Top Gear/Season 10 Episode 7
Episode Seven of the tenth season of Top Gear, and is episode eighty-eight overall.
Guest Stars: Jennifer Saunders
Remembering British Leyland
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May believe some of British Leyland's designs were good. The Top Gear office, however, disagree and had the trio spend up to £1,200 (about $2,400) of their own money on a British Leyland car to compete in a series of challenges. For £1,100 (about $2,260) Clarkson purchased a Rover SD1 with a 3.5 L V8 engine, cruise control that doesn't work, a cassette radio that doesn't work and a sunroof that doesn't work. Hammond chose a Triumph Dolomite Sprint for £1,250 (about $2,500), going over the alloted amount of money. May eventually shows up in an all-brown Leyland Princess. May claims it was modern for its time, but Clarkson points out its hydragas suspension system is leaking, causing the car to lean to the right. The trio are tasked to drive forty miles to receive their first challenge, but Clarkson and Hammond are unable to get their cars started. Eventually they set off, but the throttle on Hammond's car breaks on the highway and Clarkson gets his finger stuck in a hole on his car's hood while waiting for Hammond's car to get fixed.
The trio eventually arrive at the Motor Industry Research Association's test track for a series of challenges in which they can win their money back. The first challenge is a timed lap around a track, attempting to beat the Stig's time of 1.11.0 set in a 69 bhp Datsun 120Y. Hammond's Triumph Dolomite Sprint has twice the horsepower of the Datsun, but can only get it around in 1.16.0. Clarkson sets off next in his 155 bhp Rover SD1, but is a second off the Datsun's lap. May gets lost while driving his Leyland Princess and fails miserably.
The trio's next challenge is to park their cars on a steep hill and get out. If the car stays where it is, then they receive £100. May goes first and successfully completes the challenge. Clarkson goes next, but his Rover SD1 is unable to climb the hill and the tires spin wildly, engulfing the car in smoke. As he couldn't be seen through the smoke, Clarkson claims he succeeded in parking the car. Hammond goes up last and parks his Triumph Dolomite Sprint, but the parking brake gives and it rolls down the hill.
The trio's next challenge is on ride comfort. They're tasked at driving their cars down the rough road test track at 30 mph, but with a colander full of eggs suspended above their heads. Each gram of egg left in the colander is worth £10, but money is lost for each piece of trim lost. May goes first, getting egg all over himself and losing pieces of trim. Hammond goes next, losing a side view mirror, bumper, rear view mirror, sun visor and others bits. Clarkson goes last, losing a passenger door and side view mirror in the process.
The trio's last challenge takes place at Top Gears test track. Showing up in dry suits, they're told their cars will be filled to the top with water and they must drive around the track until the water reaches the bottom of the steering wheel. The person going the farthest is the winner. Hammond sets off first in the Triumph Dolomite Sprint, stopping just before the Follow-through. May goes next in his Leyland Princess, managing to complete a full lap and passing Hammond the second time around. Clarkson is next in his Rover SD1, but the Rover is so leaky they have to use a second hose and then a third hose. Eventually they run out of water and Clarkson is sent off, but another passenger door immediately pops off.
Tallying up the results, Hammond lost £1,010 (about $2,080) and Clarkson lost £978 (about $2,013). May, however, wins as he made £20 (about $41) in the challenge.
Aston Martin DBS V12
Clarkson reviews the Aston Martin DBS V12. Aston says the DBS is a thoroughbred, but Clarkson points out that the engine is in the front, there's ample storage space in the cabin and a lot of space in the trunk. It has adaptive suspension and specially-made Pirelli tires allowing you to fling it around corners with ease, but the DBS doesn't instill in you a sense of terror that a thoroughbred like a Ferrari would. It's not a thoroughbred, but maybe it's a work of art. The DBS looks almost like the Aston Martin DB9 and is only 140 pounds lighter. So it's not a thoroughbred supercar and it's not as good looking as its sister, the DB9. It is a replacement for the Aston Martin Vanquish S? The DBS' V12 engine produces 510 bhp, but that's 10 less horsepower that the Vanquish S' V12 produces. As a result the Vanquish S can go up to 200 mph while the DBS tops out at 191 mph. The interior is marvelous, but Clarkson says it's let down by its key that Aston calls the "Emotional Control Unit". But there's one thing the DBS does brilliantly: putting it into road mode turns it into a stunning grand tourer. It is smooth, quiet and magnificent. Yet there is still a problem. If you want a good-looking and fast long distance cruiser, then why not choose an Aston Martin DB9? It's easier to use, has the same engine, has two more seats and costs £50,000 (about $102,000) less.
The Stig takes the Aston Martin DBS V12 around the test track in 1.27.4 in the wet. But the track dried out before the episode went to air, so Clarkson had the Stig go back out and the Stig took the Aston Martin DBS V12 around in 1.23.9.
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car
This week's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is Jennifer Saunders, an English comedian, writer and actress. Jennifer Saunders races the Chevrolet Lacetti around the test track in 1.46.1.
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