Tag Archives: the stig

Top Gear America Episode 2: Movie Magic [Review]

This weeks episode of Top Gear America is all about famous cars, what makes the “coolest” car, and look at some amazing movie tricks.

The first scene features one of the most iconic movie cars of all time. The classic 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt.   The segment, done by William Fichtner, much like in the first episode, is fantastic. Fichtner seems like the most natural person to pair with a vehicle like the Bullitt Mustang and the entire film is just that, natural, authentic, and a pleasure to watch.

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The special guest for this week’s episode is one of the stars of The Blacklist, Ryan Eggold. The show continues the awkward guest drive in by The Stig, but the interview itself is quick, to the point, and a huge improvement over Top Gears of the past.

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The second segment of the show features an Italian beast and the America drag racer, Antron Brown. Antron has chosen to showcase the beautiful Lamborghini Huracan Spyder. With the amazing sound and stunning good looks of the Huracan there’s very little not to like about this film. While Antron is still not the greatest presenter, always coming across as trying just a little too hard, the segment itself is still very good. With little in the way of scenery to distract away from the Lamborghini, it’s all eyes on the bull.

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As the segment progresses we’re introduced to an even more amazing machine, a $250,000 camera which is placed on a crane, which is then attached to a blacked-out, 580 horsepower, Cadillac  CTS-V wagon called the Ultimate Arm. The film rig is exceptionally high end and able to capture the highest quality video in almost any condition.

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filmrig12 But wait! That’s not all that’s in this segment. There’s an even cooler Ultimate Arm! This one, an off-roader with a 650 horsepower motor, allows for the same amazing film capabilities in rough and uneven terrain without breaking a sweat.

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What? Two amazing film cars and a Lamborghini Huracan Spyder aren’t enough for you? Well how about a professional dirt bike rider as well!  Top Gear piles on the action with the film buggy chasing down and filming this pro rider and of course, it looks amazing.

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The show isn’t done with the Huracan though, The Stig takes the Huracan (albeit the all-wheel drive model) around the all new Top Gear test track. So is it faster than the NSX from Episode 1? Any bets? Spoiler alert! The Huracan manages to set a blistering lap time of 1:10:47! Nearly three seconds slower than the Acura NSX,! Ok, so night quite blistering, but still pretty quick. Are you surprised?

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Fichtner is back in another segment following The Stig’s lap. This time he shows us an American classic, the 1955 Cadillac Convertible. Will does an amazing job of taking us down memory road. He gives us a bit of personal backstory, some American history, and as is quickly becoming tradition, an amazing narrative overall. The segment is a must see for anyone who’s a fan of classic cars, Americana, and beautifully restored Cadillacs.

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Carrying over from the initial interview, the show continues with the rest of Ryan Eggold’s interview before his lap in the Top Gear Honda Civic. Ryan gives an excellent interview and we’re sure all fans of Top Gear and The Grand Tour are really going to appreciate the new interview format that Top Gear America has decided to go with. It’s the direction the BBC (and lets be honest, Amazon) should both have gone long ago.

Ryan’s lap starts off pretty rough, but comical, and he doesn’t improve much through the rest of the lap. He does deserve praise for keeping a smile on his face the whole time, but a racecar driver he is not. While there isn’t much to learn from his technique, his segment is a must see for a good laugh.

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Picking up with the next scene, we have all three hosts in a classic Top Gear challenge segment learning to become 70’s stunt drivers. It’s a bit odd not seeing or hearing about the producers forcing the hosts to complete the channel, but new fans of the show won’t know any better.

Their first challenge? Complete a bootlegger turn. A bootlegger turn is one where you drive straight, pull the e-brake to lock up the rear tires, turn 180 degrees, and power out back the way you came. All three hosts manage to get this one done. This segment is great thanks to some humor, a lack of that “overly-scripted” feeling, and obviously, car stunts.

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Moving on to the second stunt, the boys now have to complete a reverse 180 flick. This stunt is when you put the car in reverse, drive at speed, crank the wheel from 3 to 6, and turn it around putting the car into gear and drive away.

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The final stunt of the segment calls for the hosts to drive down the street and perfectly slide into a parallel parking spot without crashing into the barriers on either side which are of course, baskets of fruit. While this may sound like a good premise, unfortunately the stunt is underwhelming which makes for a rather disappointing end to an otherwise solid episode.

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Top Gear America is still up and running strong and it looks like the first episode may not have been a fluke after all.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments!

