The Grand Tour (2016) s03e14 Episode Script

Funeral for a Ford

1 (ENGINE REVVING) (TRAIN WHISTLE BLASTS) (CHEERING) Hello.
- Hello.
- Hello, everybody.
Hello.
(CHEERING AND WHISTLING) RICHARD: Hello.
Thank you.
And - thank you - and coming up in this never-to-be-forgotten show Richard operates a bat James sits in a car humming (HUMMING) and I park outside a cathedral.
- (CHEERING) - Thank you so much.
Exciting stuff.
Now, this is this is a bit of a Ford-based show.
Because we were staggered to hear the other day, that they're thinking of pulling the plug on the Mondeo.
Now this is enormous news.
In Britain, losing the Mondeo is a bit like Well, losing the Royal Family.
And if that happens, someone would make a documentary about them.
Quite.
Which is why we decided this week The Grand Tour should make a documentary about the passing of Ford's medium-sized family saloon.
- It's exciting stuff.
- (LAUGHTER) The Mondeo story actually begins way back when the world was black and white, with this - the Ford Cortina.
This is Genesis, the first chapter in easily the most important book in British motoring history.
It came along in 1962 and apart from the CND rear lights, it was nothing special.
It wasn't revolutionary like the Mini.
It was just an ordinary family saloon.
Ford therefore decided that to put it on the map they'd mount an assault on the world's racetracks.
Which meant creating a high-performance version.
The world's first ever fast Ford.
And this is what they came up with.
(ROAR OF ENGINE) Life doesn't get much better than this.
Cadwell Park, sunny day Mark One Lotus Cortina.
This thing is a riot.
(DRONE OF ENGINE) It had a revolutionary twin-cam 1.
6 litre engine.
(CHUCKLING) Which sounds like a murder of mad bees.
(ENGINE REVS) It revved like hell.
All the way to 8,000 RPM.
And produced 105 horsepower.
Ha-ha, ha-ha! Oh, wow! The result was some spectacular performance.
The road cars would do 108 mph.
And in race trim that shot up to 145.
That was the stuff of spaceships back then.
And best of all if you were really on it, it would lift the front wheel in the corners.
(TYRES SCREECH) On the downside it didn't stop properly and there was very little grip.
So it was an over-steer mentalist.
It was also astonishingly brittle.
Autocar magazine ran one for a year.
29,000 miles.
And in that time, it needed six rear axles and three sets of rear suspension.
And probably a whole load of new half-shafts as well, because they were made from chocolate.
But it didn't matter.
Because the Lotus Cortina wasn't designed to last a lifetime.
It was designed to last about 40 minutes.
Because that is how long a race lasted.
Back in the early '60s, saloon-car racing in Britain was just about the most exciting motor sport the world had ever seen.
The massive American Fords would roar down the straights and then in the corners the army of Minis would be right back at them.
It was beautiful, snarling chaos.
(CRASHING) But when the dust settled, it was the Lotus Cortina that was doing the winning.
- It actually won the Championship in 1964 - (APPLAUSE) and it didn't only shine on the tracks.
In 1966, it won the RAC Rally of Britain.
They even drove one down the bobsleigh run in the Italian resort after which the Cortina had been named.
REPORTER: Here's what the famed bobsled run looks like from the driver's seat of the world-famous Cortina.
JEREMY: At this point in history, rationing had only just given way to The Rolling Stones.
- (SCREAMING) - Hemlines were going up and all kinds of groovy stuff was going down.
And the glamorous Cortina caught the mood of the moment perfectly.
It was exciting.
The first car ever that made the ordinary family man feel special.
Like he wasn't just a downtrodden cog.
And it was the same story with the Mark II Cortina.
And the Mark III.
(CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS) The result was spectacular.
One car in every three sold in the UK was a Ford.
And one in ten was a Cortina.
Everyone I've spoken to while I've been preparing this film has said the same thing.
"Oh, yeah, my dad used to have one of those.
" I mean, on the crew here, whose dad had a Cortina? Ha! Look at that.
It's everyone.
Apart from the director, obviously, who has a double-barrelled name, so his dad had a Range Rover.
But anyway the point is, these were the best-selling cars Britain had ever seen by miles.
(ROCK INSTRUMENTAL) Of course it wasn't all rampant sexism and hilarious handling that Ford used to make a name for its family saloon.
There was some important business stuff too.
(TICKING) Back in late-1960s Britain, if you earned £3,000 a year the government would take 41% of it away in tax.
