- Jeremy, Richard and James go on a British trade mission to India.
- Each selects a car which will help represent Britain.
- Jeremy – Jaguar XJS, Richard – Mini Cooper, James – Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.
This special episode of Top Gear begins with the boys outside of Number 10 Downing Street – where they reveal the PM, David Cameron, personally dismissed their suggestion to run a British trade mission to India, in an effort to increase business between the two countries. Top Gear ignores Mr Cameron anyway and the boys each purchase a British car for under £7,000 and begin their journey to India.
Upon arriving, the boys meet up in the city of Bombay to see what cars the others had bought. James arrives first in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow – a car hand wrought in Britain during the 1970’s, using the very finest British car making materials. Jeremy turns up next in a Jaguar XJS – a car notorious for being utterly unreliable due to cheap electrical connectors and relays. Richard rolls up last in one of the last Mini Cooper Sports’ ever made – it looks immaculate and proudly displays the Union Jack on the roof. The boys argue about which car is best, and for good reason – ahead lay a 1,300 mile journey across India and up into the Himalayas.
The boys head out into the streets of Bombay to get to know their cars. Richard loves the “chunky” power producted from the Mini’s tiny engine, whilst simultaneously wincing in pain from the car’s rough ride – thanks to its lowered suspension. Jeremy feels extremely confident inside the XJS – all the dials are reading as they should, the engine is smooth and every single electric item in the car works. James agrees the 210bhp available in the Rolls is “adequate” and is happy to report that the car has no faults whatsoever. For their first challenge, the boys take on a mission of revolutionising the Indian “Dabbawala’s” – a group of people who deliver hot, home cooked meals from housewives, directly to their husbands at work. Despite over 200,000 tins being delivered every day – only 1 mistake is made for every 6,000,000 deliveries. Rather than delivering the tins by train, the boys decide to deliver them by car to help bring the efficiency up to 100%. Put simply, they fail miserably due to spilt tins and a slow delivery due to traffic jams.
After their dismal failure, the boys have to head north to the city of Jaipur – however instead of driving, the producer decides to put them on an overnight train. The cars are loaded and James queues to buy the tickets – with Jeremy and Richard going to have lunch instead. Over lunch, Jeremy gives Richard a present – in the form of a massive bass guitar. They discuss the idea of having a trade party once they arrive in Delhi and perhaps even resurrecting the Top Gear Band. They purchase a drum kit and a keyboard and then board the train to Jaipur. During the trip, Top Gear’s producer Andy Wilman is roped in to do the vocals – and they hold a practice session much to the dismay of the other passengers. Later on, the boys decide to hang large banners down the side of the train to help advertise Britain as it travels across the country. The banners are created and Jeremy attempts to feed it out one of the side doors, along the side of the carriage – it gets caught on something and is ripped clean out of his hands. At the next stop, the banners are successfully put in place the the train continues on – without James. At Jaipur station, the boys disembark and the train splits – causing the banners to break in half and change their message completely.
Upon unloading the cars, Jeremy and Richard discover that the air-conditioning in the Rolls is actually fully functional – and they proceed to drain the refrigeration gas before he catches up with them all. Outside of Jaipur, the boys find a nice 1 kilometer section of road in the hills, and hold a traditional British Hill Climb event. A group of locals turn up with a selection of vehicles and post their own times on the course – before the boys each have a go. Richard and James hold back, so they didn’t decimate the local’s times. Jeremy however, went flat out and ended up winning the event. Afterwards, they all split up and decorate their own cars. Richard paints the flag of Mexico on the Mini’s bonnet, Jeremy applies floral wallpaper and a boot mounted toilet to his Jaguar – and James fits British and Indian flags along with floral arrangements to his Rolls. The boys then head north to Delhi, to hold their ambassadorial party. The roads are among the most dangerous in the world – and night fell when there was still 80 miles to go until the overnight stopover point. After a nervous 2 hours, they arrive.
The next morning, the road chaos continued – with the only difference being that you could now see what was about to kill you. Eventually they arrive in Delhi and begin to set up the party – which doesn’t go well. The following day, the boys modify their cars further – to prepare them for the journey north into the Himalayas. Jeremy fits chunky off road tyres on his Jaguar, along with open exhaust headers which exit vertically out of the bonnet. James also fitted off road tyres to the Rolls, as did Richard with his Mini – along with a front mounted winch. Jeremy an James argue for an hour about who ruined their car more – before stopping and swapping cars to compare. Jeremy only lasts a few minutes in the Rolls before asking to swap back. Eventually they begin the ascent into the Himalayas and finally find a bit of peace and quiet is found – well until Jeremy rolls through in his Jaguar running an open exhaust. After passing Shimla, the roads turn from bad to worse – and eventually the tarmac disappears all together. The front of Richard’s mini gets ripped off after an attempt to pull James’ Rolls up a steep incline – which later forces the boys to stop early and camp for the night due to him having no headlights.
The next day, Richard mends the Mini whilst Jeremy moans about his poor night’s sleep. After a brief game of Straight Six Cricket, Jeremy, Richard and James reach the Chinese border and have the cars put on giant plinths by the roadside. Jeremy sums up the gesture. “The Mini, the Jag and the Rolls would be mounted on plinths, here, high in the mountains, by the road connecting India and China. So that forevermore people traveling between these two great economic superpowers will be reminded that far away there’s a smile island called Britain. Great Britain.”