Top Gear (series 7)

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Top Gear (series 7)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 13 November 2005 (2005-11-13) – 12 February 2006 (2006-02-12)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The seventh series of Top Gear began on 13 November 2005, and concluded on 27 December 2005. The series contained seven episodes, one of which being the Winter Olympics special. The series was subsequently followed by five "Best Of Top Gear" specials, charting the best moments from past series of the show, including Supercars, Special Guests, British Motoring and The Challenges.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
60 1 Series 7, Episode 1 Ascari KZ1 Shootout: Performance sports coupes (Aston Martin V8 VantageBMW M6Porsche 911 Carrera S) on the Isle of Man • Top Gear survey 2005 results Trevor Eve 13 November 2005 (2005-11-13) 3.74

Review: Richard Hammond addresses the fictitious complaints of viewers that want a mid-level supercar in the £235,000 bracket. The answer: the Ascari KZ1, a British supercar (although designed by a Dutchman with an engine from the BMW M5). The Stig then takes the car to a 1:20.7, below the Porsche Carrera GT.

News: The three look at the Mini Cooper Estate Concept from the Tokyo Auto Salon, where Jeremy Clarkson mocks BMW's attempt to make a "quintessentially British" car by making references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland; a motoring website for homosexuals called 'Top Gayer' is talked about, which then segues to a joke on a rumor about Richard Hammond having had his teeth whitened.

Car Review Challenge: Hammond, May, and Clarkson travel to the Isle of Man to compare the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the BMW M6, and Porsche 997 Carrera S and choose which of them they like the best. During their time on the Isle, the presenters fish while discussing the merits of the cars, and then had timed runs done by The Stig along the A18 road commonly used by the Isle of Man TT motorcycle racing competition, to see which car drove the fastest (despite it raining). While none of them liked the M6, James and Richard preferred the Porsche but Jeremy still said he preferred the Aston Martin. So the overall winner was the 997 by a 2 to 1 vote.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Trevor Eve shows Jeremy sign language he learned while making Children of a Lesser God, before doing a lap of 1:48.0. The Stig believed he could have gone faster if the wheel hadn't broken off the Liana.

Poll: "How reliable is your car?" According to the poll, 10 of the bottom 13 cars were of French origin. The top 3 were all Japanese: the Lexus RX (3rd), the Lexus IS (2nd), and the Honda S2000 (1st place).
61 2 Series 7, Episode 2 Porsche Cayman SAudi RS4 Life-sized RC cars • History of British racing green • Audi RS4 vs Speed Climbers race Ian Wright 20 November 2005 (2005-11-20) 4.48

Main review: Clarkson reviews the Porsche Cayman S, which is cut short by the director's expression of disgust at Clarkson complaining about mostly everything about the car (which he bought as an investment, to Jeremy's own disgust). Clarkson was so sure that it was merely a Boxster Coupé that he refused to call it anything but a Coxster. The Stig posts a 1:26.7 for the Cayman.

News: Hammond shows one viewer's attempt to get directions from Nottingham to Bideford, while avoiding the M5 motorway via the RAC plc website. The route she got, though, took her into the Atlantic Ocean, into France, and crossed Ireland twice as a result.

Feature/Review: Hammond explains the history of British racing green, with a run in a Bentley Blower, and a 1903 Napier and reviews a recreation of a Vanwall F1 car.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Ian Wright discusses why footballers like David Beckham, Wes Brown and John O'Shea would buy a Lincoln Navigator. He then set a lap of 1:47.8.

Challenge: Hammond and May played with life-size radio control cars made from real cars, that had been rigged up by a team of university professors that wanted to prove that it was possible to do so. Each then had a turn at the controls and also being in the passenger seat of the cars they had - one rode in the car while the other attempted to navigate it through a quarry floor course of obstacles (including a garage filled with cheap junk), and then keep a caravan, hitched to the car, from being crushed by a wrecking ball set off by the one in control.