So, to get round this problem, a lot of companies paid their staff a bit less, but then to make up the difference they gave them a car.
And that wasn't subject to any tax at all.
JEREMY: Ford cottoned on to that.
And came up with a variety of trim levels to suit the typical management structure.
There was a base model for the sales rep.
And the L for the sales manager.
Then you had the XL with a clock and a locking glove compartment for the sales director.
And the powerful G for the managing director.
Ford's badging policy quite literally changed the class system in Britain.
Because we used to judge people on how they held their knife and fork, or whether they said toilet or lavatory.
But after the Cortina came along, it was all based on what it said on your boot lid.
Our dads understood what these badges meant.
And boy, oh, boy, so did we.
HOVIS THEME TUNE You join me in Doncaster outside my old school.
And I remember very clearly coming out of that door one afternoon in 1969, skipping along here, coming round this gatepost here, and I noticed that parked over there was a 1600E - an E - in amber gold.
Just like that one.
And in it was my dad.
And that was impossible.
The E was the absolute king of the hill.
It had four dials set into its wooden dash.
It had a leather and aluminium steering wheel.
And on the outside there were Rostyle wheels and front fog lamps.
It was beautiful and wondrous and exciting beyond words.
(FLASHBULB POPS) I can still remember now, vividly, how I felt.
My knees actually buckled.
I mean The hairs on the back of my neck are rising now in exactly the same way as they did on that autumn day 50 years ago.
I can also remember the enormity of the hug I gave my dad, cos I was just so proud of him.
I mean, he had an E! An E stood for Executive.
My dad had a 1600E.
I mean, that meant he was better than the Duke of Edinburgh.
(CHORAL SINGING) A few years later in South Wales, another young boy called James May went through the exact same thing.
I was at my mate Andrew Jones's house, just up the road from ours, when his dad came in and said that my dad had just arrived home and he had a new car.
So, I went outside and there parked next to the kerb, was a brand-new Cortina GXL.
And I thought, "Well, that can't be my dad's new car.
" But it was.
This was the all-new Mark III Cortina.
And, because it was the GXL model, it had chrome strips on the grille, and a vinyl roof.
And four auxiliary dials that were angled towards the driver.
It also had something called a rev counter, and I'd never seen one of those before.
But when I looked at it, I suddenly became aware that my body could produce semen.
Unfortunately, not all children in Britain were as fortunate as James and me.
Because some of them were born in Birmingham.
And you couldn't really have a Ford here because this was the home of British Leyland.
RICHARD: I grew up here on this street.
And I remember the day my dad came home with our new car.
I prayed it would be a Cortina.
Literally prayed.
But it wasn't.
(DRAMATIC MUSIC) What it was was a shoulder-sagging bag of disappointment called the Austin Allegro Estate.
It doesn't even have four doors.
What was my father thinking? Why did he do that to us? I fell to my childish knees, threw my head back and I howled at the sky.
Birds across Birmingham took off.
Deer in Stratford-upon-Avon looked up.
Such was my horror.
This was the summit.
This was it! This is the best that we, the Hammonds, could do.
We lived in suburbia.
People drive past all the time.
They see your car.
They judge you if have a wishing well or a gate.
We had this! On our drive! Where people could see it.
Because my dad had the GXL he got the brake servo and the alternator as standard.
I'm sorry to keep banging on about this GXL thing, but my mate Lonnie, his dad only had an XL.
So he was scum.
I walked home from school.
That wasn't cos I wanted the exercise.
That's because I would rather walk or hop or crawl 30 miles than be seen getting into that.
It's cars like this, it's secrets, dark secrets like this lurking in people's pasts that creates serial killers and psychopaths.
It's a bloody miracle I'm not one.
It's not being short that makes me an angry man, or being born in Birmingham, it's this! It's you! - (SMASHING) - I could have been great, I could have had dignity, social standing.
I could have mattered.
But you came into my life My dad bought a Mark III Cortina because he had three children and he wanted them to be safe.
And he knew they would be safe, because Ford had made a film telling him so.
We've got the teddy bears in, we've got the golf clubs.
- (CHILD CRYING) - We've got the racing car.
And if you don't happen to carry those things but you have a bigger family, you can pack those in as well.
Even with five children in the back, you can drive in a more or less relaxed fashion, safe in the knowledge that they're kept in the four-door Cortina with child-proof safety locks.
I've never driven one of these before, and to be honest, I never wanted to, because that really would be meeting a childhood hero.
I love it, though.
It's (CRIES OUT) You can see even better now, can't you? What about this one? That's it.
