Challenges Cheap Car Challenges How hard could it be? Top Gear Series 8

Top Gear: Series 8, Episode 8

  • Jeremy, Richard & James each choose a van for being roadies with ‘The Who’.
  • Richard tests the Noble M15.
  • The boys each buy a van for under £1000 and face a series of challenges.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Ray Winstone, Jenson Button.

Episode Guide

Watch this episode on Amazon Instant Video

Review: The show’s producers direct the presenters to test some vans by being roadies for The Who. May picks a cavernous Renault Master, Hammond chooses a well-priced Ford Transit, and Clarkson gets a performance-oriented Volkswagen T30 TDI 174 Sportline. After The Who’s concert at Hyde Park, Clarkson, Hammond, and May transport some of their equipment 90 miles to the site of their next show. They cannot agree that any of the features of their vans (speed, economy, security, size) is more important than any of the others and they acknowledge that any of the three companies can make you a van in any way you like it. Indecisively, the team comes to the conclusion that you should find the cheapest van of the sort that you need. Subsequently, Clarkson admitted that the feature was not the greatest of ideas (or execution).

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.

The News: Since it is the middle of summer and everyone is on holiday, there is no news.

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.

Challenge: As punishment from the earlier van review, each presenter has to buy a van for £1000. Clarkson buys a Ford Transit, May gets an LDV Convoy, and Hammond buys a Suzuki Supercarry. They hold a variety of challenges related to what a White Van Man might encounter. They have a drag race, a loading/unloading test (each presenter being assisted by an “illegal immigrant”), a trial to see how closely they could tailgate, a challenge to change a door on their van as fast as possible, a thief resistance test, seeing how long they can stay in front of the Stig in a police car, and seeing how many replies they get to a man with a van ad. Hammond ends up soundly winning overall, despite crashing his van in a rollover during the police pursuit challenge. In the closing credits, the presenters are listed as “Lee Clarkson,” “Wayne Hammond,” and “Terry May.”

Some say…

“Some say that his first name really is “The”, and that if he went on Celebrity Love Island they’d all be pregnant, including the camera men. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”

Stig Power Laps

Noble M15

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Ray Winstone
1:51.40 (hot)
Jenson Button
1:44.70 (hot)


Rating: 9.2/10. From 70 votes.
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