The two then raced against Kristy Rosenberg,[2] the British Under-15 Radio Control Champion on a new course, completing a few laps before ending it by trying to jump another caravan, which (of course) they failed. Back in the studio Clarkson decided to show off a full size radio controlled car that flew. The car had been rigged to contain helium and a few tiny propellers to steer it, (which cost a few thousand pounds to do), and was flown over peoples heads in the studio.

"Car Vs. Something" Race/Review: Clarkson, in an Audi RS4, competed against the climber Leo Houlding to see who could make it to the top of the Verdon Gorge in France. After he loses the hillclimb challenge by about 5 minutes, he challenges the climber to descend faster than he does, but the climber base-jumps to the bottom and says to the camera, "1,200 feet in 20 seconds. Beat that Clarkson!" Clarkson thinks the RS4 is a landmark departure from the usually tepid fast Audis, and hails the lightweight, high-revving V8 as one of the best engines ever made.
62 3 Series 7, Episode 3 Ford Focus ST Supercar road trip to Millau Viaduct, France (Ferrari F430 SpiderPagani Zonda SFord GT) Stephen Ladyman 27 November 2005 (2005-11-27) 4.61

Main review: Clarkson reviews the Ford Focus ST (jokingly referred to as the ASBO), bringing a modern touch to British motoring. With as much power as the hot Renault Megane from last series, Jeremy lavishes the car with praise. The Stig takes the car to a 1:34.9 time, on a slippery and foggy track. If under normal conditions, it would have been the fastest hatchback yet tested.

News: Top Gear announces that they won an International Emmy for the Non-Scripted Entertainment category. Clarkson explains that he was unable to go to New York to receive the award since he was too busy writing the script for that episode.

Road Trip: All three presenters each took a favourite supercar - a Pagani Zonda, a Ford GT, and a Ferrari F430 - on a trans-France road trip to the recently completed Millau Viaduct. While the journey to their overnight stop in Paris was uneventful, apart from a moment when the cars garnered a lot of attention for passers-by when they stopped, the trio created a serious traffic jam in the backstreets of Paris attempting to leave a car park the following day; the problem was that, owing to the angle of the slope onto the road combined with the low bodies of the cars, the fronts were scraping the ground and they could only escape (very slowly) after improvising a shallower ramp and removing front spoilers.

After leaving Paris and driving along on a major motorway for miles, May chose for them to move off it and onto a mountain road, where for once he defied his "Captain Slow" nickname and drove the Ferrari F430 faster than Hammond in the Pagani Zonda and Clarkson in the Ford GT along the twisting corners, in which he later described his car as a "Ballerina's point shoe" compared to the others' construction-site boots. While stopping to discuss their cars after the drive on the mountain road, May admitted that the drops he hadn't seen would have made him drive more carefully and out of the Ferrari's sport mode, while Hammond shouted out that he had not whitened his teeth (as per the running gag in the series). Eventually the trio drove on to reach the Viaduct to drive over it, where just before they did, Clarkson described it as a fantastic example of engineering skill, and that the cars were the same as the bridge - humans pushing themselves to go further in all fields; he stated this as the reason why all three had chosen their cars for the journey. In the studio, Clarkson admitted that while the French were proud to claim the bridge as a work of French engineering, he noted a correction in that the viaduct had been designed by a British engineer.

Cool Wall: Clarkson and Hammond argue about the positioning of the cars presented for the Cool Wall for the whole segment, starting with the positioning of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in the fridge, and the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG in the "Cool" region (Hammond moves the Mercedes-Benz picture in the "Uncool" section). In the end Clarkson and Hammond literally fight over the placement of the BMW M6, the fight going into the crowd. Hammond eats the card, which May cites shortly after - "Hamsters eat cardboard!".