(INSECTS CHIRRUPING) (OWL HOOTS) Back in 1974, we used to have regular power cuts because of the miners' strike, and there was absolutely nothing to do in our completely pitch-black house.
So I used to go outside and sit in my dad's car and just pretend to drive it, which was brilliant.
Not least because you could turn the light on, which you couldn't do in the house.
(HUMS) Lights.
(HUMS) (CONTINUES HUMMING) Oh, I used to love the power cuts.
Outside of Birmingham, then, everyone young and old was in love with Ford's four-door saloon.
Because of this love affair, Ford sold a Cortina somewhere in Britain every 47 seconds.
In 20 years, they sold 2.
6 million of them.
And let me put it this way: British Leyland took twice as long as that to sell half as many Minis.
(UPLIFTING CLASSICAL MUSIC) The Cortina then had become a part of the fabric of Britain.
It was the nitrogen of our existence.
But, on 22nd July 1982 Ford pulled the plug.
(MUSIC DISTORTS AND SLOWS) And that was the end of that.
(CHEERING) - Sad story of the Cortina.
- Yeah, it is.
- But it's a great story.
- It goes on.
- Yeah.
- Do you feel better? - Um yeah.
A bit.
- That's good.
I just want to do I just want to do one thing.
Can I just ask, how many people's dads here had Cortinas? This is Look at that.
JAMES: Yeah.
That's an astonishing array, isn't it? - Amazing.
(CHUCKLES) - Yes, it is.
It makes me feel really Just to put some perspective on this.
- Ford sold 2.
6 million Cortinas.
- Hm.
Austin (CLEARS THROAT) - sold 57,000 Allegro Estates.
That's it.
- (LAUGHTER) - It's a shame one of them was to your dad.
- You're damn right! It ruined my life.
Anyway, we shall pick up the Ford story later on.
But now it is time for us to deploy the plastic bag of chat, to scoop up some dog eggs of debate - (LAUGHTER) - from the pavements of Conversation Street.
(MELLOW JAZZ SEGUES INTO TECHNO) (BURST OF SAXOPHONE) (CHEERING) JEREMY: Wow.
- I don't know.
I don't know.
- Whatever it was.
JAMES: Er Now actually, despite the incredible snazziness of those graphics, we don't actually have time - for traditional Conversation Street this week.
- No.
Because we are engaged, as we said, - in important documentary-making work.
- We are.
Which is why I would like to talk about - body-coloured bumpers.
- Ooh! - I think you should.
- Yes, I will, because in the old days, if you were driving up the motorway and a car came up behind you, and they had bumpers the same colour as the car, and you only had black plastic bumpers, you knew you had to get out of the way.
- You did.
- They were better than you.
Yeah, they were better than you because of that.
What if you were driving up the motorway, looked in the rear-view mirror, OK, and you saw the car behind had head restraints? (BOTH GASP) Honestly, head restraints, I used to look at those in the way people these days look at superyachts.
They were simply unattainable.
I mean, you could not These were the symbols of rank.
I mean, if you had a sun roof JEREMY: Oh! You were an emperor.
(LAUGHTER) What if it was an electric sun roof? Oh, my God! You were probably from space, you were a space emperor! Let me see if I can explain this in a language people under 40 understand, OK? It's the same as going for a job, OK, and your boss saying, "We're gonna give you a pay cut, but we're gonna give you a phone, OK? And this phone you can use to make calls, and then if you work really hard for a couple of years, we'll give you an iPhone L, and you can use that to make texts as well.
And then if you stay with us for 30 years, and you never put a foot wrong, you can have an iPhone GXL.
" Because that's what I mean, I have no idea which one this is.
- No, is it a 7, an 8, a 9? I don't know.
- No, you don't know.
But the thing is, under 1970s rules, you would have known, because that would have had a great big chrome GXL badge on.
And a chrome strip round the outside and fog lights here.
- Yeah, exactly, so you would know.
- They were the badges of rank and everybody could see them.
That was the world we lived in.
My dad, right, when he had the 1600E, he had a minor front-end biff in it, yes? The local Ford garage replaced the damaged grille with one from a 1600 Super.
And my dad said, "Oh, it doesn't matter.
" But it did! It was more important than the Vietnam War! - I mean, it - You were being being publicly humiliated.
People were going, "You haven't got a 1600E, there's chrome" It is a 1600E! "You just put fog lights on.
" We haven't! - We've really got one! - These things mattered so much.
- Oh, they really did.
- Didn't You had a 1600E? Oh, we did.
