Top Gear (2002) s01e08 Episode Script

Gambon Corner Gets Its Name

Top Gear Series 01, Episode 08 In tonight's Top Gear, a knight in our Reasonably-Priced Car, Maserati's new coupe takes on our track, and lock up your door mirrors! We set out to find Britain's fastest white van driver.
But first, an apology, I'm afraid.
You see, last week we did a show mostly about the environment, and I think I may have messed it up.
You see, toward the end, I inadvertently said I was going to kick a barn owl to death.
You said you were gonna kick it to death for fun, Jeremy.
I know.
So, can we clear this up, alright? Even if you're walking along a branch of a tree, and there's an owl in front of you, in your way, Don't kick it.
Just don't.
Now, we've let ourselves down, and I feel we've let down the barn owls.
Exactly.
So that was our attempt to be green, we mucked it up.
We're not gonna be green any more.
This week, we're going to be scarlet.
And that's why we have a BMW M5 in the Top Gear base.
4-door saloon car, 400 brake horsepower under the bonnet.
Now, a lot of you won't have the first idea of what 400 bhp actually is, so I've come up with this simple graph to explain it.
Here we are, there's the Power.
And here, to make it simple, the number of double decker buses.
Now, as an example, Nelson's Column, 10 double decker buses, okay? Big Ben, 30 double decker buses.
And here we are, here's 400 bhp, up to about here, 40 double decker buses.
If you were to spread 400 bhp on the ground to a depth of about 6 inches, it would cover an area the size of Belgium.
And BMW is no longer the only car maker to be putting so much Belgium under the bonnet.
Look at this, it's the Jaguar S-Type R, now available with a 4.
2-litre supercharged V8 engine and 400 horsepower.
Wonderful car.
And Jaguar must be very very pleased to have finally, after all these years, caught up with BMW.
But now, Audi has come along, and moved the goalposts.
What they've done is taken the ordinary, rather antiseptic body from the A6 and fitted it with a twin-turbo 4.
2-litre V8, which develops an almost unbelievable 450 brake horsepower.
That is the same sort of area as Portugal.
You could fit St Paul's Cathedral in 450 bhp 7 times over.
7! So it's more powerful than the M5, and it's more obvious, too.
With all this chicken wire at the front and those big flared wheel arches, you just know this thing means business.
0-60 takes less than, I don't know, no seconds.
And the top speed is limited to 155 mph to keep the German Green Party happy, but the other day, I was driving this on our test track, and I saw a 175 miles an hour on the speedo.
I reckon if you had a long enough track, you could get it up to 200.
God, it's fast! So much power! The RS6 comes as a saloon or as an estate, both for around 58,000 pounds.
That's 5,000 pounds more than the BMW M5, but this, I think, is one of the best made cars on the road today.
A lot of the Rock Aristocracy drive these fast Audis.
Kenney Jones, Mitch Mitchell They make their fortunes, and then they want something quiet and restrained in the autumn of their years.
But it's like when they make those unplugged albums.
They could never quite resist having 42 lasers and an inflatable pig.
"Yes, I want the Audi, I want it restrained," "but ooh, look at those wheel arches.
Yes.
" "And a big grille on the front, that's what I want.
Big fat tyres.
" And this is rock star country.
All the rock aristocracy ends up down here when their 14th album goes double platinum with a sprinkling of myrrh.
This, for instance, is Gordon Sting's backgarden, or Wiltshire as you call it.
Except this bit, which is accountant nicked, and he hasn't noticed yet.
Everyone down here is in a band, and that makes pulling over and asking for directions a rare treat.
Excuse me, excuse me? Could you tell me the way to Steve Winwood's house, please? Steve Winwood, yes.
Up here, till you get to Van Morrison's.
Yep.
Left, uh, up to Sting's Trout Lake.
Yep.
Round that, and at the T-Junction by Peter Gabriel's, you make a left.
Okay, brilliant.
Thanks very much.
What band are you in? Pink Floyd.
You are the drummer, aren't you? Sure.
Have you got an Audi? Uh, a few, yes.
Got one of these? Coming at Christmas.
Absolutely.
Thanks very much.
Bye.
I don't blame the rock dinosaurs for choosing the Audi.
You see, it's not just the well-made, but out-of-control, volcano.
The power is harvested by a Quattro 4-wheel-drive system, and they've firmed up the suspension a bit.
No, wrong, Jeremy.
Wrong.
Not "a bit," it's "a lot.
" I could live with a hard ride, which is a good job, because I couldn't live without those looks and that power.
This car is a Stairway to Heaven, a Bohemian Rhapsody.
But unfortunately for the Audi, that's not the end of the story.
It's easily better than the BMW M5 and the Jaguar S-Type R, but Mercedes, they've gone berserk.
Welcome to the E55, welcome to the door of 500 bhp.
Now, I'm not a fan of the E-Class styling.
It looks like a Honda.
And I'm not a fan of Mercedes service and customer care, either.
I am, however, a huge fan of this 5.
5-litre supercharged V8 engine.
It's the same engine they put in the SL, and in that, it sounds like It sounds like a Tornado jet fighter, and a NASCAR, and a peal of thunder.
They've quieted it down quite a lot in this, I must say, but the power's still here.
If you don't mind doing 7 miles to the gallon, this thing absolutely flies.
Yes, it's 3,000 pounds more than the Audi, but you get more.
