The finale of Top Gear on History’s exceptionally long second season had arrived. Unlike recent episodes, that were more challenge-centric; this one had a bit more dimension. It started out with the mission, which was to discern the worst car ever, in the hosts’ opinion anyway. To ensure that these were the most awful rides $1,500.00 could buy, they bought them for each other. This way they could cause each other great distress on the producers’ dime. In a word: brilliant. The competition was to see who could make their vehicle the least odious, with the least appealing ride ‘crowned’ the Worst Car in America. Again, according to a show, where famously winning means nothing and their qualitative methods are loopy at best. Tanner Foust bought a 1977 Ford Mustang II for Adam Ferrara, which trended on Twitter simultaneously as #MustangPhew and #MustangPoo. Adam proudly arrived in a 2001 Pontiac Aztek for Rutledge Wood. While Tanner was last to receive his gift and it was well worth the wait. A 1988 Yugo GV which Rutledge made some effort to acquire. With the trifecta of terribleness complete, it was time for the first challenge.
“The only way you could make this thing more attractive would be to roll it.”– Rutledge Wood
The boys drove their new/old wheels to the Willow Springs Raceway, to do a hot lap. Along the sixty mile drive, there wasn’t much fun to be made of each other’s vehicles, since they were all lousy. Their misery worsened when they arrived to find that it was an exotic car day at the track. Their hot lap was done alongside Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lotuses and other performance vehicles. Those drivers may have wondered if the guys were in the race, to fulfil somebody’s Last Will and Testament…or Top Gear. Soon it was obvious that the boys were more like moving death-traps obstacles along the track, than actual competitors. Luckily, they didn’t stay long enough to cause any deaths or dismemberment. A more-than-tolerable studio bit led the show into what they’re best known for: an auto review. Not just any vehicle, but a limited-edition British supercar called the Noble M600. It was a magnificent machine that Tanner took to the breaking point of good sense, in order to discover its top speed. You see, this supercar lacks the usual features that help less-than-experienced drivers. Put simply, you can’t just put granny behind the wheel like they did in Supercars, unless she really knows what she’s doing.
All right. Let’s put that traction-control button [breathes deeply] back on.” – Tanner Foust
You know that Fiat 500 Abarth TV commercial? It seems that for true drivers, the Noble M600 is the supercar that’ll slap them around while seducing them. Tanner had some trouble talking because the car required so much concentration. The onboard camera placement was excellent. It was impressive to see the scenery through the windshield blur, when he really floored it. There was a half-mile drag race with a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and Audi R8 V10. That was fun to watch, as well as the expensive Top Gear Gymkhana that took place afterwards. At Bruntingthrope, the main event took place. Tanner unleashed the Noble’s beast, the way he did in Season One with the Morgan (Fast in Florida). However, this particular beast had no ABS, stability-control and somewhat negligible traction-control. Thanks to the news, Twitter and Facebook, we know that he didn’t die.
“Come on, Tanner. Rev your engine. Go vroom vroom, vroom vroom!” – Adam Ferrara
The mission resumed with the cast still at Willow Springs but in a very competitive mood. So they decided to plumb the depths of their cars’ lowliness. Adam and Tanner’s race was man versus machine. Tanner had to do a stunt in his car with an extra special caveat. While Rutledge, dear Rutledge had to prove his Aztek’s on/off road capabilities. In a last ditch effort to improve their cars, (feel free to take a moment and cackle here) $1,000.00 of overnight improvements were made before they went to auction. In this series, it’s been comical to watch these guys give or attend a car auction (Used Car Salesmen); and this one was no exception. With not just bragging rights but eternal mockery on the line, they did whatever they could to sell their cars to the highest bidder. The vehicle that sold for the highest amount wasn’t a surprise. However, the treacherous dogfight for second place was. Here’s a clue: Tonya (as in Harding) starts with a T. On a special note, my lovely sister noted that they spent only $500.00 apiece and bought better vehicles in The $500 Challenge.
This week’s celebrity guest for “Big Star, Small Car” was film/television actor and dare I say, cultural icon, Kal Penn. He learned to drive the manual transmission that day and it showed in his lap time. However, he didn’t place last and more than made up for it with a very humorous interview with Adam. Not only did he speak of his love for NASCAR, but also defended his daily driver. I can truly say that it’s the first time, I ever heard anybody talk about their Toyota Prius like that. Hey Kal, I can cook tomatoes chokha and aloo roti from scratch, just saying. Rutledge and Adam were a riot with the viewers on Twitter and Facebook during the episode. Adam even kept it up for two time zones. Tanner is currently in Europe and will be competing in Round 1 of the ERC on April 8th and 9th in Lydden Hill, UK. In all, it was a solid episode to end the season and we hope that there will soon be an official confirmation of Season Three. In the meantime, we’ll just have to be content with re-runs. All episodes are available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.
By the way, if you think I’m kidding, behold: