Top Gear (series 8)

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Top Gear (series 8)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 8
Release
Original channel BBC Two
Original release 7 May 2006 (2006-05-07) – 30 July 2006 (2006-07-30)
Series chronology
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List of Top Gear episodes

The eighth series of Top Gear began on 7 May and concluded on 30 July 2006. The series featured eight episodes. A new opening title sequence was introduced which featured segments of footage from the previous series and silhouettes of the presenters (the sequence would be updated over time with footage from later series), while the programme was now presented from a new and much bigger studio, as the production had outgrown the old one. The new studio is at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, which is still the same location as the old smaller studio. This series also saw "Top Gear dog" introduced, a labradoodle who's terrified of cars, which make her violently ill and she also seems to hate James May, having thrown up on him when she arrived at the studio earlier in the morning before filming of the first episode. Top Gear Dog was only featured in the eight series and never appeared in any future series.

Over 150 complaints were received regarding actions carried out in the sixth episode, ultimately resulting in a caravan being burnt. Clarkson later proclaimed that it was not an 'accident' as first implied, but a publicity stunt to show everyone how much Top Gear hate caravans.[1]

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[2]
67 1 Series 8, Episode 1 Koenigsegg CCXHonda CivicNissan Micra C+C The Convertible People Carrier Well-spoken manAlan DaviesTrevor EveJimmy CarrJustin HawkinsRick WakemanLes Ferdinand 7 May 2006 (2006-05-07) 4.75

Intro: Clarkson introduces the new studio they have, plus the addition of a fourth member - a dog named "Top Gear Dog", who always is lying down, hates cars and doesn't like May.

Review: Hammond drives a hot pink Nissan Micra C+C around Ledbury, Herefordshire, with a brown paper bag over his head as "punishment" for appearing on daytime TV. However, due to the car being "the most embarrassing in human history," he abandons it mid-review, stating "It's not as if anyone's going to steal it, are they?" In the news segment of Series 1 Episode 1, Hammond had described the car as a "rather gorgeous looking little thing", although this referred to the old model, which was not in pink. Clarkson was unimpressed with it, in the studio.

Car Creation Challenge: The team attempted to create a convertible people carrier with a home-made roof, using a Renault Espace. During the conversion of the Espace, the trio drove the car without its roof on, liking it, before facing a few issues - Clarkson and Hammond broke several side windows, which shouldn't have been done, while Clarkson sewed his jacket to a sewing machine, and he eventually made a part of the frame wrong. The finished work featured a makeshift soft-top that was not neat and tidy when set up.

To see how it fared, their creation then put through several challenges, beginning with them driving it at 100 mph (161 km/h) , which it managed to do, only for the roof to partially collapse. Next, they took it to safari park, where convertibles usually were not allowed in. It fared well, though in the monkey enclosure, the roof almost broke when a monkey sat on it, panicking the trio. Finally, they took it through a brand new car wash. The people carrier was quickly abandoned as the rollers collapsed the roof, showering the trio in water. The tattered & torn roof was then subsequently snagged on the car-wash mechanism and jammed the machinery, causing it to catch on fire, which Clarkson was astounded to see when they discussed about it in the studio.

News: Rising petrol prices prompt a politically incorrect rant from Clarkson; the new Volkswagen Eos may be the first decent looking four-seater cabriolet; Clarkson declares his Ford GT "the most unreliable car ever", adding that "all the stuff that was put on in England went wrong" and he suffered major problems with the trickle chargers; during the break between series, another TV programme borrowed the Top Gear test track and shot footage of "green" cars going round it, where Jeremy showed a brief montage of highlights and supplies his own mocking commentary for the studio audience; the Saab Aero-X concept car impresses the hosts with its looks, but has “the canopy of jet fighter” and they aren’t sure why, with James feeling annoyed by concept cars that promise wild design, but inevitably get watered down before they are mass-produced.