In a straight line, it's even faster.
A word of warning, though.
In some ways, this car reminds me of the Eurofighter which can't fly without the onboard computers constantly adjusting the control surfaces.
And this is the same.
It doesn't have 4-wheel-drive, remember.
And I don't think you could drive it on a day like today - raining, wet leaves everywhere - without the traction control.
It's constantly working, you can feel it go, "Da da da, da da da, da da da" Even the tiniest dab of the throttle And the light comes on, telling me that machinery has just kept me out of the ditch.
You are right on the edge.
500 horsepower That's as far as you can go.
So, this or the Audi? Same level of build quality, same size, same interior ambiance It's a difficult choice.
But look at it this way, if the Audi is Keith Moon, wild and flamboyant, then the Mercedes is Charlie Watts, quiet and unassuming.
Me? I was always a fan of The Who.
I'd therefore take the Audi.
Was that really the drummer from Pink Floyd? Yeah.
Nick Mason, on his way to borrow a cup of sugar from Roger Daltrey.
Wow.
So the Merc was most powerful, yeah? Yeah.
But which is the quickest on the track? 'Round the track, in the dry, I'm fairly confident it would be the Mercedes, okay? But of course, inevitably it was raining when we gave them to the Stig.
So the Audi, 4-wheel-drive of course, 2.
5 seconds faster.
Really? Yeah.
1:33, that's the same as the SL or the NSX.
That is a very very very quick car.
Really quick, all the time.
Amazing.
The thing is, though, that with this Power Trip that the Germans are currently engaged on, okay? BMW, 400, then Audi at 450, and then Mercedes at 476, we've got this graph to see where that's going, okay? Here we are, in 2002, 400 brake horsepower.
You follow that through, by the year 2008, we're at a thousand million bhp.
Wow.
And this is the distance from here to the Moon.
Right, okay.
So this week's show is all about Driver's Cars, and that set us thinking, is it possible to turn anything, I mean anything at all, into a Driver's Car? Well, to investigate this, we found a bloke who owns a Lada and we nicked it.
This is the Lotus headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk.
And this is Paul Sherwood's 1.
5E Lada, 6 years old and worth about 200 quid.
Taking on Mission Ridiculous is Chris Arnold, General Manager of Lotus Sport and Performance.
Excellent.
So this is it, then.
Yep, this is the Lada.
This is the Project Car.
Yep.
Oh, my word.
I don't know much about Ladas, how long have you had it? I've had it just under a year.
Ladas are in the blood.
Once you're in the blood, you can't get rid of them.
They're good cars.
I was gonna talk about aerodynamics, but I'm not really that sure what we can do with it.
It's fairly box-like, isn't it? Yeah.
Here is the blackness that is the Lada interior.
It's fairly dingy in there, isn't it? Yep.
And the old steering wheel, again, it's uh, perhaps not very fashionable.
You could abuse them, hell breaks at them, they're just solid rugged cars.
Here's your box standard Lada 1500 unit.
Huh, yeah.
Here, it bascially is Russian tractor engine.
To be honest, I don't really think it's worthwhile doing much for this.
What I'd like to do is I'd like to rip it out and put a new engine in.
Always willing to help, we spent 200 quid and bought him another engine.
I'm a bit worried that they're gonna do something hideous to it, I really am.
Oh, my God, what is he doing! To assess the scale of the task ahead on ride and handling, Lotus let loose their top man, Gavin Kershaw.
This has to be the worst car I've ever driven.
It's not everyday that Russell Carr and his design team get their hands on a Lada.
If we get those, the wheels and size right, the ride height right, it's what's gonna get the car a much stronger stance.
Get the wheel-to-body relationship correct as well.
So there's 500 quid of carbonfibre there, that's worth more than the car! Colour, well, it's debatable, but uhh Black is obviously gonna lose some of the dodgy detailing that we've got, could actually clean that surface right through there.
Uhh, could be quite nice.
We should just rip the bumper out and see what it looks like.
So, maybe we can blend these two together Ditch the centre console, remove that, maybe the parcel tray, put a sort of aluminium wrap underneath, clean that up across there.
Maybe pick up some silver detailing on it so it still has a sporty feel, a little bit more like something.
The owner was actually worried that you guys are gonna spoil the look of it! Well We hope we don't prove him wrong! Well, it's a tough job, but if anybody can do it, it's those plucky boys at Lotus.
I mean, they can make Vauxhalls handle, and Protons.
So we'll find out how they do with the Lada later.
But first, the News.
Absolutely, and we'll start off with a story about parking.
Now, Rio Ferdinand, who apparently is a footballist of some kind Who does he play for? Manchester United, ah, that's how he's able to afford an Aston Martin Vanquish.
And he should be able to pay the 40-pound ticket he got for not parking it within the box, which wasn't wide enough for the car.
But shouldn't the box be wide enough for a car? It would make sense, wouldn't it? Yeah, he's lucky, I got a ticket the other day, and I kid you not, for being parked badly.
Since when did it become like iceskating, with them all standing there, "No, I don't think that is well parked, 4 And only 3 from the Nigerian judge!" And that's kinda negative as well.
If they're gonna do that, it's gotta be carrot and stick.
So they need to do something positive.
If they think you've parked particularly well, they should commend you, maybe give you a rosette on your windscreen.
A book token, something like that.
Something useful, yeah.