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: British transport minister Stephen Ladyman injured the Liana when he lost control of the car and went backwards into a tyre wall. Despite this setback, Ladyman posted a time of 1:48.8. Ladyman revealed, before his laps was shown, that he is a petrolhead and owns an Alfa Romeo despite his staunch law-and-order stance on speed cameras.
63 4 Series 7, Episode 4 Pagani Zonda FRenault Clio Italian mid-engine supercars for less than £10,000 (Ferrari 308 GT4Maserati MerakLamborghini Urraco)Renault Clio vs. downhill cyclist race in Lisbon Dame Ellen MacArthur 4 December 2005 (2005-12-04) 4.88

Main review: Hammond reviews the heavily revised Pagani Zonda F, with a carbon fibre Body, magnesium wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, and an improved structure. The improvements to the car leave him genuinely speechless, and help it garner a power lap time of 1:18.4 by The Stig (the fastest lap time, at the time of the episode's airing).

News: The presenters mourn the death of World Rally champion Richard Burns, who died at the age of 34 two weeks before. He had made two earlier Top Gear appearances, once touting rallying as more technologically influential and interesting than Formula One, and on another occasion test-driving the Peugeot RC on the Top Gear track.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Ellen MacArthur tells what its like sleeping on her around the world sailing trip, and pulls a lap of 1:46.7 (the fastest lap made in the Liana at the time).

"Car Vs. Something" Race: James May drives in a competition to race the new Renault Clio through Lisbon, Portugal against the downhill mountain biker Gee Atherton.

Cheap Car Challenge: Each presenter was told to buy a used Italian supercar for around £10,000, and drive them from Bristol, to a strip club in Slough, with challenges given to them along the way; Clarkson bought a Maserati Merak with terrible brakes, May bought a broken-down 117 bhp (87 kW) Lamborghini Urraco (brought in on the back of an AA truck), and Hammond bought a 194 bhp (145 kW) Ferrari 308GT4 with severe rust problems (and which Clarkson argued was not a Ferrari).

Leaving Bristol, they were sent to the Castle Combe raceway, where they each had to do a lap and try to beat the Stig's 1:35 laptime in a diesel Vauxhall Astra; none of them managed to beat the time at all. To determine why this had happened, each had their car tested on a "rolling road" to measure how much horsepower had been lost from their worn engines. While both Hammond and May lost a considerable bit, Clarkson found out that his car had been mis-badged while looking through it's documents; he discovered his Merak was not the SS model he thought it was, so expected to do well, until it delivered a woeful 80 bhp (60 kW)). After seeking out an insurance estimate for their cars, the trio had their cars brimmed with petrol and sent onwards to Slough, where they stopped at a garage along the way for their next challenge - a DIY tune-up against the clock involving an oil change and replacing spark plugs. Hammond and Clarkson finished close to each other, with the former winning by half a second, while May was still working on his car. The trio then tried to park in a tight space in Marlborough town square, against the clock (time was added for touching a car or "kerbing" a wheel), in which Clarkson did it the fastest, Hammond came second, and May was the slowest (made so, by the other two adjusting the size of the space he was parking in).

After the parking challenge, the Merak's engine blew up in dramatic fashion whilst on the road, showering the Urraco with pieces of the engine, and forcing Clarkson to drive into a hedge to stop the car due to the engine failure also destroying the brakes. The 308GT4 was next to fail completely, and, although it appeared to run out of fuel 10 miles from Slough, Hammond later revealed that all the engine's electrics had failed at once. Finally, after causing problems all day by running out of electricity, the Urraco failed once again for the final time, causing a traffic jam on the outskirts of Slough in the process. In the studio, the presenters admitted that while the Merak was undoubtedly the worst car of the three, neither of the other two could be called a winner, making their scoreboard for the task completely useless. Clarkson summed up their experience by saying as a Top Gear tip - "Yes, you can buy a second-hand supercar for less than £10,000, but for the love of God don't do it!"
64 5 Series 7, Episode 5 Marcos TSOBugatti VeyronPorsche 911 Carrera 4 vs Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Epic race: Bugatti Veyron versus Cessna 182 Private Plane from Alba, Italy to London • RWD vs. AWD Porsches debate: Porsche 911 Carrera 4 vs Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Nigel Mansell 11 December 2005 (2005-12-11) 4.76

Main review: Hammond reviews the Marcos TSO GT2. Hammond likens it to the much-loved Monaro in terms of its way of marrying muscular American power to easily controllable (if not actually nimble) handling, and also the TVR Sagaris - though when pushed, he admitted this was because it broke down several times. The Stig manages to take it to a time of 1:28.2. (During the studio segment of the review, Clarkson "discovers" a tooth-whitening kit in the Marcos, to which Hammond's reply was: "IT'S A PLANT!!!".)

