Top Gear UK has had a famously long hate-hate relationship with motor homes. This week, Top Gear on History was going to take a far more light-hearted and less disdainful approach to the subject. The hosts’ mission was to design a recreational vehicle that provided both fun and functionality, since out of necessity most RV’s sacrifice the former for the latter. Naturally, their creations would be based on regular vehicles and amusingly ill-suited ones at that. At the Sycamore Lodge camping ground in North Carolina, Tanner Foust was first to introduce his simple design: a 1983 Porsche 928S with a rocket replica attached to the roof. Although the rocket was almost as big as the car itself, the material was very light and it didn’t contain very much. We shouldn’t be surprised since this is the same guy who slept in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car during the Monument to Moab episode.
“Okay just show of hands, who travels with NASCAR every weekend and is always surrounded by RV’s? Oh, that’s right, this guy!” – Rutledge Wood
Adam Ferrara arrived next and apparently had a similar idea, but went far in the opposite direction of Tanner’s minimalist design. His 1973 Buick Centurion convertible carried a replica of the Flatiron Building, which is one of New York City’s landmarks. Of course, they played big band music as his entrance theme because…it’s Adam. His idea of home away from home had two five-foot ceilings with windows all around, a sleep loft, fully-stocked bar, television and toilet. Don’t ask me how the toilet was going to work with no apparent plumbing; but I could only imagine who ridiculous the rent would be if his RV’s living space was an actual apartment in New York City. Just as the guys were arguing about who’s creation was better, Rutledge Wood arrived in a 1989 Honda Civic that he coined the “Mini Winnie”. Rutledge was adamant that ingenuity of his design would be seen when it was time to set up. After the argument reached its peak, the three raced against each other to find their respective camp sites. Kudos to Tanner who made it look like the burnout’s smoke was coming from the rocket’s exhaust. That was cool, goofy but cool. They had a grand time racing through the woods and the other campers weren’t particularly startled. However, it was apparent that Adam’s aggressive driving style could be a real problem.
“My hands are sweating just watching Adam drive that car.” – Tanner Foust
Rutledge expanded his RV and proceeded to bore the other hosts to tears with his set-up, until it was time to leave. Their next challenge was seventy miles away at zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. It was their honour to have a four-way drag race (down and back) with the final spot occupied by an actual RV, the new Newmar Mountain Aire. This may be one of the few times in history that a Buick (carrying a building) gave a Porsche (with a rocket on its roof), some serious competition. In a field quite close to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, it was time to test their RV’s ability to withstand bad weather. They had to change into weather gear in their RV’s living space, while being blasted by three industrial-sized fans which could replicate 80 mph winds and rain. The quickest changer would be the winner. Oh, and the other guys would be throwing various objects into the wind because…well, why not?
“You don’t have to worry, your sheet will protect you…You’re going to be fine.” – Adam Ferrara
It was buh-rilliant! I laughed so hard that my family became concerned, but then remembered that it’s Top Gear Tuesday. Each attempt was wildly hilarious and well worth multiple watches. It also doesn’t hurt that each of the boys flashed us some body parts, although none of it happened by choice, nor were they choice parts. Better than nothing, right ladies *cough* and gentlemen? The guys drove what was left of their RV’s to Speedway, as they were to spend the night on the infield at Redneck Hill during the qualifications. Now, I go to NASCAR races and have seen firsthand, just how much those fans love Rutledge Wood. I mean L-O-V-E, LOVE. The other dudes didn’t stand a chance in a tailgate party contest. It didn’t matter if all Rutledge had was a bag of potato chips because NASCAR fans follow Papa Bear like moths to a flame. Quite frankly, they’re fun-loving folks and Rut’s a fun-loving guy. He’s their guy, and that’s a-okay. It was very cool to see stars Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Kenny Wallace briefly hanging out with the guys. Wallace is also a SPEED Channel on-air personality like Rutledge. There must be so much extra footage from their visits that NASCAR fans would love to see.
The episode’s finale was a Top Gear staple, the six-lap wild race around a track with three RV’s driven by NASCAR drivers. The Italian ‘Mad’ Max Papis was in a 1994 Airstream Land Yacht; Kenny ‘The Hermanator’ Wallace was in a 1998 Fleetwood Flair and finally Hermie Sadler in a 1996 Georgie Boy Pursuit; and finally. I know that fans have been asking to see some of these guys get behind the wheel on this show, and at long last it’s finally happened. However, there’s one driver in particular that I sorely missed during this episode: The Stig. He could have been driving the motor home during the drag race; and most definitely could have been part of this crazy race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Filming of Season Three has ended so there won’t be any studio tapings; Big Star, Small Car or Lap Power Times. However, even in this version of Top Gear, The Stig needs to make more than one appearance. So far in Season Three, he’s only shown up once. Despite the episode’s Stig-lessness, it was highly enjoyable. Although the premise came straight out of Top Gear UK’s playbook (Series 15, Episode 4), the US cast managed to make it their very own.
Filming of Season Three has ended so there won’t be any studio tapings; Big Star, Small Car or Lap Power Times. However, even in this version of Top Gear, The Stig needs to make more than one appearance. So far in Season Three, he’s only shown up once. Despite the episode’s Stig-lessness, it was highly enjoyable. Although the premise came straight out of Top Gear UK’s playbook (Series 15, Episode 4), the US cast managed to make it their very own. Adam and Rutledge live-tweeted throughout the episode. Along with History Channel, they enhanced the fans’ experience and shared fun behind-the-scenes facts. Next week’s episode, on the other hand is still shrouded in mystery except for one frightening scene involving a helmet full of small furry animals. Yikes.