While we're on the subject of parking, I uh You know where we nail this programme together, it's in the middle of London, okay? There's a multi-story car park next door, 2 hours, 9 pounds in there.
So if you're 2 hours and 5 minutes, 18 quid.
Well, I went into Oxford last weekend, parked on double yellow lines, right outside where I wanted to be, okay? Took the children out for lunch, went to see James Bond, got back 5 hours later, 20 quid parking ticket.
That's pretty reasonable! But you invented valet park, didn't you? I did, valet parking was, uhm Used to live in Fulham, right next to the car pound in London.
so you could drive up to the West End, have a few drinks, leave the car, wobble home best way you could, wake up in the morning, they've towed it home for you! It was pricey, but kinda worth it.
Right, news from Citroen, the Berlingo Multispace.
Looked at in the very beginning of the series, Jeremy and we all agreed, fantastic car.
I mean, great family car, car-like ride, and all the rest of it, but best of all, cheap.
Well, this is the new one.
I say "new," it's not like "new" new, it's a bit of a facelift, but it does look prettier.
But the really imporant thing is, it's still Yes, I was gonna say, "prettier" is relative.
That's like, if you got Ann Widdecombe and hit her on the forehead with a light tap from a hammer.
She'd look prettier.
It's pretti-er.
Yeah.
But the most imporant thing, looks aside, is you get all of that package, and it's cheap and it still is, because they're still doing the same VAT back deal until the end of the year, which means it's about 8 grand, that's actually a lot of car for 8 grand.
I know.
It's still a good one.
Here we go, Astra.
We've all been waiting for it No, come on! Hot Astra, 200 bhp, okay? But 16,500, that's 3,500 cheaper than the RS Focus, nearly as much power.
The thing I can't work out I know, I know that, but back in the old days, 200 bhp in a Cozza is a really quick car.
0-60 on this, 7 seconds.
Which is quick, but it's not like Yeah, but RS Focus IT'S A VAUXHALL, you blithering idiots! All right, you're right.
That's the V, nobody's gonna buy one, the end.
Uhm, now The Audi TT, now we agree that, on your cool board, what you did think of and polled the cars on without asking anyone, that the TT had been cool, and it kind of slipped Well let's ask this, is the Audi TT cool? Hands up if you think it's cool.
Hands up if you think it's uncool.
There you go, uncool.
Absolutely.
Well, they've obviously listened to this, the Cool Board is taking effect, so they've put a bigger engine in, to a V6 3.
2 litre, about 240 bhp.
It's the one out of the R32 to kind of "cool it up.
" But 240 bhp, it's 225 anyway, so it's 15 bhp more.
You got heavier engine.
It will be, yeah, so it's probably not that much quicker.
But, here's the exciting stuff, it has a very exciting gearbox.
It's called DSG.
It's not one of those stupid Formula 1 things, is it? I didn't know, so rang Audi and said, "can you send me some stuff on it?" And here it is.
They did, and it's great, 'cause it explains it for you.
It's, well, basically, "the control logic integrated into the transmission casing" "maintains optimum gearshift strategies that perform lightning-fast gearshifts" "nevertheless smooth and almost jolt-free.
" No, you're not reading Don't just rush it! Well, is that You were reading that bit? Yeah.
Okay, it's the way you read it, okay? Bit of thesp here.
"As on conventional manual gearboxes, the transmission ratios are present" "on input and auxiliary shafts in the form of pairs of toothed wheels.
" "In contrast to manual gearboxes, the input shaft is divided into two sections.
" "It comprises an outer hollow shaft and" Oh, look! Are there any engineers here? Is there anyone here who has that first, tiny grasp of engineering? I mean, is it an automatic or a manual even? You have.
Look, I'm going to give you this, by the end of we've finished the news, I want to understand that gearbox.
Work it out.
It's your homework.
Discuss it.
And we have no clue what it is.
And don't buy that car, 'cause the gearbox doesn't work.
I'd love to ring a dealer up and say, "this gearbox?" "Dunno, mate.
" Is it an automatic or a manual? It's witchcraft! That's what it is.
The one thing we have worked out about it, seriously, we have been in the office with that all week, and one thing we have worked out about it is it says that it's able to tell, it's got 2 clutches, and it's able to tell It has the next gear ready, okay? Ready for you to change.
If you're in third and accelerating, how does it know what you want next? We're accelerating, it's gonna go on fourth, and you go, "well I'm in second!" Now, last week, we set out to find Britain's fastest faith, okay? And this week, we are searching for Britain's fastest white van driver.
We asked for applicants a few weeks ago on the show, and this is how many we got on emails.
Now, we weeded out the psychotics, and we were left with 5.
Here they are.
And starting at this end, we have? I'm Don, from Kent.
Don from Kent, and you drive a? Ford Escort.
Colour? White.
Of course, and what do you listen to in it? Steely Dan.
Steely Dan! You're a fan of Pretzel Logic? Gaucho.
Gauch.
.
Mmm, I'm more of a Rikki Don't Lose That Number.
Yeah, lovely song.
Well, I hope you win! I like 'em all anyway.
I hope you win.
Sorry guys, I like Steely Dan.
You presumably like Bon Jovi? Yes, how did you know.
Because I can tell these things.
You haven't shaved, which is poor.
What your mother gonna say! Anyway, what do you drive? My pride and joy.
Nissan Vanette? Yes.