Review: May praises the newly restyled Honda Civic, which he finds to be amazingly attractive for a mass-market car. Details like the triangular exhaust pipes, the rocket-inspired door handles, and the glowing blue rev counter spark his imagination. Even the hazard light button is “translucent and looks like a boiled sweet!” On the weaker end of the scale, he finds the ride a bit choppy at higher speeds and the interior noise a little too loud. However, he says those are minor complaints considering how great the car looks.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: The new series saw the Suzuki Liana replaced as the “reasonably priced car” by the Chevrolet Lacetti. In order to get some times on the separate board for the new car (as it was slightly more powerful, and faster as a result), several celebrities were invited to set times in this episode. In order of arrival:

Diesel News: James May introduces the JCB Dieselmax, with which JCB will attempt to break the diesel land speed record.

Main Review: Clarkson reviews the new £415,000 Koenigsegg CCX and claims it is his new way of giving up smoking. The old Koenigsegg CC8S, was a raw, unruly beast that he found exceptionally fast, but very difficult to drive, and with the new car he found it to even more so. It's power lap was a 1:20.4. The Stig, who felt he could do better if he was a bit more brave, lost control of the car upon a second attempt to break the posted time, coming off at the Follow-Through and hitting a tire wall. He suggested that with the addition of a rear wing (later dubbed 'Top Gear wing') to provide downforce, the CCX would be 4 seconds faster.
68 2 Series 8, Episode 2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06Jaguar XK vs. Mercedes-Benz SL 350 vs. BMW 650i Tomcat 4WD vs. Motor powered kayak race in Iceland • Presenting a drive time radio show, how hard can it be? • The Stig does a farewell lap for the Suzuki Liana Gordon Ramsay 14 May 2006 (2006-05-14) 4.47

Review: Clarkson reviews the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. He likes the high amount of power and finds it astonishing as a track car, comparing it to a Ferrari 575M Maranello. However he notes, among other things, that the car is too harsh for road usage compared to a standard C6 Corvette claiming he would rather have Bird Flu than drive it every day. The Stig takes it to a 1:22.4, making it slower than the more expensive Ford GT that was GM's primary competition, but putting it in the realm of Italian and German supercars.

News: The Ferrari 575 has been discontinued and will be replaced by the 599 GTB Fiorano; a new limo has been created from a tank; a new gadget called The Quick Start is designed to alert you to drive on the correct side of the road in France; the group figures out how the police can identify drivers under the influence of illegal drugs and then devised a series of questions in relation to specific drugs; the Dodge Caliber is designed to look like an imposing SUV, but is the size of a Volkswagen Golf; a car thief stole a Mercedes McLaren SLR in Germany and was apprehended a mere twelve miles away.

"Car Vs. Something" Race: Hammond had a race against a man, using a canoe with an engine on it, in Iceland. Hammond used a specially prepped offroad 4x4 called a Tomcat, with the chassis of a Range Rover and a TVR V8 engine. The race covered a frozen estuary of ice, with the finish line at a bridge. The canoeist won.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay returned, and set a new lap record of 1.46.3 in the Lacetti.

Review: Clarkson tests the new Jaguar XK in Yorkshire. He is torn: the BMW 6-Series and Porsche 997 are quicker while an Aston Martin is better looking and more prestigious. In the end, he still prefers an Aston to an XK, but acknowledges that the Jag will be more reliable and concludes that, "It's good enough to make you think."