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The Stig Takes on The Dodge Viper ACR Around The Top Gear Track

If you’re any kind of a petrolhead than you know that the Dodge Viper has always been a car notorious for being a handful to drive, especially in the hands of someone lacking in experience. In this case, the car couldn’t be in better hands, as the person behind the wheel is none other than the infamous Stig. Taking the newest and most track-focused edition of the Viper, the ACR or American Club Racer, if you’re so inclined, around the Top Gear test track the Stig was able to push the car into one of the top five spots of the fastest cars to ever go around the Top Gear track.

While the Stig was able to put down an impressive time, judging by what we can see from the in-car footage it was anything but a walk in the park. The Dodge Viper ACR boasts nearly 650 HP with a curb weight of only about 3,400 lbs. That’s a recipe for a handful in any car, but the Stig manages to charm the snake and it’s powerful V-10 engine in spectacular fashion. Check out the video below!

Now that’s driving! Did you flinch when he hit that corner too? That had to have hurt the ol’ keister just a bit.  If you’re wondering, the lap time was an impressive 1.15.1. With so many lap records to its name, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Viper did so well on the Top Gear track, but it’s always a pleasure to see what such a great driver can do with a car that has so much potential.

For more on Top Gear, The Grand Tour, and all things automotive keep it tuned to Grand Tour Nation!

Source: Top Gear/BBC

Top Gear Season 23 Finale Review; Episode 6

The Season Finale

Chris Evans may be gone but this season of Top Gear continues, and therefor so do our reviews. The show opens with a review of the all new Acura/Honda NSX. The segment is headed by Chris Harris. Chris travels to the USA to test drive #0000. Unfortunately the car is tested in less than ideal conditions, but the segment is still exciting due to the subject at hand, which is lucky for us because as usual Harris is anything but. It will be a bit of good news for car lovers, that the NSX receives overall positive feedback. To quote Harris,  ” If you want it fast and brilliantly engineered, at last, you can go back to Honda.”

Moving on the Stig is given the NSX to take around the track following the now routinely brutal Stig intros. The car makes an admirable time, but you’ll have to watch to see it, no spoilers here folks.

The next segment features Rory Reid taking both a classic and the new Mustang GT and Ecoboost for a drive. The scenery is breathtaking which it’s Top Gear, so of course it is. The review focuses on the fact that for the first time in five decades Europe gets a right hand drive Mustang. He gets a few facts about Mustangs incorrect, such as saying it’s the first Mustang with an independent rear suspension, but overall he does a decent job of it. It is however, towards the bottom of the list if you were rating his segments thus far.

 

The star in a rally car segment features Patrick Dempsey and Greg Davis. The stars are some of the better stars to appear thus far, with a good bit of comedy between the two, but the terrible structure of the segment since the reboot does its best to ruin it. While the comparison of each driver is admittedly very one sided, they both put forth a good showing on the track even on a very wet, very muddy day.

The stars are followed up by Matt taking his turn at the Porsche 911 R. The car is unsurprisingly brilliant, but what else would it be? The car is taken around the Top Gear test track and Matt falls in love with it more than he was before he drove it.

There is an unexpected surprise though. The Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

While Matt decides it’s best not to race the RS ( driven by the Stig ) he attempts to make the point that the RS is somehow not a driver’s car and the R is. There is more than a few people I know who would argue otherwise. The segment is Matt’s best so far even if his opinions may be misguided ( or downright wrong ) . There’s also a bit of an Easter egg for fans of Matt in Friends.

*Side note: it is brilliant watching the GT3 RS hoon around the track.

Going into the next segment, Chris Evans takes us through a bit of history on British cars before introducing us to a classic Aston Martin which has been thoroughly “blueprinted” or updated, much like Singer does to Porsche classics.  He then introduces a similar vehicle in a new Jaguar E-Type. Both cars, he points out are outrageously expensive.

Chris then showcases the modern MGB Roadster for the economical price of $100,000. The segment is, much like Leblanc’s, perhaps Evan’s best thus far is the series. He does seem to be more in his element. Perhaps it is the cars and subject matter in general, perhaps just a lucky strike. Either way, with Chris out the Top Gear door, we will probably never know.

 

The show ends with all six ( yes, don’t forget there are six ) hosts competing in a long jump challenge using the shows Mini.

The typical cheating and underhandedness one would expect is of course ever present, but what isn’t are the jumps… at least at first. The terrible jokes and setups, those are also here. Much like Top Gear itself, the the segment basically falls flat on its face from the very start, and the following picture pretty much sums everything up perfectly…

Naturally,