In this episode of Top Gear on History called Doomsday Drive they tried to benefit humanity with their automotive knowledge and experience, by designing a vehicle that would help the last of mankind survive an apocalypse. They met up in California and Tanner Foust drove what may have been smart money: a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. It was big, awesome and ready for war. I’ve been in one of those things and it makes feel like you’re ready/up for anything. Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara were very impressed but the mighty MRAP’s mighty price tag was beyond their budget. They adopted a three-pronged research attack for a more viable alternative.
“So Josh, is it true that you can drink your own urine?” – Rutledge Wood
Tanner bombed around in the MRAP to discover the secrets of its performance. Adam pursued weaponry by trying out different weapons; while Rutledge went far off the beaten path to interview a survivalist or prepper named Josh, in pursuit of defensive tips. The prepper seemed to be an okay guy, but eventually Rut got creeped out. The man in plaid decided to walk back to civilization with nothing but a bottle of water…and film crew who were taping him. We weren’t born yesterday, Top Gear. I wonder if they retrieved the GoPro camera attached to Josh’s windshield. I wonder if they paid him with cash or canned food.
Anyway, the guys were given a 2001 Toyota Camry LE to make apocalypse-ready. It’s not surprising since on The Walking Dead, they’re all driving average vehicles. Then again, I’m qualifying the producers’ choice by comparing it to a TV show where they’re apparently in a parallel universe, because nobody calls the zombies, “zombies” and the nerdy dude doesn’t know what to do in a zombie apocalypse. The next day (allegedly), the guys came back to see their newly reborn Franken-Camry. Honestly it was quite intimidating to behold, except for the magic eye 3D livery plastered all over the body. In a way, it did the job because I was certainly confused by it, clashing with the huge tyres Tanner put on it. He had the chassis switched out with one for a Ford F150 (Ford Racing needs to give that dude a bonus) to give the car superior off-road capabilities. In conjunction with the saw blades and catapult that Adam had attached; this mid-sized sedan was now ready for full-sized survival. There are other ‘improvements’ that you’ll have to see them for yourself. My favourite was the electric fence, because electricity is so much fun when put in the wrong hands. Remember Muscle Cars?
“I actually see Nancy Pelosi.” – Adam Ferrara
Now that they had a concept car, it was time to verify the concepts. Each aspect: defence, weaponry and performance was tested by the other hosts. Adam and Tanner had two minutes to get into the car. The electric fence was proved to be a problem. Then they drove thirty miles away, to the site where Adam’s weapons would be tested. The Franken-Camry stuck out on the public roads like a fox in a chicken coop. At a remote location, a number of targets were set up for Adam to eliminate with the catapult. The ammunition comprised of watermelons and cans of soup, which people would probably kill for in an actual apocalypse. Eventually, it was left to Tanner (who was driving) to eliminate them. He remained in the driver’s seat for a half-mile dirt track lap. Rutledge and Adam were standing so close to the last jump, and didn’t even flinch when Tanner stopped the vehicle right in front of them. That’s some serious trust, people.
“Recalculating…recalculating…recalculating….” –Top Gear’s GPS
At an abandoned industrial park, their first group challenge made them navigate the Apoca-Camry in the dark. It was still daylight, so the windows were blacked out. All three strapped in (for dear life) and set out on their 2.5 mile journey. They hadn’t even pulled off when it became apparent that they were already suffering from some kind of claustrophobia. There was yelling, screaming and these guys who are all very smart, started to make some very poor decisions. The first poor decision was to disregard the GPS by driving too fast, and then it all went downhill after that. Watching them freak out was only exacerbated by the night-vision being employed. Man, this is one time I most definitely wouldn’t want to be in a car with these dudes.
The final test took place at the abandoned town of Eagle Mountain, California. You may remember the locale from Season Two’s Hollywood Cars. It featured a battle between Tanner in a rally-prepped 2011 Subaru STI against Cam Sinclair on a Yamaha YZ250. This time around, the challenge required them to use all their post-apocalptic/stuck-in-a-modified-Camry skills, engineering and otherwise against the seldom seen, fourth cast member, The Stig. Yeeees, The Stig is back! Stiggy we missed you so! They had to drive through the town towards the water tower, but stop along the way for supplies and a jail break. The Stig gave chase in a Lincoln that had seen better days. I’d like to say that it was amped up, but the Camry didn’t have any special engine tuning, so the Lincoln probably didn’t need anything other than a stock motor to catch them. It came down to driver versus driver, and that was pretty darned spectacular. I’m not too sure they’re capable of rescuing anybody but it was fun to watch them try.
“Just not near the spinal column! If you’re going to shock me, shock my toe.” – Tanner Foust
Their mission was to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they had taken an ordinary Camry, and made a vehicle that could survive the end of the world. I’m not quite sure they did, but it was a still a pretty good episode. It had its merits and was fun to watch, but it wasn’t the best episode I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the worst episode, but it was perfunctorily entertaining. Perhaps the best part was the return of The Stig. Perhaps, it was all to accommodate the return of The Stig. Who knows? Next week’s episode is titled Mammoth Mountain. The trailer is intriguing and I hope they have insurance.