Challenge: The group tried to see how hard it would be to host a Drive Time Radio Show. Hammond drove them to the studio in a Cadillac BLS, which the other two presenters panned as a cramped rebadged Saab with a bad clock. BBC Southern Counties Radio in Brighton allowed the group to take over a 3-hour block, which went downhill fast - Clarkson decided to use the traffic flow cameras to name and shame a number of motorists for their bad driving, but this quickly went wrong; Hammond had made a jingle for their broadcast, and annoyed the station's Sports reporter by interrupting them with it; the trio soon began to run out of things to do. The station received a number of complaints about the lack of actual traffic information being given out and the show in general. They ended their 3-hour block by playing a 9-minute song and quickly exiting the building.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: The Stig faced the challenge of going around the track in the old Suzuki Liana and he managed to get the fastest time of 1:44.4, beating Ellen MacArthur (fastest celebrity) and narrowly beating Nigel Mansell (fastest Formula One driver). This was in response to a letter complaining that The (new) Stig had not been given the chance to set a time in the Liana.
69 3 Series 8, Episode 3 Lotus Exige S Amphibious cars challenge Philip Glenister 21 May 2006 (2006-05-21) 4.75

News: Someone sends a pair of Doggles for Top Gear Dog to use; a letter from a viewer upset with the lack of coverage of affordable cars prompts Clarkson to show a picture of the new Vauxhall Corsa for a brief moment; a debate about the condition of the presenter's cars occurs, with Clarkson ribbing Hammond for washing his car with his family, and both he and Hammond mocking May keeping a paintbrush in his car to clean the switches on the dashboard; the dot-matrix displays on the British motorways are discussed about, for having no sense of reality; Clarkson’s mom has driven the new Honda Civic and doesn’t like it, so in response, Hammond suggests the new Noble M15; new cars from Lotus include a replacement for the Esprit, a collaboration with Volkswagen on a "tricycle thing," a seven seat crossover vehicle, the Europa, as well as new models of the Elise and the Exige S.

Review: Clarkson reviews a Lotus Exige S on the Top Gear test track. The impressive handling from its predecessor has been retained, but a supercharger has been added to the Toyota engine that will propel the Exige to 148 mph with a 0-60 time of 4 seconds. This makes the Exige S the fastest accelerating car Lotus has ever made. To illustrate this speed, Clarkson pits the Exige against a Ford Mustang driven by the Stig around the Top Gear Test Track short circuit. The Exige wins. Drawbacks include the price (£33,000), the road noise, and the awkwardness of getting in/out of the thing. The Stig turns in a Power Lap time of 1:25.1 (just ahead of the Lamborghini Gallardo).

Cool Wall: The Lotus Exige S is declared "Uncool" because of a man in shorts liking it, the Proton Savvy is deemed "Uncool" as well, because of its name, the pink Nissan Micra C+C deemed almost too uncool for the wall, and the Jaguar XK is also deemed "Uncool" because of the game of golf, which influences the car's performance (in Clarkson's view); the Koenigsegg CCX is the first supercar to be deemed "Cool," because of its scariness and danger factor.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Actor Philip Glenister went around the track in 1.54.35, the Lacetti's first wet lap.

Car Creation Challenge: The presenter each had to buy a car and turn it into a amphibious vehicle, not knowing what each other had and was making from it, or what challenge the vehicles would be tested in. May bought a 1962 Triumph Herald, and fitted it with a mast and sails (while he relearned sailing); Hammond bought a 1983 Volkswagen T3 campervan which he made into a houseboat, believing they would be on a canal; Clarkson chose a 1989 Toyota Hilux pickup truck due to its reputation of being 'indestructible' and because its rear end was the perfect mounting point for a 225 hp (168 kW) outboard engine, in which he originally wanted 2 engines, but ended up with one due to weight, space and cost.