News: The group reviews stupid automotive accessories such as a tie with Škoda written on it, a cheap aftermarket, battery powered parking sensor and a alarm that goes off to remind you not to put the wrong type of fuel in your car, which goes off any time the alarm's sensor detects light.

"Car Vs. Public Transport" Race: Hammond and May once again attempted to beat Clarkson in a race across Europe, in the usual manner of them using transport other than a car, while Clarkson used a fast car, but with one difference - each side would transport a truffle each from Northern Italy, to the Natwest Tower in London. This time, as May had (almost) earned himself a pilot's licence, his and Hammond's chosen mode of transport was a Cessna 182 (light aircraft), hired from West London Aero Club, while Clarkson was racing against them in the brand new, 1001 PS (736 kW/987 bhp) Bugatti Veyron supercar.

Clarkson suffered no issues crossing over Italy, travelling through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, driving through Switzerland and then through France, where he discussed how the car had a difficult birth during its creation because of the many unknown limits that were encountered why building it, all due to the high top speed the car could achieve, and took his time by having stops for coffee and even ringing up to find out the insurance on the Veyron (which he could not get a quote for in the end). Meanwhile, after an initial shaky start because of May's insistence on lengthy pre-flight checks, May and Hammond were forced to take a circuitous route towards Nice, France to avoid mountains exceeding the plane's flight ceiling, and then had to land during the travel north to refuel. Despite these problems, they eventually made good time on Jeremy after being allowed to use a shortcut, but this advantage was cut short when they were forced to make an early landing as May was not licensed to fly after nightfall. This meant that they had to travel the remainder of the journey by Eurostar. Clarkson managed to take joy in this, and made it to the finish line first, reaching the top of the Natwest Tower before the other two. Whilst having a meal with Clarkson's truffle, he commented to the other two that his victory was hollow, because he would have to live the rest of his life knowing he would never own the Veyron or experiencing its power again.

F1 Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: F1 and IndyCar champion Nigel Mansell takes the lead on the F1 lap board with a 1:44.6. Mansell's time proves a theory from The Stig that the Liana could garner a 1:44 lap time.

Challenge: The Stig compared the drivetrains of RR layout vs. 4WD on the Porsche 997 on an indoor exhibition rally track of the World Rally Championship at Millennium Stadium to settle a debate by Porsche fans. The Carrera 4 was half a second faster, but according to James May the Stig said the 2WD Carrera was nicer to drive.
65 6 Series 7, Episode 6 Volkswagen Golf R32BMW 130iMazda MX-5Honda NSX Old generation vs. New generation car culture • Lap times from a video game vs. Real life in the Honda NSXMazda MX-5 vs. Greyhound race • Top Gear Awards 2005 David WalliamsJimmy Carr 27 December 2005 (2005-12-27) 4.52

Main review: Volkswagen Golf R32 and the BMW 130i. After originally conceding that the BMW was more fun and seemed faster on a dry track, Clarkson was amazed to see that the R32 trounced the 130i with a lap time of 1:30.4 over the 130i's 1:31.9. But it fell in line with his other heavy criticisms of the lack of practicality and the price of the BMW.

Challenge: Hammond and May argue about the state of modern-day driving, which sparked a time trial showdown at Prescott Hill Climb Course, pitting an Austin-Healey Sprite representing a mostly middle-aged classic car owners club, versus a modified Peugeot 306 backed by a more youthful group. The Stig takes the two around, with the Sprite, on a serious race-focussed diet, defeating the showy and stereo-laden 306 by one second.

