Review of Top Gear on History’s 150 MPH Challenge

Review of Top Gear on History’s 150 MPH Challenge

On this week’s Top Gear on History, they had a need for speed.  Their goal was to show that you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get a car that could crack the 150 mph barrier.  At first it almost looked like we would be finally treated to car reviews, but alas no.  Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust only showed us examples of economical choices for people afflicted with leadfoot syndrome, but without the supercar bank account.  You fooled us, Top Gear!  *fights air* No Stig, no car reviews, how much more of this can we take!?!  Rant, over.  Anyway, in the Mojave Desert, Adam drove a Buick Regal GS, Tanner had a Camaro SS and Rutledge put a Mazdaspeed3 through their paces.  None of these cars have an MSRP over $30k, but their rides for this episode would be of even less value.  They drove the new cars that could definitely reach 150 mph, to meet their chosen chariots that could allegedly reach 150 mph but cost the least.

Screenshot from Top Gear promo for 150 MPH Challenge

Screenshot from Top Gear promo for 150 MPH Challenge

In an interesting twist, Adam opted for a sporty, loud yellow 1995 Pontiac Trans-Am.  Eventually it proved to be loud in an auditory capacity as well.  Rutledge’s choice was very conservative and dare I say, a stately 1995 Infiniti Q45.  He decided to modify it with a nitrous system.  Oh yeah, this is going to be good.  Tanner repped hard for Europe once again and presented a Saab 9-3 Viggen.  For once it looked like his choice was a questionable one.  Who am I kidding?  All their choices were questionable ones.  To make matters worse, the other guys had V8 engines with rear-wheel drive…and he didn’t.  Oh the humanity and in-your-face burnouts!

“You’re going to be like a really fast college professor with eyebrow dandruff.” – Adam Ferrara

At an airport twenty miles away, their first test of the cars’ suitability to reach 150 mph was the acceleration.  Each host outlined the positive aspects of his car and in some cases overlooked glaringly obvious flaws, along the way.  Those flaws were going to become apparent to everyone and soon.  They had to race a flaming arrow over 100 yards that would ignite a pile of boxes, soaked in fuel along with an item that each man held dear.  If after a 500 yard head start, they achieved the correct velocity then a trip wire would douse the boxed with water.  However, if they didn’t then their treasures would be ashes.  Phew!  That was the most complicated set-up I’ve ever had to explain for this show.  Also, the archer looked cool as he hit the target with great accuracy.

“Born ready.” – Tanner Foust

Screenshot from Top Gear promo for 150 MPH Challenge

Screenshot of the archer from Top Gear promo for 150 MPH Challenge

The next test was of high speed stability.  The car that rolled while driving a slalom course at top speed would lose.  Then again, if any of the cars unintentionally rolled while being driven at top speed, should be counted as a loss.  To ensure that there was actual danger, their tyres were replaced with what looked like R12’s.  After that crazy race and congrats to the winner because it hardly ever happens (chin up, dude.); came the bit that might give you musuphobia if you didn’t already have it.  To test the hosts’ ability to drive under pressure, Rutledge was put in a contraption that was more like Fear Factor than Top Gear.  As far as I know, viewers had a strong reaction to it, which is completely understandable.  However, nobody forced Rutledge to put the plastic bowl on his head; and he didn’t stop them after the first pair of rats was put in.  It was a nightmarish stunt but he agreed to it, and as a result, should go down as the bravest host in Top Gear history.  Why you ask?  I have one word for you: leptospirosis.  It’s rare in the US but in my country, folks have been hospitalised because of it and fairly recently too.  Papa Bear, you deserved that win.  Savour that victory forever, man.

Tanner Foust's Tweet dated 03-Oct-2012

Tanner Foust’s Tweet dated 03-Oct-2012

The final challenge was, at long last, the 150 mph run and it took place at the El Mirage Dry Lake.  As the guys assessed the six-mile surface, they suddenly became honest about their chances.  Adam pushed the banana-mobile the full distance and then Tanner proved that his Swedish Steel was speedy too.  Rutledge went last and on paper, seemed most likely to win.  It certainly looked that way as he claimed his prize in Tampa Bay, Florida.  Oh, and what a prize it was!  He had the enviable task of driving a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse to be claimed by a mysterious driver *cough* driver, six miles away.  Fans of the show know this well as the Top Gear stunt that almost didn’t happen, because people swarmed the location to see the car.  Yes the car, because the fans are awesome.

“Oh yeah, the chunky kid from Alabama with bad vision gets to drive a car worth more than $2 million.  Eat that, all the people I went to middle school with, you jerks.” – Rutledge Wood

They were absolutely right because this vehicle is the very definition of car porn.  Hang on, what just happened?  Is Rutledge Wood reviewing the Bugatti Veyron?  Eat that, all the people he went to middle school with, you jerks!  This clearly isn’t a car for regular folks and I think Rutledge was happy to hand it over to his fellow cast member.  That guy was going to discover the top speed on a heavily used public road.  There were cops.  There was a thrilling soundtrack and one very happy driver, who took us all on the ride of his life….yet again.  I can’t remember when watching a car drive in a straight line was so highly entertaining.  Well done.  Next week’s episode is Taxis and has a very funny teaser trailer.  You might see it at the show’s Facebook page, if you’re lucky.

Screenshot from Top Gear on History's 150 MPH Challenge

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse from Top Gear on History’s 150 MPH Challenge

“Who do I have to marry to buy me one of these?” – Not The Stig