Top Gear USA is back on the air with its fifth season! Wait, no what? Here’s a paraphrased conversation between my friend Brittany and I:
Brittany Frederick: It’s season four, girl.
Me: No. They said so on the thing – season premiere. Hello?
Brittany: What thing? The BBC people told me it’s the rest of season four.
Me: What? Let me check. (Runs off to Bing) Aww, crap.
All righty then so Top Gear USA is back on the air with the continuation of season four!! Please check out my friend, Brittany Frederick online. She’s a talented writer and does some of the best Top Gear USA recaps on the internet. From Adam Ferrara’s gleeful introduction we could tell they had a good time with American Muscle, or as I like to call it Muscle Cars Part 2. Much like the Godfather, the sequel was so much better than the original. For starters – the cars. These lucky ducks rolled into closed-off Gainesville, Florida in three classic resto-mod American muscle cars. As a fan of shows like Overhaulin, they were basically singing the song of my people so far. I recall the giddy responses of Top Gear fans to the classic models in Season 2’s Muscle Cars, as well as the groans when they were replaced by the modern descendants. That certainly wasn’t the case this time around.
Rutledge drove a 1972 Dodge Charger S.E., and thanks to Bill from Tennessee, it now had 560hp and a $90k price tag. Tanner was in a 1967 ford Mustang GT500 bearing Carroll Shelby’s seal of approval. This Eleanor clone had $149k worth of performance upgrades and now put out 500hp. Adam, bless his heart, Adam was allowed behind the wheel of a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro whose owner sunk $150k in to make a 720hp monster. The episode’s challenges would determine who wouldn’t get to go drag racing at the Gatornationals. As the boys set out on a ten-mile drive to their first challenge each expounded on the awesomeness of their cars. With Tanner driving Eleanor, I wondered which of the other two guys would be disgruntled in the last act. They arrived at the Keystone Heights Airstrip and settled in for a refreshed older gag – electrocution. To see who has the best individual reaction time, each driver was timed for a quarter-mile run which included three stops and starts. The steering wheel was electrified and shocked whoever jumped their starts. Simple enough and probably less painful than the last time they did this. Still we weren’t disappointed because it’s always fun to watch them squirm a little bit.
“I’m going to show you how a man does it.” – Rutledge Wood
Their next challenge was one of the nastiest we’ve seen in quite a while, and when I say nasty – I mean nasty. They had to complete a simple slalom course while their cars were filled with flies – from a box of rotting flesh! Ewwwwwwww! This was gross on so many levels. Firstly human beings will instinctively swat anything that buzzes near our faces and flies always go for our faces. Secondly, being shut in a car with rotting flesh? Oh yuck! Thirdly, flies that were grown on and crawling over that rotting flesh going for your face! Fourthly, this still isn’t the worst thing they’ve ever done but was still pretty messed up. On a side note, if I ever have a car featured on Top Gear, I’d make sure they sign a contract to not do yucky stuff like this in it. Blech! However, a second side note of kudos to Rutledge Wood for not getting sick. The last was a car alarm challenge and you’d think that by now Adam and Rutledge would realize that Tanner only suggests challenges he’s almost certainly going to win; but no, they don’t. This demolition of the peace and tranquility in High Springs, Florida was a glorious demonstration of what these cars can do. It also decided who would join Tanner in the Gatornationals at Auto Plus Speedway. What? They gave him Eleanor to drive. You couldn’t possibly be surprised by this. Besides, he cheats is very creative.
The two production cars featured in this episode were the 2011 Dodge Challenger Drag Pack (845hp) and a Ford Mustang Cobra Jet (750hp). Tanner’s faced the ford before in his rallycross car. Poor kid really thought he had a chance. Anyway, it’s always good to see guys who drive amazing cars for a living get genuinely excited like they were in this episode. It also showed how close these men have become over the past few years. Rivalry and jokes aside, they care about each other and will run out of the grandstand without hesitation if one of them is in trouble…again. It was a splendid way to get back to business and give fans an entertaining show. Thanks to the cast for interacting with viewers via social media and making the experience all the more enjoyable. The next episode is ‘80s Power.