For some Top Gear on History Channel fans, it’s been a long wait since April 3, 2012 for the Season Three premiere. Whispers about this episode have been in circulation since May 2012 when the Top Gear motorcade was spotted on the road in Detroit, Michigan. The cast have also been tweeting photos for the past few months that have been less like spoilers and more like teasers. One of the first was correctly identified as a police car’s dashboard by an eagle-eyed fan. This Tuesday, the new episode finally arrived and didn’t just start it off with a bang. There were also sirens, bullets, tear gas and lots of smoking tyres as it was all about Police Cars.
In September 2011, the very last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off the assembly line. Henceforth, police departments all over the United States would have to use alternative vehicles to transport and dispense justice. In honour of the Vicky, the boys’ law enforcement adventure began in Detroit, Michigan with the cast cruising around an abandoned factory area in retired Crown Vic police cars. They were enjoying themselves immensely until they faced a formidable foe. It was The (Almighty) Stig in a Honda Odyssey minivan and he was feeling the need to speed. By the way, my sister has one of those and I’m not saying she drives like that but absolutely could if she wanted to. That is all. In a demonstration of how woefully inadequate the old police cars were, the minivan not only out-sped but out-manoeuvred the trio. In a final adieu to the cruisers which apparently weren’t loaners, they boys dealt with them in a manner that hinted at some deep-seated aggression against speed guns and ticket books.
“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden in the front seat of one of these things.” – Adam Ferrara
In an effort to find out which replacement police vehicle would be best, they actually didn’t. This may be Top Gear but nobody is actually effing with the police on the History Channel, not blatantly anyway. Each host picked a car and they went through a series of challenges. The winner would have the final challenge all to himself. Although, when it was revealed, there could have been no other logical choice but I digress. Rutledge Wood introduced us to the 2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV. Adam Ferrara opted for a 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit. While Tanner Foust unsurprisingly brought the 2013 Ford Police Interceptor into the mix, although not having a Ford vehicle would be downright un-American. In case you were wondering, why the names Pursuit and Interceptor seemed so familiar; those were the designations on police cars in that seminal ode to murderous motoring mayhem, 1979’s Mad Max. That was the gritty low-budget classic from way back when Mel Gibson was young, pretty and mostly sane. It says something that the most intimidating name Chevrolet could come up with for their police car was Caprice. I’m not sure what that something is, but if it has to do with world famous lingerie model and businesswoman Caprice Bourret, then they’re right on target. Personally, they might have done better calling it The Earnhardt. I’m just saying.
“Oh God I’m going to throw up.” – Rutledge Wood
At Ford’s Michigan Proving Ground, there was an impromptu drag race because these three can’t seem to help themselves and hooniganism is heartily encouraged in this corner of the Top Gear universe. However, the actual challenge was a 0-100-0 braking test. This was cool but the next challenge at Close Quarters Tactical Facility was one for the history books. In a test of the vehicles’ manufactured toughness, each guy snugly attired in quite unflattering safety gear was locked into their car for five minutes, while it was subjected to a controlled tear gas attack. The loser was the wrecker/expert/driver who couldn’t cope. Quite frankly it was more a test of the cast’s fortitude and mental toughness than anything else. Adam went in with bravado, Tanner was extremely calm and Rutledge was…Rutledge. (Poor man.) The next contest was one of the wildest, most complicated obstacle courses they’ve tackled yet and involved gunfire but not from our guys. Thankfully there was a professional marksman/tough-guy to handle the shooting. All our guys had to do was handle the dressing, eating and driving. Trust me, you’ve got to see it to believe it and this was anybody’s game.
“See yaaa! Yeah, 505 Horse Power!” – Tanner Foust
The show’s grand finale was quite simply one of those Top Gear/Tanner Foust stunt driving films that can leave you momentarily speechless. He played cop in Wake County Police Department’s 2009 Corvette Z06. While professional stunt-rider Ernie Vigil played robber on a Triumph 1050 Speed Triple motorcycle. I don’t know if they dreamed this up before or after Gymkhana 5 came out, but it looked like they enthusiastically picked up what Ken Block put down. The chase was incredibly well shot and edited into a whiteknuckle ride/drive from the beginning near the Los Angeles docks to its superb end across the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles, California. There were moments when it looked like something out of a movie or video game commercial. Trust me, I’ve seen them all more than twice and this segment was nothing more than an unadulterated thrill. Automobile enthusiasts love nothing more than an unadulterated thrill, and indeed I was.
Season Three’s premiere held nothing back. Each of the guys got a chance to win, lose, argue, cheat, complain and remind us why we’ve missed them. Or remind us why we hate them, since the argument of Top Gear UK vs Top Gear US rages on in Quemment sections all across the web. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, Top Gear on History is back and ready to rumble. There’ll be five more new episodes before a break until 2013, when ten more will be unleashed upon us. Adam and Rutledge live-tweeted during the East Coast premiere, then Adam and Tanner spread joy among fans (and stans) during the West Coast airing. Besides that, these hosts have been working their butts off to promote the show and kept fans not only informed but excited about upcoming developments. The next episode is Small Cars and takes the three amigos into the Bayou. Since this is Top Gear, we can be sure that whatever could possibly go wrong…will, in the most entertaining way possible.