Okay, and you are a? Heat engineer.
A plumber.
And you are? John Waltrip.
You listen to what? Tom Jones.
Tom Jones! Obviously you work for the Royal Mail, so slightly psychopathic.
And what do you drive? Uh, Leyland DAF vans.
Leyland DAF, okay.
You are? Dale Miller.
Dale Miller, you work for? NTL.
NTL, who dig up the roads, make our lives in misery.
Okay, and what do you drive? A Peugeot Expert.
Peugeot Expert! Stupid name.
And you are? Steve Hogan, from Amersham.
From Amersham, and you work for? Iceland.
Lovely country, and what do you listen to? The Bee Gees.
The Bee Gees.
I'm with Don, I'm hoping he wins.
Anyway, they've already been out, and we'll be seeing how they got on later.
Yeah, we'll see what happens.
Right, back in the 1980s, about the most fun you could have in a car was in a supermini.
They were simple and uncomplicated, and you could go berserk without going so fast you got yourself into trouble.
Since then, superminis have got bigger, heavier, and better equipped, and faster.
Which is all good.
But what if you still just wanna have something that's fun to drive? Are you stuck? Well, let's find out.
Last year, 1 in 3 cars bought was a supermini, so these things are everywhere.
We've not gone crazy here.
We've picked the mid-range 1.
4-litre versions of each car, just to keep it real.
And the first of them is the middest range of all, the Ford Fiesta.
It's a typical Ford, so it's got everything you need in terms of kit, but it's all slotted into one of the single ugliest dashes I've ever seen.
That's nasty.
One place where it does fare well is the drive.
I mean it's not, you know, scintillating, but it really isn't bad.
Getting close to that nice nippy little car feel that we're looking for.
The old Fiesta drove well, too.
But it had absolutely no rear seat space.
They've solved that one, and now there is, well, some.
For 9,995 pounds, you do get air-conditioning, but not much else.
But its big problem is, it's just so dull inside and out.
You'd better park it somewhere obvious, or you might just forget you bought it.
In churning out the new Fiesta, Ford have managed to move the small car market on not one inch.
All they've done is look inwards, and put right the problems with the old one.
This looks promising, though.
The Citroen C3.
Spiritual successor to the 2CV, it's far far funkier than the Fiesta, which is a surprise coming from Citroen, who have, in recent years, churned out cars blended in chicken in a white sauce.
It's kind of light and airy and happy in here, unlike a lot of French cars.
I suspect that although it is flimsy, once all the extraneous bits of trimming stuff have dropped off after about a week, the rest of the car will just keep on going forever, probably.
And on the way, you'll enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride, if not a fast one.
There are plenty of cutesy touches inside, but it doesn't actually do anything clever, apart from having plenty of storage.
After all, an air vent is still an air vent, and a door handle, once it's opened a door, is kinda peach, really.
But it's got personality in its own cute way.
So, the C3 is cute, but not clever.
For that, you need to look at the far brainier Honda Jazz.
Right now, it's a huge hit, flying out of the showrooms faster than dealers can get them in.
If any car sums up what people want from superminis right now, it's this.
Really really impressively big, and that's very clever.
It insists that it's a tiny mini MPV.
But with that, you do get the downsides of an MPV.
Because it's all one big box, it's very boomy, noise reverberates around it.
And to drive, it just feels a bit top-heavy.
It's not exactly poised, and that's the price you pay.
You can't have MPV qualities and size, and still have the driving attribute of a nippy little car.
But where it really falls down for the Jazz is on price.
You'll pay 10,300 for a mid-range model, and you'll still have to pay extra for a CD player or alloy wheels.
But where the Jazz goes for big car space, the selling point of the funky-looking new Nissan Micra is gadgets, some you don't even need.
How sad have you gotta be that you need your car to wish you a happy birthday!? I prefer to have friends.
It's built in Sunderland, Europe's most quality control obsessed car plant.
And for the same money as a poorly equipped Jazz, you'll get a fully loaded Micra, where you do get alloys, a CD player, and that big car toy - keyless ignition.
And I haven't finished yet.
The windscreen wipers come on automatically when it rains.
We've got parking sensors to make it easier to brace, ready for impact as you reverse into the car behind you.
I've got controls for the stereo on the steering wheel.
There's proper climate control - not just air-conditioning, climate control.
It is comfortable and refined.
But even though it's the epitome of today's grown-up superminis, if you're yearning for some of that 1980s small-car fizz and crackle, you're gonna have to look elsewhere.
The MG ZR, spoilers, spotlight, garish paint.
Fantastic.
It's 1983.
True, it's as subtle as Brigitte Bardot in a bask, but you can't help looking, can ya? This is far far closer to the original feel of little cars.
No apologies, no compromises, it is a small car, and it's all the better for it.
Now, remember, we haven't gone for the top-spec hot version of these cars, so this is the basic 1.
4 engine ZR.
And still, it feels a bit special.
10 grand buys a ZR 105 with 105 brake horsepower, that's at least 20 horsepower more than anything else we're looking at.
It is amazingly dated in here.
I mean, it's been, I don't think, any effort to make it look anything, really.
It's really quite unpleasant.
But that isn't putting me off, because the moment you pull away, all that work on the suspension, all that clever stuff underneath, means you can just feel it's that bit more purposeful.
It wants to go.
All right, so it's a Rover 200 underneath, but it really does deserve its MG badge.