No, ten years after my dad sold his, I bought one.
- Well done, that was imaginative.
- It was Says the man whose first car was? - Toyota Corolla? - It was a Liftback, actually.
Yeah, but my 1600E, I modified it, and put I put a Debbie Harry badge in the middle of the steering wheel.
- (LAUGHTER) - Fur-lined doors - Ooh! - Wolfrace seats And a chromed sports air filter, which I told me mates, "That gives extra 40 horsepower, that does.
" It didn't.
Not really.
- But I told my mates it did.
- Do you know what you did there? - What? - By fitting those extra bits like the sports air filter onto your car, you were effectively calling yourself Jeremy Clarkson OBE - when you didn't have one.
- It is a bit like that.
With those fur-lined doors you had interfered with the class system.
Mm, mm.
But let's not forget, shall we, you modified your Corolla by driving it into a Volvo.
- Yeah, I did.
- (LAUGHTER) I did do that, it was my first crash.
- The first of many.
- Yes, all right.
Yes.
- Rather set the trend for your life, didn't it? - I got the hang of it.
- Yes.
Yes, OK.
- "I like crashing, I'll make a living out of this.
- There I go again.
" - And I did.
(LAUGHTER) JEREMY: Exactly.
Oh, God.
Do you know, I've I've never actually owned a Ford.
- What, never? - No.
That's like saying you've never owned your own pen.
I've never bought a stamp.
- I mean, even I have managed to own a Ford.
- Really? After I left Birmingham, I moved on, and I had two.
But sort of in the same car.
The front front of one and the back of the other joined.
- It was absolutely hopeless.
- Were they the same colour? Well, when I bought them, broadly similar, yes, they were.
Look, this is, it's not really Conversation Street, is it? - No.
- It's more Memory Lane.
Anyway, we now have to get back to the Cortina.
Yes, we do, because when it was killed off in 1982, Ford didn't give up on the idea of a multi-million-selling medium-sized family saloon, they came up with a replacement.
It was called the Sierra.
Here is a picture of it.
And, to begin with, - it was a bit of a lemon, wasn't it? - It was.
When it came out, everybody said they hated its kind of futuristic, aerodynamic shape.
They said it looked horrid, like a jelly mould.
And then everybody worked out the aerodynamics didn't even work.
No, it turned out in a straight line it was fine, but when it got hit by a crosswind, or would overtake a truck on the motorway, it would veer about like a drunk.
Yeah, another problem was the motor trade hated it because that plastic front end, if you had a crash, it would boing back into shape, which was brilliant.
But you didn't know that everything behind it was actually smashed to pieces.
Now, Ford decided there was only one way to get everybody to fall in love with its new mid-sized family saloon.
It was something they'd done before.
Make a fast version.
RICHARD: What they came up with was this the Sierra RS Cosworth.
A car that could do 150 miles an hour.
(ENGINE REVS) (TYRES SCREECHING) It was 1986.
Lots of cars could do 150, but not a Ford.
That was madness.
BMW and Mercedes could not believe it.
This was the gardener coming into the parlour and kicking the baron's teeth out.
The blue-bloods were being absolutely battered by this - the blue-collar worker.
(ENGINE REVS) The Sierra's muscle came from Cosworth.
The British engine builder whose most famous Formula One V8 had taken a staggering 176 Grand Prix victories.
They took a drab, cast-iron saloon car engine and fitted it with an aluminium twin-cam head, a turbo the size of a dustbin, and turned it into a masterpiece.
It was built to be a hard-working unit, this.
As you can tell.
The interesting thing about this engine, is if you look carefully you can see there's a second set of injectors that weren't actually connected to anything.
They were installed because Ford knew they'd be necessary when they did what they always did with their family cars go racing with them.
With those injectors engaged, and bigger turbos fitted, the race cars were churning out a massive 525 horsepower.
They were unstoppable.
COMMENTATOR: The Ford Sierra Cosworth, the top touring car of the day.
RICHARD: In its day, the Sierra won 84% of races it entered.
84%.
And that makes it the most successful racing car ever made.
I'd love to meet a driver who raced one and didn't win.
"Right, so I had absolutely the best tool for the job, and everyone else has won with it except me.
I'm fired, aren't I?" To keep the road-going rocket ship pointing mostly in the right direction, it got beefed-up suspension, a limited slip diff, and its most famous feature that massive back wing.
And that wing says everything about the Cosworth.
Compared with grown-up things from Mercedes and BMW, it said, "Ah, sod off! I don't care what you think about me.
