With the vast history of motoring in the USA, you would think that we’d be knee-deep in American supercars but that’s sadly not the case. However in this episode of Top Gear USA, they endeavored to prove which presenter chose the best of the American supercars. Watching Rutledge Wood drive a Vector W8 before the opening credits, was more than enough indication that this episode was going to be chock full of sleek, sexy, car porn. The cast congregated at my somebody’s house in Malibu, California. Adam Ferrara was in a 2011 Rossion Q1, Tanner Foust in a 2013 Lucra LC470; and Rutledge in (get this!) a 2003 Saleen S7. Not wanting to alarm my family, I kept the girly squeals to a minimum. What a good-looking line-up! The Rossion looked demure by comparison to the stylish Saleen, while the Lucra was just ridiculous and quite frankly, looked dangerous. Better leave that one for Mr. T. to tame. It’s always fun to watch Rutledge fall out of a supercar, but this was his second ride in two minutes, so the last laugh was already his.
“It was a tuck and roll.” – Rutledge Wood
Their final destination was the Honda Proving Center of California (HPCC) in the Mojave Desert, but their first challenge was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. To see which car was most attractive, each was parked individually to see how many photos were taken by passersby in ten minutes. However, this wasn’t such an easy task since Bijan’s Bugatti Veyron SS was parked on the same street. Thanks to a high-level cloaking/cheating device, the most ordinary-looking car won the photo contest. Although I have a feeling that people were already gathering seeing a film crew and three TV stars standing on the street. If those folks were like the Top Gear fans I know, then they were taking photos of the car just because it was part of the show.
“Let me tell you something. I’ve been upside down in a car many times. You don’t want to do it. – Adam Ferrara“
At the HPCC, it was time to put the cars through their paces. First up was a zero to sixty drag race, three-wide, three-way, car porn. One of my absolute favourite things they do on this show is to have the guys talk or argue while lined up in the cars. We can see them talking in real-time through the onboard cameras, and it perfectly authenticates the on-screen action, as well as their chemistry. The next challenge was a one-mile speed test to see who could get closest to their supercars’ alleged top speed. I was really proud of Rutledge in this segment because he showed confidence in his driving, and has been throughout this season. That being said, all three cars were hauling tail and it was a heck of a good time watching them.
“I feel like I just went to a Mötley Crüe concert. That was deafening.” – Tanner Foust
On the road course, they met the fourth cast member who had a lot of work ahead of him. He’s called The Stig and this is one of those times we’re just delighted to see him! This final test was against their European rivals on the road course. The Rossion was going up against a Ferrari 458 Italia. The Saleen would do battle against the V12 Lamborghini Aventador. The Lucra was going to have to tangle with a Porsche 911 GT3RS. To give the American supercars a fighting chance, The Stig drove them while the cast hopped into the foreign invaders. This led to a battle for the ages – Tanner vs. The Stig, which made Twitter go nuts. It was painful for Mr. T. because a loss was a win but that goes against everything in a race car driver’s brain…unless you’re operating on team orders and that’s hardly ever fun. Still they all failed with flying colours and did their country proud! Yes, that was a monster of an oxymoron if I’ve ever typed one.
“.– …. — .—-. … / -.– — ..- .-. / -.. .- -.. -.. -.– / -. — .– ..–..”– The Stig saying “Who’s your daddy, now?”
Now in a totally backwards way, they ended the show with a test drive of the Mercedes SLS AMG Black. After showing off American supercars, the big finale featured a German one. This is where they should have brought in the film about the Corvette Stingray, or a new one for the Dodge Viper. Hopefully they tried and the deals fell through. The only way this review could have clashed more with the show’s theme was if they showed Tanner Foust bombing around in a minivan. Rant over. Anyway, all the cars in the Black series are for lack of a better word, bonkers. They take a vehicle designed to supply optimum performance and then take it up ten notches.
This was put to the test on southern California’s notorious Highway 74. The goal was to cover ten miles in less than ten minutes, and there are only two men on this show who could possibly pull this off. For the audience’s sake, they went with the one who talks. It was a fancy little film with lots of aerial shots and the soundtrack included a snippet of the German national anthem along with the choir and an orchestra. The final time wasn’t displayed but I’d like to think that he beat the clock even though it was in the rain. Thanks to the cast for live-tweeting with fans and doing their best to make sure we enjoy the show as much as possible. The next episode is Big Bad Trucks.