D'you know, I'm remembering that, kind of, you can feel what's going on underneath, that it wasn't shaking any of the bits of your body off.
And it loves corners; it really does.
This is a fun car.
Ugly, but great fun.
So, if you want a practical car? It's got to be the Honda Jazz, yeah.
Producer's just bought one.
Practical man.
In this colour.
And if you want a sporty car? It's got to be the MG ZR.
It was 2 seconds faster around our track than all the others.
2 Seconds! 2 seconds, which is a big difference.
And the thing is, okay, it is based on an old Rover 200, which, in turn, is based on a Brontosaurus, but MG have done such a good job of turning it into a driver's car.
It's the one to go for if you want that kinda thing.
And the point is, if MG can do that with the Rover, what are Lotus gonna have done with the Lada? With just 2 weeks to turn Paul's Lada into something special, Lotus threw every hands of their expertise into finishing on time.
The shopping list includes new brakes, a hand-made exhaust system, special Lotus black paint from East Bilney Coachworks, and hand-finished seats from the trim shop.
Remember that lump of rust in the workshop? 35 brake horsepower is now 180.
2 weeks and 1,000 hours of work after Paul dropped his baby off at the workshop, it was time finally to be reunited.
Right, we're gonna stop here.
Right.
Now, before we do anything else, have a listen to this.
First of all, what do you think that is? They took the exhaust off! Take your blindfold off and have a look, let's do this.
You feeling all right? Here we go Strewth! Blimey! What do you think? That is excellent! Come on, let's go and have a look at the thing.
Good God! It's a pretty thorough job, isn't it? I should say! That is beautiful! Absolute work of art! Chris, now you've met Chris before, haven't you? Welcome back, Paul.
What have you got to say to Chris? Thank you very much! I should think so too! It's absolutely beautiful.
It's over 1,000 hours gone into this, Paul.
Oh, my God.
A thousand.
And that's a thousand hours of, not just anybody, Lotus people.
The best there are.
It's absolutely gorge Are you pleased with it? I'm really pleased with it.
I mean, when the car first arrived, and the alternator failed, and the wheel trims fell off, it's a bit sort of, "Hsst, what we've let ourselves in for" But the moment we've got into it, I thought, "yeah, we could make something out of this car.
" Under the bonnet, do you remember we changed the engine for a Fiat Twin Cam because the old Lada lump was destroyed? That looks a lot better than the cacky lump that was originally on that pallet! It's the same engine! It's the same one Well, we had a bit of help.
The Lotus guys brought in Guy, who is probably one of the leading authorities in the world on this.
Ex-Formula One engineers as well.
My God! Knows what he's doing.
In fact, you stay there while you look at it, I'm just gonna get this He wrote a book on it, literally wrote a book on the thing.
Uhm, and you've done a thorough job.
Where's Rob? Rob, come here.
You are lead technician, yeah? Yep.
I've heard, really, that you literally haven't stopped.
And do you know what? You look dreadful.
Get some sleep! Stop thinking about this car.
Then there's Gav whom we've seen before, and you've met Gav, 'cause he drove your hunk of garbage, virtually killed it.
I think it's time to take you out and scare you out of your wit.
Good luck! Bloody hell! Certainly different.
A hell of a lot different! What you have to watch now is you actually get something called wheel spin.
You can powerslide! Third gear wheel spin! I think I'll be too petrified to do that meself! It's a beast! So, there we are, proof that any car can be converted into a decent driver's car, given, you know, team of 10 men and a fortnight, and 100,000 pounds, which is what this would've cost if you'd have gone to Lotus and asked for it yourself.
So you, Paul, better look grateful.
Very grateful.
No, no.
Look it.
More grateful than that to the Lotus people.
In fact, get on your knees.
Get on your knee And stomach, actually.
Get on your stomach, on the floor.
Now, every week we put a star in our Reasonably-Priced Car, and this week, he's more than just a star.
He's a knight.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Sir Michael Gambon! How are you? Have a seat.
Thank you.
Now, uhm, this week show, predominantly about drivers' cars.
Oh.
Does that fit with your? Well, not really, because I Jeremy, I spent Being an actor, I spent the whole of my life stuck in West End traffic.
Go in the bus lanes! That's what I do, you can go really fast in bus lanes.
I know.
I tried that, but I get held up.
You got a Ferrari though! Yeah, but it's not the sort of Ferrari you should own, I'm told.
Every time I mention my Ferrari, it's a 348.
Oh, no.
That's a shocking one! So, I don't care, I like it.
Now, the thing I've enjoyed I've enjoyed you in a number of different things over the years, but the one thing is Longitude, just the most fantastic thing.
John Harrison, the man who invented the device for telling where you are in sea.
Now, is there a bit of him and you, this kind of fiddly Oh, yeah.
Really? 'Cause I've a big engineering workshop at home, and I make things and What sort of things? Uhm, all sort, anything that goes Clocks, bits of machinery And you fly as well, don't you? Yeah.
I'm not too good at that, because that once I was taking another actor who's frightened of flying.
I convinced him to get in my plane, and I proved to him how safe it was.
He was only going on a jumbo jet, and I said, "well, my one is similar.
" It's basically the same.
When I got over the Thames heading north, before London City Airport opened, I feigned a heart attack.
