

Main review: Volkswagen Golf V GTI. Clarkson compares it to the previous hot versions and especially to the fabled Mark I, claiming that the Mark V is a return to "the true spirit of the GTI." Though it is down on power compared to the Honda Civic Type R and many other hot hatches, Jeremy finds it as the best because it's "all things to all men."

They also set it up against its main rivals:
Honda Civic Type R 1:32.8
SEAT León Cupra 1:32.9
Volkswagen Golf GTi 1:33.7
Renault Mégane 225 1:34.0
Mini Cooper S 1:34.2
Citroën C4 VTS 1:35.8

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Cliff Richard gives an excited Stig a track (aptly named "What Car") off his new album and tells what it's like having poorly functioning monogrammed gates. Achieved a time of 1:50.

Restoration Rip-Off: A racing Mini Cooper previously owned by Paddy Hopkirk. This car is the last contestant to be introduced.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car Take 2: Army veteran and blind land speed record holder Billy Baxter. Clarkson orally guided him around the track and he came in at 2:02, faster than Terry Wogan and Richard Whiteley who both have sight. His name on the board is written as "Blind Man".

Challenge: How much Porsche can you get for £1500? The presenters each have to buy a Porsche for less than £1500 and put it through a series of tests. Hammond buys a Volkswagen van-engined 924, May buys a 2.5 litre 4-cylinder 944, and Clarkson buys a broken-down 928. Clarkson wins in the end by selling his car as spare parts and as "furniture", although the better car, it seems, was Hammond's 924, although he came last as he couldn't sell his car to anybody, as he personalised it, losing him 1,500 points in the process.
46 7 Series 5, Episode 7 Toyota PriusFord MustangMitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ400 vs a Lamborghini • Top Gear Awards 2004 A four-door Evo goes head-to-head with a Lamborghini. Top Gear Awards 2004 Roger Daltrey 12 December 2004 (2004-12-12) 3.39

Main review: The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ400 takes on the Lamborghini Murciélago. The Evo was driven by Clarkson whilst the Lambo was driven by James Kaye, the British touring car champion. It was shown that the Lambo could not shake off the Evo after several laps. It came down to the final lap where the Lambo spun out. Afterwards, the Stig posted a time of 1.24.8 for the Evo. Clarkson, however, prefers the old Evo FQ340 because the more powerful FQ400 has a bone-shattering ride, a hopeless clutch, ridiculously poor fuel economy, a tendency to fall apart at high speed and massive turbo lag.

Challenge: The long age answer of 'which boxster is the best' is answered. The Porsche Boxster or the Mercedes-Benz SLK 350? In the end, the Boxster won by a large margin.

Restoration Rip-Off: James May in a quick summary reports about the Restoration Rip-Off Project.

Star in a reasonably priced car: Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who tells about famous myths about the Who, especially if Keith Moon drove a car into a swimming pool, Daltrey's was the fastest mildly moist lap ever of 1:49.7.

Review: Clarkson reviews the Toyota Prius, and Hammond takes the Ford Mustang on a "road trip" of the A15.

Cool Wall: The new Ford Mustang is Cool (Borderline Sub-Zero) despite not being a very good car because its a "Mustang". The Jaguar S-Type diesel is Uncool as it is a diesel and this marks you out as a cheap scape and therefore unattractive to women. The Smart Forfour is Seriously Uncool because a women's mother in the audience liked it. Clarkson and Hammond argue over the Morgan Aero 8 GTN as Clarkson points out that its cross-eyed, it eventually goes into Uncool. The Toyota Prius is cool because women who care for the environment like it, however they might prefer a ride in the Ford Mustang with Clint Thrust.

