- Jeremy tests the new Porsche 911 Turbo.
- Richard finds Britain’s biggest car bore.
- James drives the blokiest convertible of them all – the Triumph TR6.
- Challenge: Can the Ford Rally Team change a cars entire driveline faster than a group of girls can get ready for a night out?
- Jeremy power tests the Renault Clio V6.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Ann Robinson.
Jeremy opens tonight’s episode, in what he admits is “all about bloke-ishness”. He continues, “You know the sort of thing – we won’t ask directions, we won’t read instruction manuals. We have a sound recordist who rolled up on a shoot the other day with the front of his car stoved in. Said he’d been on the M6 in a queue of slow moving traffic and he was a bit bored, so he wondered would it be possible to drive with your legs crossed. Now no woman would ever do that! And it’s much the same story with understeer and oversteer – I’ve never had a letter from a girl saying what’s the difference? But, we’ve had loads of letters from blokes asking.” Jeremy hands things over to Richard to explain the difference.
Richard explains that understeer is when “You drive down the road and turn the wheel but the car goes straight on, crashes into a tree and you die.” He then continues, “Oversteer works like this, you drive down the same bit of road, turn the wheel but the back of the car comes around and you go off the road, crash into a tree and you die.” Richard suggests oversteer is best because “You don’t see the tree that kills you.”
Jeremy kicks off the next segment with the new Porsche 911 Turbo, a car which you never knew if it was going to understeer or oversteer, due to it’s rear mounted flat 6 engine. Jeremy thinks that if women ran Porsche, they would have simply moved the engine to fix the problem – but because men run Porsche, they’ve spent the last 40 years stubbornly trying to engineer their way around the problem. Jeremy admits they have cracked it and that the modern 911 Turbo has one of the best handling chassis around. The segment finishes abruptly and James insists there is one more bit of footage that was not shown – Jeremy spinning out at high speed. Jeremy goes on to say the 911 lulls you into a false sense of security, and that just when you’ve gotten comfortable and complacent with it, it’ll kill you. The Stig takes the 911 turbo for a lap on a soaking wet track and returns a time of 1:31.00. Jeremy also shows us the “diet 911”, the 911 C4S. The C4S looks the same as the 911 Turbo, the same excellent chassis and four-wheel drive system, the same brakes and the same sports suspension. The only difference is the C4S is not turbocharged – dropping the power from 420bhp down to 320bhp. But Jeremy suggests it’s still more than fast enough, and that it offers all the looks of the 911 turbo, without the high price tag and the murderous tendencies that the turbo model has.
Richard moves on with their search to find Britain’s biggest car bore – a lot of the letters they received were very good, however there was one that was outstanding. We meet a bloke called Robert, a man who has been building a car in the kitchen inside his house. Robert explains how it happened, “Well, I started to design it there, I sketched it out on a piece of cardboard on the floor. Then the metal got laid on that.. a few bits got welded up and one thing led to another.” The car rather looks like a buggy, and Robert says it’s to be used for drag racing, sprints and hill climbs, plus some speed record attempts. Robert starts the car up and the exhaust blows some of the skirting board off. The main problem is however, is that the car is now too big to get out of the house – Robert hires a handheld circular saw and cuts a piece of the wall out, in order to get the car out. Back in the studio, Jeremy is curious to know if there was a wife involved in all of this. Richard continues, “There was, but unlike the car, the wife did fit through the door quite nicely.”
Jeremy introduces Ann Robinson as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Ann laps a bone-dry track with a time of 1.57.00.
In the news, Jeremy shows us the new Ford Mondeo.. which looks surprisingly similar to the old Mondeo, despite having 1500 new parts. Richard mentions a service that Vauxhall is offering, free 48hour test-drives on the new Vectra – and hands out the phone number you can call to get one. James gives us a run down on some of the amazingly expensive options available on the Volvo XC90. Richard talks about Volvo’s new protection alarm and James shows us some cars with metal folding roofs. Jeremy suggests a man can’t drive a convertible because everyone will see his bald patch or his gut. James interrupts him; “I hate to interrupt but this is quite honestly the biggest load of limp wristed twaddle I’ve ever heard in all my 5 weeks in television. These two are not men – Richard Hammond every morning sticks his head in a bucket of hair product. He’s got a dog but it’s a poodle – and I don’t know what you’re laughing about Clarkson, because you won’t drink brown beer. And this is the man who says “Flatulence, oh it’s not funny” when clearly it is. I am actually the only proper bloke on this programme, I live in a tumbled down house full of old motorbikes, and I think a bloke can drive a convertible, BUT, it has to be the right one.”
The next segment has James out on a miserably wet day driving an old Triumph TR6 – on what he calls “The perfect day for a British sports car.” James thinks it’s one of the blokeiest convertibles ever made. James continues, “What a square head. Look at it – blunt at both ends, thick set.. I reckon if this car went to the lavatory, it’d leave the seat up.” The engine too is a naked straight six with no colour matched caps or the like. James calls on all males to throw away their grooming products and for them to buy a TR6 – and that he sees modern manhood for what it really should be.
Back in the studio, James introduces Insider Dealing, where he mentions it’ll cost at least £10,000 for a good TR6. Relevant deals for various cars are also presented.
Richard moves on with a challenge – could the Ford Rally Team change all the mechanical components on their car in less time than it took a group of women to get ready for a night out. The Ford Rally teams change the entire driveline of the car and drive it away, while the girls are still inside debating shoes. Richard says they ended up packing up all their gear and leaving before the girls had finished.
Jeremy introduces us to the new Renault Clio V6 with a track test. The Clio has a 3.0L V6 mounted in the middle, where the rear seats would usually be. There’s no room in the boot for shopping either. Jeremy goes on, “This is such a blokes car! You start with a practical sensible family hatch back and then fill it full of engine. Who cares that you have to put the baby under the bonnet.” The Clio V6 appears to be terribly impractical on all accounts and the list of equipment seems fairly basic for the £27,000 price tag. Jeremy rationalizes it all though, “This is as mid-engined as a super car, it sounds like a super car, it goes like a super car, so on that basis it becomes the bargain of the century. It’ll do 155mph and out-accelerate the Porsche C4S we looked at earlier. I think it’s fantastic.” Jeremy’s only doubt is that it’ll still be savage once you exceed the limit of grip the Clio has, just like the older models. The Clio understeers as it gets close to the limit, then snaps into oversteer and even a spin once you exceed it. Jeremy suggests the problem is that “It’s French, it’s a surrender monkey. If you show it a difficult corner, it just sort of gives in – sits in a cloud of it’s own smoke with its hands up.” The Stig takes the Clio V6 for a lap around the soaking wet track but manages a respectable 1.36.20 – exactly the same time as an Aston Martin Vanquish in the same conditions.
Stig Power Laps
Porsche 911 Turbo
Renault Clio V6
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car