" (TYRES SCREECH) But it was also there for a reason, to make actual downforce.
Which, according to men called Gav in every flat-roof pub in the country, meant the Sierra could drive upside-down on the roof of a tunnel.
I'm not sure about that.
This thing is still pretty lively.
(TYRES SCREECHING) Ha-ha, ha-ha! It brings out the worst in you.
This is like a really bad mate.
You know, the one you absolutely love but nobody appreciates you hanging around with him.
Cosworth turned the Sierra into one of the most desirable cars on the planet.
And because it only cost 17 grand, six grand less than a BMW M3, your local builder could have one.
(ENGINE REVS) However, while everyone wanted Ford's latest working-class hero, not everyone was prepared to pay for it.
- Joy riders - Joy riders Joy riders in a stolen Sierra Cosworth driving around a Newcastle housing estate The high-performance vehicle is the twoccer's favourite.
(SMASHING) (POLICE SIREN WAILS) In the late '80s, car crime saw a massive spike.
And the Cosworth was at its tip.
(WINDSCREEN WIPER SQUEAKING) Here was a car with the performance of a supercar and the locks of a shed.
If you had five seconds and a screwdriver, you too could have a Sierra Cosworth.
And whatever you did next, the fuzz couldn't catch you.
Ford tried to get on top of things, by stripping off the wing, and putting the firecracker engine into a sober, four-door shell to make this the Sierra Sapphire Cosworth.
But it didn't work.
(SOUNDTRACK MUSIC GRINDS TO A HALT) If anything, the crims were grateful.
"Oh, thanks, back doors.
Makes it easier for the lads to get in after a bank job.
" But ultimately What? Oh, for God's sake! Things got so bad by the early '90s that the Sierra Cosworth was five-and-half times more likely to be stolen than any other car.
There were many owners who reported being followed by criminals, waiting for them to park so they could nick it.
That would take the edge off the pleasure of owning it, if I'm honest.
Ford got so desperate, they dropped the price of the Cosworth by £7,000 - the value of an entire Fiesta - just to shift the things.
And even that didn't work.
There were numerous reports at the time of Cosworth owners receiving insurance quotes that were more than the value of the car.
And eventually, insuring a Sierra Cosworth became not just expensive but impossible.
They were uninsurable.
But by then, it didn't matter.
The Sierra Cosworth had done its job, just as the Lotus Cortina had done 25 years earlier, by making an ordinary family saloon seem impossibly cool.
(TYRES SCREECHING) Honestly, I was flipping drooling.
- It's a legend of a car.
- Absolute legend.
I was drooling, watching.
I absolutely loved I adored the Sierra Cosworth.
- It was brilliant.
- Fabulous.
Absolutely fabulous, but I need to do a bit more documentary work.
- I think you should.
- The Cosworth wasn't the most important thing about the Sierra.
The most important thing was, the Sierra changed the Labour Party.
- Really? - It genuinely did.
A young Tony Blair was out canvassing one day, saw a man washing his Sierra on the drive, sort of went up to him.
The Labour Party policy back then, as now, actually, was to get the man out of his car and back where he belonged on a bus.
- Yes.
- Tony Blair realised this guy didn't want to go on a bus.
He wanted a better Sierra, faster Sierra, Sierra with headrests.
So he went away and he created New Labour as a result of that conversation.
And then started an illegal war.
(LAUGHTER) Well, he did.
Well - Well, he did.
- (APPLAUSE) JEREMY: He did.
He did.
(CHUCKLING) He did do those He did do those two things, yes.
Should we get back to the car? Good idea, because we must now find out how fast Let's see if I can still pronounce it properly.
- The Cozzer - Yeah, you've still got it.
The Cozzer.
You know what I mean? The Cozzer.
Let's see how fast it goes round the Eboladrome.
And away it goes, gentle off the line, but then a scuff of wheel spin as the turbo roars into life and catapults it onto the Isn't.
The 1980s gear change workout there, and a lot of body roll on those soft '80s springs.
Ooh, look at that! Driving it like it's stolen, which 30 years ago, it would have been.
Here we go, ooh, yeah, bit of oversteer into Your Name Here.
You don't see that from the modern stuff.
And now the turbo lag clears as it fires back down the Isn't.
This won't be the fastest car we've ever seen, but I can bet you Abbie is having an absolute riot in there.
OK, hard braking for Old Lady's House, wrestling it in, keeping it neat through the right, and then the left.
And now back on the power for the blast to Substation.
Engine note that screams, "Oi, Gary!" That's it, braking, flicks it in like a touring car driver.