The presenters met up at Keele services on the M6 motorway, two days later, and were told to drive 20 miles to Rudyard Lake near Leek, Staffordshire, and cross two miles of it in their cars. On the drive to the lake, each found their cars had flaws while driving them — Clarkson's "Toybota"'s top speed and smoothness was reduced due to the outboard engine on the back and solid shock absorbers that had been installed; Hammond's "Dampervan"'s speed was greatly reduced, due the heavy weight it had and the low power of the engine (it struggled on hills), ; May's Herald Yacht was limited to just 35 mph, with its sailing mast struggling with low objects, such as bridges and trees (his effort to lower it was considered cheating). Both Hammond's and May's cars also suffered from overheating as their hull for the water blocked the engine ventilation. At the lake, all three managed to arrive there and enter it with their vehicles. Hammond's entry came with two problems - the Dampervan's propeller broke on the ramp, and it soon began to take in water and sink. Clarkson soon rescued him, after learning his Toybota could only achieve 15 knots, and did not cut through the water properly (it swept up over the bonnet). May's Herald Yacht, meanwhile, didn't sink but was very slow due to lack of wind. While Clarkson managed to cover the two miles required, when he reached the finish line he turned too hard and too fast to get around the pontoon, causing him and Hammond to go into the water, after the rear of the Toybota dipped quite low below the waterline, sinking and capsizing. May maintained his nickname "Captain Slow" by sailing very slowly to the finish line and driving out slightly, before the clutch fails on the ramp out of the water. On land, May sumed up his experience: "Sailing... Really boring!"

In the studio, May revealed the challenge was never mentioned as a race when Clarkson attempted to win victory, and his Herald Yacht receives the most votes for the best car which Clarkson stated was a fair victory. However, Clarkson ended the segment by attempting to drive his Toybota home, as the other two vehicles were damaged unlike his, since it was a Hilux However, the engine failed to start, thereby ruining the Hilux's reputation of being 'indestructible', to the amusement of May and Hammond.
70 4 Series 8, Episode 4 BMW Z4 M vs. Porsche Boxster SKoenigsegg CCX Top Gear Wing • Mercedes-Benz S500Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Designing "Anne Hathaway's Cottage" in a Mercedes S280 • Porsche Cayenne vs. parachutist Ewan McGregor 28 May 2006 (2006-05-28) 3.83

Review: Richard drives the BMW Z4 M and finds it faster and better looking than its closest rival, the Porshe Boxster. However, he finds the Boxster much more refined through corners. It was praised by Hammond for thrilling in the most primeval way. Clarkson continues to bash the Z4, and calls the coupe version "incredibly ugly." The Stig does a Power Lap of 1:26 flat – faster than the Porsche Cayman, the Ferrari 575, and the Aston Martin Vanquish.

News: The BMW Z4 coupe is £1,700 less than the soft top version; Lexus have launched a new hybrid; Jeremy is left behind by his wife at a party; the presenters talk about banned license plates which include "MI BUM", and "HA06 MAS."; an eBay item - 4639771121 - is talked about and a wristband that prevents you from falling asleep.

Review: Clarkson tests the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class both as a review and to show what features most new cars will have in ten years (as has historically happened). In this case, the new S-Class features radar-guided cruise control, infrared night vision, and is the first in the world for receiving digital TV. Clarkson praises the ease of use of the car and its features, how it swayed judges for being environmentally made, and how potent its power is, but criticises the interior.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Ewan McGregor discusses his manhood, filming the Star Wars prequels, his love of motorcycles, and his car history. He does a lap time of 1:48, dead.

"Car Vs. Something" Race: Hammond races a British army parachuter in Cyprus with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. The parachuter wins. After the race, Hammond crashes the Cayenne into the film crew's car.

Preview: Responding to another viewer complaint that Top Gear doesn’t feature enough reasonably priced cars, Richard and James present the Caparo T1 in the studio. It does 33 mpg, has a 2.4 supercharged V8 that generates 480bhp and can propel the car to 200mph. Priced at £190,000 it is a bargain when compared to something like the Pagani Zonda.

Challenge: Clarkson designs his own interior of a car, after he states that an S-Class lacks a good one. He bought an old 1996 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and designed his perfect interior based upon his house. The car, dubbed "Anne Hathaway's Cottage", featured a wood-burning stove, kitchen chairs, a flagstone floor over a concrete base, and plastered insides of the doors. James and Richard decided to test out the car, but found that with no seatbelts and unsecured seats, they went flying at first. Eventually, with May holding Hammond's seat, a 0-60 time of 35.4 seconds was established, while it was found to sport a slow time when it did a lap of the track.