Review/"Car Vs. Something" Race: Hammond tests the Mazda MX-5, liking the looks of the car, before involving it in a race against a greyhound at a dog-racing dirt track, in which the dog won. In the studio, he and Clarkson compare the different drive-train types of cars (such as four-wheel drive), to animals, with Hammond claiming that if people loved a front-wheeled "dog", they should buy the MX-5.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Little Britain star David Walliams and comedian Jimmy Carr appear with Walliams' lap time of 1:50.7 slower than Carr's. Walliams also tells of his love of Aston Martin.

2005 Top Gear Awards:

Challenge: In the final segment, Clarkson travelled to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California to see if could match a time made in real life, on a real track, in a real car, had been done on a video game; more specifically, Gran Turismo 4. Clarkson's time of 1:41.148 for the video game was substantially faster than the 1:57 time that he was able to do on the real course due to the course omitting a few details of the track and Clarkson's inability to replicate digital bravery in real life. This section also featured a farewell to the NSX.
66 7 Series 7, Episode 7
Winter Olympics Special
None Top Gear Winter Olympics None 12 February 2006 5.22

Biathlon: Clarkson raced a Volvo XC90 against May in an Audi Q7, cross-country, with 2 shooting rounds mid-course while every missed target gives 5 penalty seconds (the loser had to eat "golden snow"). May used a standard Biathlon .22 rifle, while Clarkson opted for a H&K MP5 machine pistol. Despite the increased firepower, Clarkson missed every target and felled a tree. May missed only 2 targets in the final shooting round. However, near the end, he crashed into a tree and had to dig himself out. Despite this, May re-overtook Clarkson at the end and won the race.

Cold Weather Endurance: Hammond was subjected to Arctic temperatures in a Citroën C1, in a bid to see who will crack first: man or machine? After being subjected to a temperature of about minus-40 Celsius, Hammond narrowly beat the car, concluding that 'if you're going to drive to the North Pole, buy a Hammond'. (Although ironically, this was disproved in a later series by him being the runner-up in the Polar Challenge race)

Speed Skating: Clarkson ('Torville' with no ability to walk on ice) raced a Jaguar XK against a human skater (Introduced by May as Eskil Ervik) on the ice course of Vikingskipet Olympic Arena. Clarkson was terrible at this event as his Jag had no grip whatsoever, being lapped twice by Ervik.

Off-Road Slalom: May and Clarkson raced a four-wheel drive Land Rover Discovery and a two-wheel drive Jaguar XK against the clock, on just about five inches of frozen lake. May declared himself the winner as he was the fastest with 2:03.28, but was disputed by Clarkson, who claimed his run to have been more graceful and interesting.

Bobsleigh: This piece was rather a repeated segment that had been done for Series 5 Episode 8, in which Hammond and a bobsleigh team raced against May and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution rally car piloted by Norwegian Henning Solberg, along near-identical courses (and at the same Winter Olympic site this special was at). Hammond won with 59.68 in the end, May's time was 1:02.24

Ice Hockey: Ten Suzuki Swifts played 5-a-side hockey, in teams captained by Hammond and May, and refereed by Clarkson; Hammond had been busy with Daytime Television, so arrived to help the special by this segment. At one point in the match, Hammond's team were winning 2-0, but a biased Clarkson intervened and successfully helped May to 2-2. In the end Hammond crashed into May's car and was sent to penalty box, so May could score 2 more goals. The result was 5-4 to Hammond's team.

Ski Jump: The trio attempt to find out if a rocket-powered Mini could jump further than a skier from a downhill slope. With help from a team of rocket-experts, each took on a task to design special skies for the Mini, cut grooves for the car, and create a stop brake at the bottom of the jump. After a tense moment, the car proved it could do the jump, but didn't manage to go further than the skier. The challenge was then concluded by a ski jump on a snowmobile driven by The Stig, to end the show on.