Because there's something inside me that always wants to fool around, and I was a bit bored, and we were 2,000 feet going towards Ipswich, and I went I put a bit of left rudder on and held it for about 10 seconds.
So the plane was then just falling We were really going like that, I see Tower Bridge on my left, and.
.
But you'd expect him to go mad, wouldn't you? Well, yeah.
If you're making a film of that, but he did nothing.
What, just sat there? He just froze.
He was prepared to crash and burn.
He's about to die.
I then came 'round and apologised, and I can't tell you what he said.
Are you still friends? I don't see him any more! Remind me never to get on plane with you.
I was gonna say, when you were like the RSC doing your Shakespeare, do you sit in the changing room - not the changing room - dressing room, with a car magazine? Well, I've just done a play at the Royal Court, which is a writer's very serious writer's theatre, and that's a way to annoy people, to sit there with a car magazine.
And that's why they all Going, "look," with Dame Maggie Smith, "Dame Maggie, look at the 50 to 70 time on this" They hate that.
No, I think she quite likes cars, I don't know.
Really? Yeah.
Well, I'll ask her, we'll just give her a call to see if she wants to come on to try her luck in a Suzuki.
Do you get over to Hollywood much? Kick around at the stars? Yeah, I've done a bit.
I've done about half a dozen films in the Hollywood.
Christian Slater took me out in his Beetle.
He's got a great trick.
He gets on the P.
C.
H.
, the Pacific Coast Highway, top flat-out, and then steers it using the quarter lights.
What!? Yeah.
Explain the logic behind that.
Well, there is no logic.
If you sit on the handbrake What sort of car is he in? A Beetle.
A Volkswagen Beetle? Yeah.
They used to have quite big quarter lights, they don't have them now, do they? No, they don't make the Beetle any more.
Well, they do, that modern thing, which is a Golf with a But he goes like that, you see, and by moving the quarter lights, they act like aircraft rudders, and you can steer the car! I'm sitting in the back, in the back of his Beetle.
He's sitting in the middle of the car, like a McLaren, doing this I just I have to do this, okay? You're sitting in the car with Christian Slater, how did this conversation crop up? Did he just suddenly say, "hey, I've got a great idea!" No, we were talking about fooling around in cars, so he said, "I'll show you a very good one.
" And he did this for me.
And you told him about feigning a heart attack? Yeah.
That'd be a really good one.
Of course, we're not here to simply talk about what you had, what you do, Christian Slater.
No.
You're here to try your hand in our Suzuki Liana.
Oh, don't! Now, you've been watching the show, yeah? Yeah.
You've seen all these people have a go.
This is the sort of ball Obviously, Harry Enfield, not in the ballpark at all.
He's way off the bottom there.
But everybody else is sort of in this Was it wet or dry when you went out? Very wet.
Very wet? Yeah.
Again, another wet lap.
Should we see what happened? No, don't.
No, I'm afraid we're going to.
Let's run the tape.
Now, this is quite good.
Oh, God.
That's like You have to look at the gear lever to change there, which is kind of like reading moving your lips which I suppose is what you do for a living really.
I have to say Is this acting, or are you? No, I didn't know there was a camera there! You do look quite scared.
TYRES! God! You're very close to the tyres there! Aren't you supposed to be!? Yeah, well, that was beautifully actually You're off the ! Now, you said to me before we went out, you said, "can you roll it?" And I said, "no, no" No, I didn't mean I thought, "would it roll?" Well, yes! Plainly, on the evidence Was that a bit frightening? Yeah, I was really frightened.
Well, I mean, that was fully in the air.
I hope we got to see that again.
Could we see that again? Could we play it in slow-motion for us, here we go.
Let's have a look at this.
Off the road there.
You hit that? Yeah.
And then Brilliant, ain't it? It was beautiful car control.
Was that on your timed lap? Yeah.
What was my time? Should we find out what his time was? Including that frankly spectacular moment You didn't hurt the car, did you, by any chance? Yeah, I've got to bring it The wing mirror came off.
You've damaged our Reasonably-Priced Car! I was wondering to bring it in with me but Well, never mind, here we go.
Michael Gambon there we are.
Wet.
Another wet day.
And you did it in one minute, what do you think? No idea.
One minute fifty-five seconds, ladies and gentlemen! 2 seconds faster than Jonathan Ross, and that was on a dry track! You know, the Stig, he took you out to show you where to go, he said, when you first took the wheel, that you have the best appreciation of racing lines of anyone that's been on the show so far.
He said most of them are just young kids, just all But you were much more the old bull.
More Jackie Stewart? No, he didn't say that, actually.
Maybe we should get Jackie Stewart on one day.
I thought he was Jackie Stewart! What, you thought you were? The Stig.
Oh, you thought the Stig was? Yeah.
Not with that accent.
Have you any idea who he is? No.
He's putting on an accent, isn't he? I don't know.
I honestly have no clue who the Stig is.
We thought he might be Maureen from Driving School? But then the way he holds the powerslide, I'm not sure it is.
But he talks in a French accent, but he's not He took me out in the A6, the R RS6.
and frightened the sht out of me.
I didn't think it was possible to drive a car that fast around corners.
And was he very sideways? Aghh.
You were looking out of the side windows? Yeah, I felt sick at the end of it.
Well, it's been enormous fun having you here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Sir Michael Gambon! This week's Insider Trader News is all about new cars.
Now, 2002 is gonna be an absolute record year for new car registrations.