Power Lap (take two): The Koenigsegg CCX is back from Sweden (now equipped with a rear spoiler) and is taken around the track by The Stig, who sets a new lap time of 1:17.6; overthrowing the Zonda F as the fastest car to date. The presenters were so proud, they stated that not only do they present the show, but they are also designing the cars (due to the addition of the Koenigsegg’s spoiler). In reality, Koenigsegg claims that the spoiler was useless for the slow speeds on the Top Gear test track and that the improved time was due to a more sorted suspension.
71 5 Series 8, Episode 5 Prodrive P2Citroën C6 Car football game II • Time-trial challenge with Sir Jackie Stewart Sir Michael Gambon 4 June 2006 (2006-06-04) 5.01

Review: The Prodrive P2 concept car is put through its paces on the track. Jeremy finds it quick, good-looking, and at a projected price of £40,000, a good value too. Clarkson attempts to explain what active-diff and anti-lag is. A practical demonstration of the former makes Clarkson carsick, having to stop while going round a circle at 60 mph. The Stig achieves a lap in the P2 in 1:24.3 seconds. Prior to that he did a lap with the active-diff turned off and did a much slower time of just over 1:29.

News: Jeremy Clarkson launches the 2006 Top Gear motor survey while casually panning between cameras as is the trend among news programmes; Suburu is arranging track days at the Prodrive test track; new from Germany is the Audi RS4 cabriolet; Clarkson claims that points should be awarded to unsporting/aggressive F1 drivers; Ford has made a cool new people carrier; James has signed up to present a programme called When Sharks Attack and Jeremy has a picture of James in a wet suit, while also having a picture of Hammond riding a pony.

Challenge: A "Scottish lady" (as Hammond refers to him) called Jackie Stewart claims that he can cut down anyone's driving time around a circuit (Oulton Park) by 20 seconds, yet the Top Gear presenters don't believe him. So, to prove him wrong, May (a.k.a. Captain Slow) is sent to take up the challenge. Using a TVR Tuscan convertible, Sir Jackie manages to get May to cut down his original laptime by 20 seconds.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Sir Michael Gambon returns to discuss his first appearance, his role as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, the possibility that he could have been James Bond, and his propensity for lying during interviews. He makes a lap time of 1:50.3.

Review: Jeremy Clarkson reviews the new Citroën C6, the heir to a long line of big, innovative French cars, and is disappointed that the car doesn't seem to be "mad" enough to be a worthy successor to the Citroën CX. However, the car redeems itself as a mobile camera platform for covering horse races.

Cool Wall: The Citroën C6 is “Super Cool” because Jean Reno would have one; the Peugeot 207 is “Uncool” unless Kristin Scott Thomas texts Clarkson to tell him otherwise, while the Skoda Fabia VRS is “Uncool,” because all Skodas are considered deeply “Uncool”, with the Saab 9-5 also being “Uncool” due to its Dame Edna-style headlights.

Feature/Challenge: The Toyota Aygo is challenged by the Volkswagen Fox in a game of football. Using national football stereotypes, Hammond points out that the Fox is actually made in Brazil and May contends that the Aygo is actually made in the Czech Republic. In the end, Hammond's durable Foxes beat the old champion Aygos.
72 6 Series 8, Episode 6 Ford Mondeo ST220 vs. Mazda 6 MPS vs. Vauxhall Vectra VXR Caravan holiday • Indoor speed record in an F1 racer Brian Cox 16 July 2006 (2006-07-16) 3.66