Top Gear Awards 2004
47 8 Series 5, Episode 8 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Epic race: Ferrari 612 Scaglietti vs Jet Plane to Verbier • Showroom cars vs old race cars • Mitsubishi Evo vs bobsleigh • Stig attempts a sub-1:00 power lap of the test track in a Renault F1 car Eddie Izzard 19 December 2004 (2004-12-19) 5.06

Challenge: Are today's showroom cars faster than race cars from "not that long ago"? Three pairs made up of one classic racer and one showroom car race against the clock in the Stig's hands:

Challenge: Can a Formula 1 car (specifically Fernando Alonso's Renault R24) get around the track in under a minute? Alonso wasn't on hand to drive, so the Top Gear team gave it to The Stig to drive. He drove it around the track in exactly 59 seconds.

Challenge: Can a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Rally car beat a bobsleigh? May was in the car, driven by rally expert Henning Solberg, with Hammond and a professional team in the bobsled. The bobsled won with 59.68 seconds whilst the Evo came in under 1.02.24.

Restoration Rip-Off: Phone voters elect Paddy Hopkirk's Mini Cooper as the winner of the Restoration Rip-Off Project. Money for the restoration was raised by the phone calls from voters.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Comedian Eddie Izzard, tells how he could fly a Spitfire and suggests that satellite navigation should swear at drivers to get their attention. Lap of 1:52.

Main Challenge: Hammond and May, using a plane, raced Clarkson who drove a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti from London to Verbier in Switzerland. It looked good for Hammond and May when they arrived at Geneva miles ahead of Jeremy who was still in France. Clarkson had to stop a few times because his car developed a buzzing noise and he was stopped by the police. Despite this, he made up time while the others were waiting for trains and buses. Clarkson won again but only by minutes — he overtook the others on the road just a few hundred yards away from the finish line.
48 9 Series 5, Episode 9 Ariel AtomBMW 1 SeriesMercedes-Benz G55 AMG Find a 'pearl' among a collection of cars from the Pacific Rim Trinny WoodallSusannah Constantine 26 December 2004 (2004-12-26) 3.30

Main review: Ariel Atom, from a company in Somerset. Clarkson describes it as being not only the next best thing to a superbike, for overweight middle aged men who would look ridiculous on two wheels and inevitably end up as organ donors - but actually better. He praises the "exoskeleton" design, plus the speed and handling, demonstrating both by racing and beating a 600cc motorcycle around the test track. He also points out that it is more thrilling than a superbike despite being safer - as it is legally a car and has a full roll cage and seatbelts, you don't even need to wear leathers or a crash helmet, the latter famously leading to the car "destroying his whole face" with wind power and G-forces. The Stig takes it around the track in 1:19.5, well into Supercar territory.

Review: Hammond tests the Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG. It is not as good offroad as its competitors, but in the urban scene it looks fantastic and has a more civilised demeanor. A supercharged V8 produces 476 bhp (355 kW), good for immense straight-line speed. Hammond calls it "the coolest car in the world".

Review: May tests the new BMW 1-series, and is pleased with the rear-drive but finds it too expensive, slow, and poorly made to buy.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Trinny Woodall (1:54.1) who explains the importance of shoes to an outfit and Susannah Constantine (in 1:55.6) who shows how dressing is important to cars. Both in the wet. They fail to understand the importance of a good car to complement a good look.

Comparison: May and Clarkson go out to review a collection of cars from the Pacific Rim: Cars from Malaysia and Korea. Among these are the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent, in a 3-cylinder diesel version. They conclude that none of them are worth buying, due to being "built like white goods." This is followed by a demonstration of a custom vehicle constructed from used home appliances.

Best-of episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Featured cars Guest Original air date
SP The Best Of Top Gear 2004 #2 Sir Ranulph Fiennes & Joanna Lumley 2 January 2005 (2005-01-02)

Review: Porsche Carrera GT (From Series 4, Episode 4)

Challenge: The Minicabbing Challenge (From Series 4, Episode 7)

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Sir Ranulph Fiennes (From Series 4, Episode 9)

Challenge: Parachute Into A Moving Car (From Series 4, Episode 9)

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Joanna Lumley (From Series 5, Episode 3)

Feature: Vauxhall Monaro, Chrysler 300C, and Jaguar S-Type R on the Pendine Sands (From Series 5, Episode 1)

References[edit]