Only Field of Sheep left.
Not much drama there, and across the line! That looks great, looks really exciting.
I was really expecting the full crossed up No, but that it does that four-wheel drift thing, same as the Lotus Cortina, wah! - It's what they do.
- Anyway, let's see now how quickly Abbie got it round the Eboladrome.
Let's find out the time - oh, quicker than I thought.
Oh-ho! - (JAMES LAUGHS) JEREMY: What? Well, it's faster than a Lamborghini.
(LAUGHTER) I told you that thing was slow, it's actually slower than a Ford Sierra.
But the interesting thing for me there is it's quicker than a Ford Fiesta ST200, and they both have the same power, about 200 horsepower.
They did, yeah.
I think what that goes to show is, despite all the improvements in suspension and tyres, you can't beat fitting something with a sodding great turbo.
- Exactly.
- A massive turbo does the job.
Anyway, can I get back to our documentary, yes? In 1993, Ford stopped making the Sierra and decided instead to export the idea that had revolutionised Britain to the whole world.
What they came up with was something they called a World Car.
Something not just for everyone here, but for everyone everywhere.
They called it the Mondeo.
And it achieved something that no car in history has ever managed.
Over the years, Richard, James and I have driven almost every car ever made.
We've waxed lyrical about many of them drooling over their styling or their handling or the way they make the roots of our penises fizz.
But incredibly, there is only one car that we all like.
This one - the Mondeo ST Estate.
Let's be clear, there are lots of cars we all don't like.
- Yeah, yes.
- Nissan Juke.
Hate it.
The Beetle.
Good one on the Beetle, we all hate that.
- Nissan "Quashquai".
- Yeah, that's a good one.
Audi Q5.
- No, don't like that.
- All hate that.
- And the Q7.
- And the Q7.
We all hate that.
- Jaguar X-Type.
- Yeah, we all hate that.
The new Land Rover Discovery.
- Yes.
- Yeah.
BMW X3.
- Yep, yeah.
- Yes.
- Mini Countryman.
- Oh, yeah, yeah! We all hate that.
So, we've established there are many, many cars we all don't like.
But cars we do like? - There's this.
- There's this.
RICHARD: What about the Subaru Legacy Outback? But the front diff's rubbish.
You can't go round a corner when you're going slowly.
- So it's a bit annoying.
- So it is just this? JEREMY: Yeah.
JAMES: This is it.
Do you know what I liked? It's the fast version, but it was still comfortable.
These seats were great.
It still rides properly.
It doesn't make a terrible racket, it's just civilised.
RICHARD: I like the way it was a practical estate.
It had a massive boot, and Ford had the sense to give it five doors.
Which is something Austin didn't think of with the Allegro.
No, that is true.
I like the speed.
Oh, there's a surprise.
(ENGINE REVVING) V6 engine, 200 horsepower.
0-60, seven seconds.
Top speed, 150.
It didn't look it, but this was as quick as a Cosworth.
And when they turned it into the ST220 in 2002, it looked right as well.
They should have sold these by the million.
But there was a problem.
(SOUNDTRACK STOPS ABRUPTLY) This.
The first so-called MPV, the Toyota Picnic.
In 1996 when it was first introduced, we laughed at it, because it seemed so stupid.
I mean, why name a car after something you might do in it? Picnic.
No, they didn't have a Toyota Dentist, did they? The Honda Pop-to-the-Shops.
It's just an ordinary act, it's not even exciting.
The Volkswagen Dogging.
- (CHUCKLING) - It's just a stupid idea.
A naff thing to do.
It cost the same as a Mondeo, it was just a bit taller.
Yeah.
It's in case your head suddenly grows tall.
Was there a fashion for wearing Victorian industrialist hats at the time? - No, there wasn't.
- Well, there's no excuse for it, then.
Unless you've actually got a Busby glued to the top of your head RICHARD: There is no other reason.
And what troubles me, is think of the damage this did to children.
"Come out and see the new car, kids!" (SQUEALS) - (LAUGHS) It's just a Picnic! - "That That's our car.
It's hateful!" It's dismal.
"It's got big windows so people will see me in it.
" JAMES: It actually says, "Family fun vehicle" on it.
JEREMY: It doesn't? What's fun about it? RICHARD: It isn't more fun.
We thought, when it first came along, that it would be a fad, like culottes, or deep fried brie, or Crocs, or tattoos.
Something where you think, "Oh, that's fun," and then realise five minutes later that it's actually ridiculous.
But, no.
