- Which car is best for 17-year olds?
- Richard drives the Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV in Abu Dhabi.
- Richard races the Bugatti Veyron against the McLaren F1 in Abu Dhabi.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Stephen Fry.
The show begins with Jeremy tackling a difficult question which all 17-year olds and their parents face at one point or another – what is the best first car? On the one hand, teenagers want something that’s sporty, cool and preferably turbocharged. On the other, their parents want them to have something slow, cheap and safe – and the insurance companies would prefer if they didn’t drive at all. So begins a Cheap Car Challenge – with a budget of £2500 the boys must pretend they are 17 – and each buy a car that would please them, their parents and their insurance company. The boys quickly discover, that while there may be a lot of good cars in this price range, the £2500 budget must also include the insurance cost – which for a 17-year old, is the big killer. At one point, Jeremy phones an insurance company and is quoted £2500, 15 times more than what the car in question was worth. He continues with the man on the phone, “So what you’re saying is I’m going to write it off completely 15 times a year?”. The premiums for 17-year old girls are also half of what they are for 17-year old boys. Eventually James, Richard and Jeremy meet up at a local school to see what the others had bought. James arrives first with a Volkswagen Golf Mark-III; Richard arrives in a Hyundai S-Coupe; and Jeremy rolls in driving a turbocharged Volvo 940 Estate. The first challenge involves modifying the cars in whichever way they think will best attract girls – and only using the left over money they had from their original £2500 budget.
A few days later, they were ready. Richard’s S-Coupe was sporting a new body kit, which is unpainted and looks to have been made for a different vehicle entirely. Jeremy had no money left to spend on his Volvo, and simply placed a girl-enticing waterbed into the back of the car, plus some green spray on “Turbo” motifs along the side. James’ Golf remained unmodified on the outside – inside however, he opted for a new stereo complete with sub woofers… through which he played classical music. Later on while James was inside the Motorway Services for a restroom stop, Jeremy and Richard load a heavy bass CD into his stereo and cranked up the volume, then glued all of the buttons up to prevent him from ejecting it or turning the sound down. Later, the boys arrive at a campsite that is at the base of a very wet, grassy hill. The next challenge is to see who can pack up their own campsite the quickest, load it into the car, and then leave. Jeremy’s Volvo estate could easily handle the volume of gear, however he managed to rupture his waterbed and smash the rear tailgate window as he closed it. Richard and James both run into space issues with their cars, throwing some items into the neighboring field. Richard goes to leave first and in his haste, rips the rear bar off his S-Coupe. Jeremy takes off in pursuit but both of them only get half way up the grassy hill before they start sliding backwards. James somehow overtakes them both at speed and drives up over the top of the hill with the bass blaring. Richard then takes a good run up and makes it out too… leaving Jeremy stuck at the bottom, unable to get out as the first part of the story ends.
In the news, Jeremy mentions how the first segment brought back all the memories each of them have about their first driving experiences. Richard and James both failed their driving test on the first attempt, and while Jeremy passed, he did crash into a field 3 days later. Richard mentions the government car scrapping theme again, while Jeremy suggests everyone is using it to buy cheap Korean cars – and that their money is helping Kim Jong-il to buy nuclear weapons. Richard also mentions it’s more economical to keep an old car going, rather than having it scrapped and having a new car produced. The 500hp V8 Aerial Atom is announced, along with a new supercharged Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst.
In the next segment, Richard goes to Abu Dhabi in the UAE to drive the new Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV – the fastest Lamborghini ever made. The local police have kindly closed a 4mile straight stretch of highway for the car to be tested on. Richard goes for a speed run and nudges 200mph on the first run. From every angle, the car exudes menace – with 670hp and 4-wheel drive it is extremely fast – and to help things along it’s 100kg lighter than the standard car. 0-60mph is dispatched in 3.2 seconds, and the LP670-4 eventually tops out at 212mph. Richard is amazed by the steering and the way the car is light and nimble on its feet. While it may set you back £270,000, Richard believes that it’s cheap – considering it should be able to match the best hyper cars available. Richard lines it up against a McLaren Mercedes SLR 722 for a drag race. While the Murcielago lost the race, it was extremely close – barely 2 car lengths in it after a mile. Very impressive considering the SLR 722 is £100,000 more expensive. Back in the studio, Richard and Jeremy discuss the magnificence of the car before the Stig takes it for a lap. The Murcielago LP670-4 SV laps the track in 1:19.00.
Jeremy introduces Stephen Fry as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Stephen manages to lap a 1:51.00 on a hot day with a dry track.
Back to the Cheap Car Segment, the next challenge is presented. It involves a situation we were all faced with at least once in our youth – can you get home quietly enough at 3am in the morning (3hours later than you said you’d be home) without waking your parents. Richard goes first and chooses to push his car up the slightly uphill driveway – he manages to create only 50.4dB, which is barely above a whisper. Jeremy is up next and finds it difficult to push the heavy Volvo up the driveway – yelling out in frustration. Once the driveway began to flatten out the car starts to run away from him and noisily runs into a shed. Jeremy decides he may as well start the engine and reverse the car out, with more noise of broken glass created – he bombs out with 66.1dB. Amazingly, the parents don’t wake up. Jeremy continues “It’s a good job they’re heroin addicts.” James is up last – and drives his car in due to it having a very quiet engine. Unfortunately, Jeremy holds the remote control for the stereo, and conveniently starts it playing as he nears the house. James wakes the parents and loses the challenge with 98.7dB.
The following morning, the boys report to the track for the next challenge. A forklift arrives and rolls each of their cars over onto their roofs, before flipping them up the right way again – because all 17-year olds will roll their car at least once. The challenge is to mend the car in such a way so that their parents will not be able to spot the damage. After a lot of work involving hammers and shouting, the cars do not appear to be looking any better. The final challenge involves a race through an obstacle course where the aim is to hit as many objects as you can, then performing a hand-brake turn and racing back to the start location. Three 17-year old girls will judge the handbrake turns, as handbrake turns are obviously the best thing a man can do to turn them on. Jeremy goes first and hits most of the objects, but makes a hash of his handbrake turn. James goes next and manages to hit almost everything – except at a much slower speed. His handbrake turn is much more impressive, ending up hitting a wall of shopping trolleys in the process. Richard goes last and bombs out after hitting the first parked car square on – killing his Hyundai. Back in the studio, the scores are tallied up and Jeremy’s Volvo is crowned the winner. Interestingly the girls didn’t award points to any of them for their handbrake turns.
Next up, we’re back in Abu Dhabi with Richard – who’s organised a clash of the titans – a drag race between the two fastest cars in the world – the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1. The £1,000,000 Bugatti Veyron has 1001hp and a top speed of 252mph. In the 1990’s, the McLaren F1 was the ultimate road car. It was the fastest, with a top speed of 240mph, and with a price of £500,000 in 1993, it was also the most expensive. Richard chooses to pilot the Veyron for the race, and the Stig takes the McLaren F1. Off the line, the lightness of the McLaren pays dividends, instantly putting it 2 car lengths ahead of the Veyron. Over the course of the 1-mile race, the Veyron begins to slowly reel the McLaren in and passes it near the half way mark, after both cars had reached approximately 240kph. The Veyron wins the race by a large margin.
“Some say that last week he was found in a locked room tied to a chair with German piano wire. And that this week, MP’s turned him down for the job of “Speaker”. All we know is that’s three things he has in common with Margaret Beckett.”
Stig Power Laps
Murcielago LP670-4 SV
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car