2.
5 million new cars sold, that's about 80,000 more than last year.
Last year was a record as well.
Now, there's a huge amount of pride at stake between the manufacturers, as the who sells the most, who's second, who's third.
Top place, No.
1, is gonna be Ford.
We know that.
No.
2 will be Vauxhall, GM.
No.
3 will be Peugeot.
But there is a catfight between 4th For 4th Place, basically, between Renault and Volkswagen.
Now, the outcome of that is that Volkswagen desperate to get 4th Place.
Umm, I've done a deal with their dealers, and basically, they've given them some Polos, some Golfs and some Passats, and they've given them about 30% discount, some of those cars.
Now, what that translates into is something like a Passat, 2 litre S, great car, 14,600 quid normally, you can go and buy that car at the moment, they're being offered out there, for 11,995.
And that's a good look, because Passat is a really good car, and it's not overpriced usually.
So at that kind of money Well, that kind of money, it's about the same price as new Volkswagen Golf.
2,700 pound off.
They're out there to be had at the moment, fantastic deal.
Now, Suzuki Liana, we started it off, Reasonably-Priced Car, 9,995.
Yeah.
, then we had dealers said, "no, we'll do it for 8,995.
" Then 7,995.
This week, I'd an email from a dealer up north, can't give the name, but they've got powder blue one, just like our car, air-con, ABS, airbags, 7,495.
So what, is nobody buying those cars despite us putting it on the telly every week? It has 7,495? That's a cheap car, that is.
That's INSANELY reasonably priced.
Big time.
And finally, pre-registered cars, okay? This is something that manufacturers do to try to, you know, try to bump the registrations up.
Basically, register a whole bunch of cars in their own name, and then kinda try to sell them later.
So they haven't sold them, but it just gets more numbers? No.
So it's all part of this battle to get 4th Place, or whatever? Yeah, absolutely.
Appear to have sold more cars? Yeah.
Gotcha.
And eventually they've got to find a home, so they come on to the market as used cars.
But, I mean, if you buy one, when you come to sell it, it's gonna have 2 owners on it.
It's gonna be you and the manufacturer.
Doesn't make a huge difference to the value, really.
It doesn't.
But it does make a difference to the price you pay now.
This week, I was offered a Renault Scenic, remember, Renault is trying to chase for 4th Place at the minute.
That car's normally 12,500, that's 1.
4, it's got air-con, it's got alloys, proper car.
That car was offered to me this week for 9 grand.
Yeah, that's a really useful family car for 9 grand.
It'll have no miles on it.
No.
Delivery mileage, next to nothing.
If you go cheaper, how about this, Ford Focus 1.
4 CL, 3 door, that car is normally about 10,500.
Pick one of those up at the moment, pre-registered, for 7,995.
Good price.
Yeah, and then, fine, if you wanna go really cheap, remember last week, Ford Ka, normally 6,500, some dealers were banging them out, 4,995.
How about this an option - pre-registered Fiat Punto Mia, 1.
2 3-door, 4,995.
Now, in the 1940s and the 1950s, Maserati was as exotic and as unattainable as a banana.
Or nylon.
It was as desirable, come to think of it, as a banana in a nylon sock.
But, by the time I was old enough to notice, Maserati was a broken down bi-turbo at the side of the M1.
Now, however, Maserati has been taken over by Ferrari, and they're supposed to be chic and tropical all over again.
This is the latest model.
You've seen the coupe styling before, it's not very nice.
And the new rear lights don't help.
But, there's something else.
It's got a new engine.
4.
2-litre V8 replaces the old 3.
2 litre turbo.
And that develops nearly 400 brake horsepower.
What good was that in this day and age? "Nearly 400.
" It's like being nearly 6 feet tall, or nearly winning the lottery.
Then we step inside, past these elegant hinges and this dainty welding, to find that it is a proper 4-seater.
We also find a clock, such as you would give to Dave Brent on his retirement.
And we find something which Maserati calls "Cambiocorsa.
" We call it stupid flappy Formula-1 gearbox.
Great! It won't start.
Why won't it start? Look at it, it's got to be neutral.
Will you go into neutral now? My foot's on the brake.
There we are, neutral.
Great gearboxes, these.
Love 'em! Now it's beeping at me.
Oh, we go! There are, however, 2 good things about this gearbox.
First of all, it's exactly the same system that you get on the Ferrari 575, but in the Ferrari, costs you 6,000 pounds, and this, it's 3,000 pounds.
The other good thing is, you don't have to have it.
You can have a normal manual.
Which means your head doesn't get shaken off every time you change up.
God, that's awful! Gotta beat the bloke, though! Gotta beat the bloke! Didn't much care for the old engine, but this one It's not bad! To get the power onto the road, the Maserati comes with 4 different settings for everything - gearbox, seat, the lot.
Think of all those Italian electrics.
Mmm.
And it has something called Skyhook suspension, which can be tuned to suit your mood.
Sounds good, but it isn't.
The trouble is, when you push the SPORT button to firm everything up, tighten up the gearbox, it goes from being a I don't know, goes from being a blancmange to being a marshmallow.
You don't drive this car so much as hang on.
And woe betide anyone who thinks it's a good idea to turn the traction control off.
This is our Hammerhead corner, and oh dear.
Made a bit of a monkey's breakfast of that.
So, I had another go And oh dear.