Review: Clarkson tests three hot saloons with a "rubbish badges": the Ford Mondeo ST220, the Mazda 6 MPS and the Vauxhall Vectra VXR. Clarkson calls the Mondeo “one of Britain’s most underrated cars.” Throughout his review, he lavishes compliments upon it, deciding that it’s only weakness is that it seems “common.” However, he points out that the BMW 3 series outsold it last year. Additionally, via a chart, he shows that in the previous year 1,050 Aston Martin DB9’s were sold in Britain while only 903 Mondeo ST220s left dealerships – proving his point that the Mondeo is the more exclusive car. Also somewhat exclusive is the Mazda 6 MPS. He finds that while it is not as practical or pretty as the Ford, it is even better and more fun to drive. Again using a chart, he compares the Mazda to a similarly priced BMW 318i M Sport and finds that the Mazda is better in every way. Finally, he drives the Vauxhall Vectra or as he puts it “one of my least favourite cars in the world!” With another chart, he illustrates his contempt for the car. However, the VXR is more stylish than Vectras of old and it is fast too. Pitted against the other two in a drag race on the Top Gear track it handily wins. In the hands of The Stig, the poised and delicate Mondeo achieves a laptime of 1:34.4, while the energetic and powerful Mazda 6 an even better 1:32.2. Despite being the fastest car with a 161 mph top speed, the Vectra can only manage a time of 1:35.5 due to “catastrophic understeer.”

News: Clarkson and Hammond bicker about muscle cars, in which Hammond gushes about the new 2008 Dodge Challenger, while Clarkson complains about his recent trip to the United States to drive a Chrysler 300 and calls both a BMW M6 and a Jaguar XKR muscle cars, leading to May finally shutting them up by announcing Daihatsu is going to make a new Copen; Clarkson spots a celebrity among the audience members , stating - “Jesus is here!”; they ridicule a study that claims people with speed camera detectors are less likely to get speeding tickets; bus drivers are furious with Clarkson for negative comments he made about them.

Feature: Clarkson, May and Hammond go on a caravan holiday in Dorset to try and find out more about caravaning, taking an Elddis Shamal XL they bought for £3,000. The trio attempt to try to have fun, but get into trouble as a result while driving to a site - they cause numerous traffic jams, Top Gear Dog becomes ill, May crashes the caravan into a bollard (damaging the tow bar as well), and then blocks a road with it when trying to correct a wrong turn. They also find that their tow car, a Kia Sorento, was not exactly a good car, as they are overtaken by stronger ones towing caravans.

At the caravan site, May reverseed the caravan into another caravan's gazebo, partially collapsing it and forcing him and Clarkson to quickly repair it (Hammond had been "kidnapped" during this), before all three set up their caravan. Clarkson could not consider their experience a holiday as such, and after visiting a pub in that evening, they soon turned in for the night, which wasn't helped by a train occasionally going past the site. The next morning, May made breakfast with Spam, and after May declares he visited every place they could check out, and Clarkson stated his disapproval of the harsh rules of the campsite, the trio go for a walk near a motorway, where they do some "Top Gear Twitching" - looking through binoculars at the passing vehicles and identifying them. After the walk, Clarkson cooks chips for lunch, but a fire accidentally breaks out which spreads across the caravan quickly. Hammond uses a cushions to stamp it out, but sets it alight instead, and chucked it out of a window, where it landed next to the gazebo which May had reversed into, setting fire to it. Despite a Fire Engine quickly arriving and putting out the fire, the caravan was completely destroyed. Clarkson concluded, back in the studio, "When we come to power, caravaning is going to be banned!"

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Brian Cox talks with Jeremy about his roles as villains (principally Hannibal Lector), life in America, and his Toyota Prius’s. Despite posting a slow time of 2:01, he says that he enjoyed the track experience tremendously.

Challenge: The Stig has a go at the nonexistent indoor world speed record in one of the ExCeL Exhibition Centre's halls with a Toyota TF105 F1 car. He sets a world record of 81 mph (130 km/h), although because of the lack of grip afforded by the hall's polished floor, this was only slightly faster than the 70 mph (112 km/h) he recorded with the Chevrolet Lacetti.

