- Cheap Car Challenge: Jeremy, Richard & James each buy a British Leyland car for under £1200.
- Jeremy tests the Aston Martin DBS.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jennifer Saunders.
Main review: Clarkson reviews the Aston Martin DBS, continually comparing it to the Aston Martin DB9 and saying that you should think of it as a DB9-S. He says it’s the best car he’s driven all year, but the other two can’t justify the 50 grand price hop over the DB9.
News: Top Gear announces lots of new cars are released: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, Nissan GT-R, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, and the Morgan Aero Max. Constant review of Korean Cars such as the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Picanto, as they have been sold in Korea. They also point out that Australia “bought” Top Gear, referring to the recent approval to create an Australian local version.
Challenge: The Top Gear team celebrate the 40th anniversary of British Leyland with a £1,200 car challenge (paid “out of their own pockets”), ending up with Jeremy’s Rover SD1, Richard’s Triumph Dolomite Sprint and James’s Princess. Clarkson arrived first at the meeting point, followed by Hammond and May. They then went to a “secret” destination in England in the cars, ostensibly at one of British Leyland’s old factories, only to learn that the facilities were either sold or demolished.
Challenges 1, 2 and 3 took place at the MIRA car testing facility, with money earned back towards the purchase price of their cars for each challenge passed.
Challenge 1, Performance: The trio attempt to beat a time set by The Stig in a Datsun 120Y of similar vintage to their cars. Clarkson’s car was slower by one second, Hammond’s was slower by 5 seconds, and May ended up getting lost on the track, after which Clarkson and Hammond didn’t even bother reading out his time.
Challenge 2, Handbrakes: The cars must be parked, in neutral, on a 1 in 3 slope, earning £100 if their handbrake holds them in place. May managed the feat; Clarkson’s car emitted a large cloud of obscuring smoke, allowing him to claim success; and Hammond’s Dolly rolls backwards down the hill and nearly knocks over the grade sign.
Challenge 3, Ride comfort: The cars are driven over a cobbled road at 30 mph (48 km/h), with several eggs suspended in a colander over the driver; they would earn £10 for each gram of egg left in the colander after the test, and lose £10 for each piece of trim lost. May and Clarkson lost two interior mountings (Clarkson, in particular, losing his left rear door) and both had 4 grams of egg left, earning them £20 each, while Hammond lost 6 pieces and had no egg remaining, costing him £60.
Challenge 4, Build quality: This took place at the Top Gear test track. The cars were filled to the brim with water, then each (using a snorkel) drove around the track as far as possible, stopping when the water leaked out to a level below the steering wheel; 20 pence were earned per yard covered. Hammond completed half a lap (1500 yards), May did over 1½ laps (4,500 yards), and Clarkson completed only 10 yards (9.1 m) before the right rear door fell off.
After the final scores were tallied, Hammond finished last, the high initial price of his car being enough to cancel out his better performance than Clarkson on the final test. May was declared the winner by earning back his entire car’s value plus £20, proving that his Austin Princess was the one good car that British Leyland ever made.
Star in a Reasonably Priced car: Jennifer Saunders sets a lap time of 1.46.1, placing her second on the leader board, only 0.2 of a second slower than the lap time leader Simon Cowell.
“Some say that he knows two facts about ducks and both of them are wrong. And that 61 years ago he accidentally introduced her majesty The Queen to a Greek racialist. All we know is that I’m going to the tower now to have my head cut off, and he is called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Aston Martin DBS
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car