This idiotic tall car idea actually started to catch on.
Renault came up with their version, which was called the Scenic.
And pretty soon, everyone was at it - Mazda, Fiat, Vauxhall, the lot! RICHARD: Think what you started, you bastard.
You deserve this, and you're having it.
And you're having more of it.
A new car is a great thing, but not when it's you! Oh, you've got a mirror left.
Think how many lives you ruined.
You are the Allegro Estate of modern times, and you deserve this.
To make matters worse for Ford, in 2000, the British Government decided that company cars should be taxed, like income.
Yeah, that meant people had to buy their own cars.
And many responded by not buying a car at all.
As interest rates were so low, it made more sense to lease.
And if you're gonna do that, why not get a BMW? Or a Mercedes? As the rot started to take hold, Ford reverted to type and got serious about motor racing.
In 2000, they came first, second and third in the British Touring Car Championship.
COMMENTATOR: All three Fords were on the front row again for the sprint race JEREMY: And the following year, Mondeo sales did go up a bit.
COMMENTATOR: Ford drivers clocking JEREMY: But then, they stopped motor racing.
And the MPVs kept coming, and leasing a Mercedes got cheaper, and the effect on Ford was astonishing.
In 1994, they sold 127,000 Mondeos in Britain.
In 2017, that was down to 12,000.
And 85% of those 12,000 were fleet sales, hire car companies and the police.
And that means only 1900 Mondeos were sold to private buyers.
- Yeah, people that actually went and bought one.
- Yeah, 1900.
And, if you think about it, Ford has 500 dealers in Britain, yeah? - Yeah.
-Each of those will have taken two Mondeos a year? Oh, God, yeah, as demonstrators.
Yes, they would have done.
- So really, we are - 900, you're talking about.
900 people actually said, "I'll buy one of those with my money.
" Yeah, 900 people.
When they used to sell 127,000 of them a year.
- That's an astonishing fact.
- I know.
In America, things are so bad the Mondeo will be pulled from the showrooms this year.
And it's predicted that soon after that, it'll go from the rest of the world as well.
And when that happens, Britain will have lost much more than just a car.
The Mondeo was never fancy or spectacular, it never won Le Mans, it was never awarded a Nobel Prize, it didn't write The Grapes Of Wrath.
It was just your mate, someone you enjoyed going to the pub with.
And here's the thing.
When someone fancy or spectacular like, say, Mick Jagger dies, it'll be sad.
But when your mate dies, that is heart-breaking.
(FUNEREAL MUSIC) So, to give this car the send-off it deserves we've booked Lincoln Cathedral.
And invited some like-minded souls to mark the moment of its passing.
This'll be a funeral for a friend.
A few people have turned up already.
Look at that.
JEREMY: Big, isn't it? RICHARD: Very.
Tallest building in the world for 250 years, this.
How many people do you think are gonna turn up? Well, it is a Tuesday afternoon.
Well, we might get 50.
No, I think it could be 100.
- 100 would be nice, wouldn't it? - Yeah.
JEREMY: In fact, it was rather more than 100.
So many people came, that the traffic in Lincoln ground to a halt.
(HORN BLARES) (HORNS BLARING) And we had to begin the service before they'd all arrived.
(ORGAN PLAYS) Ford, Ford.
(RICHARD CLEARS THROAT) Dear Lord and Father Of Mankind Dear Ford and Father of mankind Forgive our foolish ways Reclothe us in our rightful mind In purer lives Thy service find In deeper reverence praise In deeper reverence, praise Drop Thy still dews of quietness Till all our strivings cease Take from our souls the strain and stress And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace The beauty of Thy peace Breathe through the heats of our desire They coolness and Thy balm Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire O still, small voice of calm O still, small voice of calm (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Yep.
It is very sad.
It is, um It's very sad, and it's not the only British motoring institution that's coming to an end.
We are.
AUDIENCE: Aww.
This is not just the last in the series.
I mean sorry, the show as you know it is actually ending, with you know, the track, audience, us three, and bad really badly fitting jackets every week.
(LAUGHTER) This is the last one.
It is.
It is.
It's sad but we have been doing it together for 17 years.
- OK, that's you were late.
- Sorry.
- (LAUGHTER) - Yeah, he was.
Nevertheless, we do feel the time has come to move on.
- Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Aww.
WOMAN: Boo! The problem for us is we can't We can't make an announcement as momentous as that and then just walk out of the tent, can we? No, we can't.
So we've uh We've actually put together a montage of some of the things we've done not just at Amazon but also with our previous employers at the BBC.