73 7 Series 8, Episode 7 Lamborghini Gallardo SpyderPeugeot 207 1.6L DieselFord S-Max 2.5L 200 PSMercedes-Benz B200 TurboVauxhall Zafira VXR Caterham Seven kit car race • Peugeot 207 vs. parkour masters race in Liverpool Steve Coogan 23 July 2006 (2006-07-23) 3.89

Review: Hammond and May test three people carriers: the Ford S-MAX, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, and the Vauxhall Zafira VXR. The Mercedes-Benz is the quickest on a track, but it is hopelessly expensive and too small. The Vauxhall is large enough and well-priced, but it is hard to use. Though underwhelmed by its performance on the track, the Top Gear team all agree that the Ford is the best buy, with the most practicality, the best styling, and the most driveability.

News: MG is "sort of" back; Richard reveals he has bought a Land Rover Defender and has had a misadventure with the container of touch-up paint that was included in the deal; Jeremy reveals that he went to an air show in Gloucestershire in his Ford GT and had to leave it there due to engine problems; new cars include the Honda Civic Type-R, the Land Rover Freelander, and Chrysler Sebring (the latter they were certain would be rubbish); Hammond reminds viewers to participate in the Top Gear Motoring Survey; Clarkson refuses to apologise to caravan owners after Top Gear received 2 complaints regarding comments about Muslims, 3 complaints about taking a man who looks like Jesus out of the audience, and 150 complaints following the previous week's caravan abuse.

Review: Clarkson reviews the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. He spends the bulk of the review expressing his unbridled enthusiasm for the car. Having bought one himself, he comments that it is not the best driver's car in the world, but it is something that could be used every day. He sums up his review by stating, “It has the most important characteristic that I look for in a car – it’s a laugh! … I think it’s absolutely tremendous!” The Stig set a lap time of 1:25.7.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Steve Coogan talks about being in a hot tub between Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also mentioned a Saxondale episode involving a Clarkson-like character. He sets a time of 1:50.9 in the Lacetti and became the first person to drive under the condition of 'Hot' as The Stig said that the heat had done something either to Coogan himself, the car or the track. Coogan was visibly disappointed when he learned that Rob Brydon (a comedy partner of his) did it faster in the less powerful Suzuki Liana.

"Car Vs. Something" Race: James May races two traceurs (masters of Parkour which involves running and leaping across/off buildings) across Liverpool in a Peugeot 207 1.6L Diesel, from the edge of the city to the Liver Building. He, naturally, gets lost and loses. As for the car, he started off by praising it, but soon discovered that it was too big, too heavy, too underpowered, and too expensive for what you get. Or, as James puts it, "It’s rubbish!"

Special Race: Clarkson, Hammond, and May team up to race against The Stig. The trio must build a Caterham Seven kit car from scratch in a pit garage at the Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland, while The Stig drives the same model up from Caterham's base in Caterham, Surrey. After a lot of tension while building the car between Clarkson and May and a series of mishaps, the team looks to be losing, but they win when The Stig is stopped for speeding. After the challenge, Clarkson later said that "James, I would rather staple my ears to a horse”, when May said that building a car is a great experience.
74 8 Series 8, Episode 8 Noble M15Ford Transit vs. Renault Master vs. Volkswagen T30 TDI 174 Sportline £1000 Van Man challenge (Ford Transit, LDV Convoy, Suzuki Super Carry) • Being van roadies with The Who Jenson ButtonRay Winstone 30 July 2006 (2006-07-30) 5.27

Car Review Challenge: The presenters were tasked with testing out some vans, by being roadies for The Who. May picked a cavernous Renault Master, Hammond chose a well-priced Ford Transit, and Clarkson got a performance-oriented Volkswagen T30 TDI 174 Sportline. After The Who's concert at Hyde Park, Clarkson, Hammond, and May transported some of their equipment 90 miles to the site of their next show, where each attempted to discuss the features of their van, yet none of them focused on all of the important subjects (speed, economy, security, size), instead each going for one subject - Hammond on the price of his van, Clarkson on the speed of his van, and May on the tools and gadgets on his van. They did, however, acknowledge that any of the three companies can make you a van in any way you like it and indecisively, the team came to the conclusion that you should find the cheapest van of the sort that you need. Clarkson admitted in the studio that the feature was not the greatest of ideas (or execution), and that the producers didn't like the footage, punishing them with a challenge to do, later in the episode.