Made a monkey's breakfast, and then lost my temper.
I've never had such a problem going around this track, Oof, as I am having in this.
This, then, is not a sports car.
Frankly, you're more likely to find a sports car if you turn over and watch Monarch of the Glen or Heartbeat or whatever period drama they've got on the other side.
Nick Berry's helmet, that's more sporty than this.
But then, perhaps, this isn't supposed to be a driver's car, a rival for Porsche, for Ferrari.
Perhaps it's supposed to be a pasta and bolognese alternative to the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding that is Jaguar.
In which case, where's the opulence? Why have they fitted narrow little school chairs instead of seats? Where's the sense of well-being that you get from a Jag XKR? You know what this is? It's a 61,000-pound Mr.
Nearly Car.
It's stuck in a no-man's land between the Jaguar rock and the Ferrari hard place.
So, it's uh, it's no good then? No, not really, I mean, all I'm hearing, all from the studio audience is basically, "Urgh, it's horrid," "ugh, it's not very nice.
" And it isn't, really.
'Cause if you want - it's got plenty of space, I will say that, but - if you want a comfortable cruiser, buy a Jag or a Merc SL; and if you want hardcore performance, Porsche, Ferrari, you know.
You're better off buy a DB7, aren't you? Yeah, much better off.
But it does have one chance to redeem itself.
Stoke up the Stig! And he's off! And it doesn't really matter how long it takes him to get 'round, 'cause he's aleady wasted 50 minutes getting it started and setting the gearbox and the suspension to his Stiggy liking.
That, and choosing the right CD, of course.
Right, he's coming up to the Hammerhead now, if he can get around here without spinning, we might even let him come and sit by the fire on Christmas Day.
He's done it! Power now, and the Maza is not lacking in that department.
Up to a huge speed by the time he gets around to the last two corners.
Up to what we now call Gambon Bend, he's not gone sideways like Michael, and he's across the line Brilliant driving, but not a particularly brilliant time.
1 minute 38 seconds.
That's only just slightly faster than the Bentley.
Not a good car.
No.
Right, earlier on, we met our white van men.
They've been hanging around, entertaining themselves, struggling with some crosswords and looking at girls.
But here they are again, and they all reckon, you know, bit handy on the road behind the wheel.
But how did they get on somewhere where there's no opportunity to rip anyone's door mirrors off? Naturally, they've come in their own weapons of choice.
But today, they wouldn't be using them.
Because if you're looking for the fastest white van man, you need a special kind of white van.
The Ford World Rallye Transit, and it ain't just a pretty paintjob, either.
The engine's been modified to give 200 brake horsepower, it's got race-spec wheels, brake, suspension and exhaust.
And just look at that! Even the interior is proper racing stuff.
Right, down to business.
And first up, John from the Royal Mail.
So this is it, okay? Are you a big wuss, or are you a white van man? 3, 2, 1, go! Are Royal Mail drivers generally quick? Hell, won't they cut me off everywhere.
And whilst Postman Pat was on the track, I received a few nuggets of white van man wisdom.
What's the worst thing in the world, do you think? What? Women drivers.
All women drivers? Next, Steve from Iceland.
The firm, that is.
Not the country.
Oh, sht.
Put that in the wrong gear.
This is the guy who yesterday destroyed a police car! Did he? Yeah, backed into it.
Wrote it off in his Iceland van.
Is there a technique to drive in a van then? Yeah, put your foot down.
"Put your foot down" is good.
Please don't break it, Steve! It's always handy to have dents in your van, 'cause more people get out of the way.
And Steve was determined to add a few more.
Just bent the bracket holding it on.
Next up, Don, who got lost on the way down.
It's that way .
.
and then left.
3, 2, 1, go! And sure enough, he got lost again.
This way, this way! Left, left! Go left, Don! Well done.
He's done, he's .
.
you know, he worked for that.
He worked hard.
Dale was the quiet man of the bunch, happy to let his driving do the talking.
3, 2, 1, go! I suppose he let the clutch out.
At last, a full-on white van man.
Silent, but deadly with the rev counter.
And to finish, the classic 5:29PM-on-a-Friday-return-to-base manoeuvre.
You're giving us van drivers a bad name, you know! Roger, not a man lacking in confidence, so how you feeling about this? Very good, get me going.
3, 2, 1, go! And another vintage van man.
Not fussed about someone else's tyres And not that fussed about where the road markings go.
All in all, Roger's van man tactics set him up for a nice quick lap.
That was good, wasn't it? Smooth.
Right, right.
I have the results here, and in 5th Place, I was rooting for you and you got lost! You were useless! Most people did it in around about 2 minutes, 2 minutes 10, you took 4 minutes 55! And as a result, we would like to present you with a booby prize, which is part of the door mirror that Michael Gambon knocked off the Suzuki Liana.
Don, there you are.
Thank you, Jeremy.
Right, so the rest of the results, in 4th Place, that gives us with 2 minutes and 9, John the postman.
Well done, John.
In 3rd Place, it's Roger, the plumber Heat engineer.
Plumber.
Heat engineer.
Plumber, in 2 minutes 5 seconds.
And then, it gets very close.
With 2 minutes and 3 seconds, Steve from Iceland.
And that means Jason, bring in the trophy, because the winner is Dale from NTL, 2 minutes 2 seconds! We're back next week, when we'll have a programme full of stuff about cars.
Good night!