Compilation Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Guest Original air date
N/A N/A "The Best of Top Gear 2005 #1" None Davina McCall & Christopher Eccleston 13 March 2006

Challenges:

  • Heathrow To Oslo Race (From Series 6, Episode 6)
  • Car Rolling Sideways World Record Attempt (From Series 6, Episode 9)

Stars In A Reasonably Priced Car: Davina McCall (From Series 6, Episode 10), Christopher Eccleston (From Series 6, Episode 3)

Reviews: Ford Focus ST (From Series 7, Episode 3), Volkswagen Golf R32, BMW 130i (From Series 7, Episode 6)
N/A N/A "The Best Of Top Gear 2005 #2 - The Special Guests" None Jimmy Carr, David Walliams, Steve Coogan 13 March 2006

Feature: Jimmy Carr takes us on a short tour of the studio, including the production office, green room, make up area, and The Stig's secret bedroom. He then heads out to the track to interview David Walliams and The Stig. Later on, Carr tours the car park, commenting on the cars held therein, and interviewing James May, who relates a tale of being "the other guy". Finally, Carr interviews the studio audience, which annoys The Stig.

Challenges: Audi RS4 vs. Speed Mountain-Climbers (From Series 7, Episode 2), Transit Van Around The Nurburgring (From Series 6, Episode 7), Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG vs. Porsche Boxster S Army Challenge (From Series 6, Episode 5), Russian Roulette Road Testing (From Series 6, Episode 9), Aston Martin Vanquish S vs. Ferrari 575M (From Series 5, Episode 4)
N/A N/A "The Best Of Top Gear 2005 #3 – The Challenges" None None 20 March 2006
Challenges: Second Hand Italian Mid-Engined Supercars (S7E4), Mazda MX-5 vs. Greyhounds (S7E6), The Top Gear Toupée Test (S3,E5) Renault Clio vs. Urban Biker (S7,E4) Range Rover Sport vs. Challenger 2 Tank (S6,E1)
SP N/A "The Best Of Top Gear 2005 #4 – The Supercars" None None 27 March 2006

Challenges:

  • Bugatti Veyron vs. Cessna Aeroplane (From Series 7, Episode 5)
  • Aston Martin DB9 vs. Train (From Series 4, Episode 1)

Reviews:

  • Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster (From Series 6, Episode 11)
  • Pagani Zonda F (From Series 7, Episode 4)
Features: The Stig's Power Laps Compilation (New Feature), The Cool Wall Compilation (New Feature)
N/A N/A "The Best Of Top Gear 2005 #5 – The Best of British" None None 4 April 2006

Reviews:

  • Rolls Royce Phantom (From Series 2, Episode 2)
  • Ascari KZ1 (From Series 7, Episode 1)
  • Lotus Exige S (From Series 6, Episode 3)

Stars In A Reasonably Priced Car:

Features:

  • Jackie Stewart Teaches James May How To Race (From Series 7, Episode 2)
  • The History Of British Racing (From Series 7, Episode 2)

Reception[edit]

Series 7, Episode 1[edit]

In the news segment, Jeremy Clarkson mocked BMW's attempt to make a "quintessentially British" car (in review of the Mini Cooper Estate Concept from the Tokyo Auto Salon) by making references to Hitler's Third Reich and the German invasion of Poland. Specifically, Clarkson noted that the Sat nav "only goes to Poland," a fan belt that would last for 1,000 years, and made the Nazi salute while speaking about the Mini concept. The German government subsequently criticised the segment, as such behaviour is illegal under the country's constitution.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.barb.co.uk/viewing/weekly-top-10?
  2. ^ http://www.misslimo.com/misslimo2010/2359/Kristy-Rosenberg.html
  3. ^ Hall, Alan (15 December 2005). "Germans up in arms over Clarkson's mocking Nazi salute". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 2 August 2006. Clarkson raised his arm Nazi-style as he spoke about the German company BMW's Mini. Then, mocking the 1939 invasion that triggered the Second World War, he said it would have a satellite navigation system "that only goes to Poland". Finally, in a reference to Adolf Hitler's boast that his Third Reich would last ten centuries, Clarkson said the fan belt would last for 1,000 years. The German government is said to be highly displeased: diplomats pointed out that, had Clarkson made the Nazi salute on German television, he could be facing six months behind bars as, joking or not, such behaviour is illegal under the country's post-war constitution.