F1 Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button talks about his facial hair, getting women, and why he hadn't yet won a race (coincidentally he did so in Hungary only a week later). He sets a time of 1:44.7 in the Liana and loses a £20 bet with Clarkson as he could not go faster than The Stig (who did it in 1:44.4) as he said he could.

Preview: Richard and James present the new Rolls Royce 101EX in the studio. It has the same engine as the Phantom, but the body is made of carbon fibre and aluminium. It is shorter and lower than the Phantom. It also only has two doors and an interior ceiling with pin light stars. At about this point, Jeremy interrupts to declare the car an insult to the Rolls Royce name. He states that if it goes into production, it will have to be called the "Rolls Royce Vulgarsonic."

Review: Hammond takes the Noble M15, the most powerful Noble yet, for a drive. He says that it is a civilised and comfortable sportscar fit to be driven daily, yet is still fun. The Stig takes it around the track in 1:22.5 – faster than the Ferrari 430, the Lamborghini Murcielago, and the standard Pagani Zonda.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: British actor Ray Winstone discusses how got into drama and his affinity for Jaguars. Out on the track, he sets a time of 1:51.4.

Cheap Car Challenge: As punishment for the earlier feature on vans, each presenter was told to go out and buy a van for £1000. Clarkson bought a Ford Transit, May got an LDV Convoy, and Hammond bought a Suzuki Supercarry. They then held a variety of challenges related to what a White Van Man might encounter, on the Top Gear Test Track.

They began with a simple drag race, in which Hammond won, and then did a loading/unloading test with a variety of cargo, some valuable (each presenter being assisted by an "illegal immigrant" that they also had to transport), which Clarkson won. Next they did a trial to see how closely they could tailgate a car, in which Hammond won the challenge, while Clarkson bumped into the car, and May failed badly because of his van's poor speed. After this, they attempted to change a door on their van as fast as possible, in which Hammond did the work properly and won, while Clarkson used May's van to take off his door and then put it on with gaffer tape. A thief resistance test revealed that Hammond's couldn't be broken into as such, while Clarkson's took only a few seconds to get in. Finally, each attempted to see how long they could stay in front of the Stig in a police car, on a lap of the short version of the Test Track; Clarkson did well, May proved to do just as good, while Hammond rolled over after the first corner. In the studio, one final challenge was made to see how many replies they got to a man with a van ad. Hammond ended up soundly winning overall, despite crashing his van in the rollover.

Note: In the closing credits, the presenters are listed as “Lee Clarkson,” “Wayne Hammond,” and “Terry May.”

Reception[edit]

Series 8, Episode 6[edit]

Top Gear received around 150 complaints after the episode was televised.[3] James Tapper, writing in the British Mail on Sunday newspaper, claimed the episode's action had been staged and that Dorset emergency services had been paid around £1,000 by the BBC for a six-man fire crew to participate in the mock fire. A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that the fire had been planned for safety reasons and that any reasonable viewer would not have been misled due to the stunt's slapstick nature.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Top Gear - Series 8 Episode 7 2006.07.23 News Segment Clarkson:...we were slightly rude about caravans... Hammond: Yeah, we sort of set one on fire a bit. Clarkson:...150 complaints.
  2. ^ http://www.barb.co.uk/viewing/weekly-top-10?
  3. ^ Top Gear - Series 8 Episode 7 2006.07.23 News Segment Clarkson:...we were slightly rude about caravans... Hammond: Yeah, we sort of set one on fire a bit. Clarkson:...150 complaints.
  4. ^ Topper, James (3 August 2007). "BBC admit Top Gear caravan blaze was a fake". Mail On Sunday Newspaper. Retrieved 28 July 2008.