Here it is.
This is gonna take forever.
DEREK AND THE DOMINOES: Layla Oh(BLEEP) Here we go.
Agh! (LAUGHTER) What'll you do when you get lonely? Oh, my God.
Its carrot's come out.
Power! Power, come on! You have to let Watch this.
Oh, yeah! Layla - Let's go! - Go on! You've got me on my knees Layla (LAUGHTER) Layla Holy shit.
We are in fact at the cutting edge of cocking about.
I tried to give you consolation Am I dead? I can't believe I'm looking in whoa! Like a fool, I fell in love with you This could go so wrong.
Layla RICHARD: I've crashed! Now I know what it's like to be Richard Hammond.
It's looking good.
(LAUGHTER) JEREMY: Oh, my God! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Please don't say I'll never find a way (AUDIENCE GASPS) The fact is You've got me on my knees, Layla Ooh, shit! Sorry.
What are you two wearing? Darling, won't you ease my worried mind? RICHARD: You bastards! (LAUGHTER) Oh, no! Agh! (CHANTING) USA! USA! USA! Very scared.
(ENGINE SPLUTTERS) See you there.
(LAUGHTER) (GASPS) Aagh! (LAUGHTER) Bollocks.
Whoa! Agh! (GASPS) - Ho-ho-ho! - We have travelled far! Is that all right? (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Thank you.
Thank you, and honestly.
Tell you what, though, we haven't half had some laughs.
- We have.
- (LAUGHTER) - It was brilliant, wasn't it? - Yeah, it's all just brilliant.
I'm just going back in my head, there's the cow on the Camaro - Yeah.
- The indestructible Toyota - Yeah.
- Oliver.
Beach buggies across the dunes, that was Driving down - it was in there - driving down the ski slope in Col That was one of the best things I've ever done.
My horse mating with your horse whilst we were I didn't like that so much, no.
- Him falling off his horse.
- Yes.
- Him falling off his motorcycle.
- A lot, yeah.
And the great thing was, in all of the years we've worked together, every single time um one of us fell over, there was never any sympathy.
- (LAUGHTER) - You'd burst into laughter straight away, "Ha-ha! He's hurt himself!" A whole 17 years of your mates not giving a shit.
(LAUGHTER) Well, anyone out there got fond memories? MAN: James falling over and hitting his head.
James hitting his head in Syria, that was hilarious.
- (LAUGHTER) - At least I can't remember.
MAN: Caravans.
- What? - Caravans.
- Just caravans, generally.
Endlessly caravans, no, the disintegrating cow - It just goes MAN: Spitfire! - Spitfires was good.
- Sitting in a Spitfire looking at your mates also in Spitfires was just (AUDIENCE CALLS OU SUGGESTIONS) MAN: Vietnam.
- Oh, yeah.
God, I hated Vietnam.
- (LAUGHTER) JAMES: I liked it.
I mean, I liked Vietnam, I just didn't like being on a motorcycle.
MAN: Italian supercar.
Well, we've done Italian super cars.
There isn't an - I liked when we did the cheap ones.
- Oh, the cheap ones? I blew the Maserati's big end right through the windscreen of your Lamborghini.
You literally threw an engine at me.
Yeah, I did literally throw an engine at his head.
MAN: It's all been epic.
MAN 2: Robin Reliant.
- Don't stop.
- What? - Don't stop.
Carry on.
- Please.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Well, um We do have some good news.
We do have some good news, we're not.
- No.
- (CHEERING) - We're not stopping.
- We can't.
We'd have to get jobs.
Eugh! No, we're not actually stopping.
I mean the truth is, Amazon loves us, we love Amazon.
So we'll carry on a bit, yeah? Yeah, we'll stick around.
The thing is, as I said, the show as you know it is ending, and that's very upsetting for us.
You know, the audience, and this sort of thing, and the track.
But, who'd like to see us doing more big adventures? (CHEERING) Road trips.
Road trips? Specials, who wants some specials, yeah? Thing is, there is - That's uh - There is Thank you.
There's still so much of the world we haven't been to yet.
So many people I haven't insulted.
There are so many cars he hasn't crashed.
- There's a few.
- Exactly.
So although this is gone, The Grand Tour goes on.
- (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) - It goes on! It goes on.
We are gonna need walking sticks and nappies.
- No, we are.
- We are.
So while it's um it's not goodbye from us, it is goodbye from this.
Anyone want to buy a tent? - (LAUGHTER) - See you, take care.
- See you soon.
- Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)