Top Gear (2002) s02e06 Episode Script

The Team Doesn't Set a Caravan Land Speed Record

On Top Gear: The driving god does a track day.
A foie gras car with a luncheon meat badge.
And we try to set a new land speed record.
Hello! And we start tonight with some good news because I've finally found an advantage to being over 40.
Yes, hair sprouts out of your ears and yes, hangovers last a fortnight, but all you youngsters - the only chance you get to drive a Subaru Impreza and a Mitsubishi Evo VIII is on your PlayStations.
Whereas me, with my wise shoulders and my hairy ears, I'm allowed by the insurance companies to take them to the best driving country in the world.
These cars were born in the rough and tumble he-man world of rallying.
With their turbo-charged engines and their four-wheel drive systems, they grip and they go and they stop so ferociously that you're just left breathless.
In the real world with bumps and hedges, Iow-nosed, wide-bottomed Ferraris and Porsches couldn't hope to keep up with either of them.
They are astonishing.
And yet they're both relatively inexpensive Japanese saloon cars.
They've both got four doors, they've both got big boots, they're both as reliable as a Swiss bus driver's Austrian pacemaker.
What more could you possibly want? Let's deal with the Subaru first.
The old model - the one with the silly headlamps - was a softy.
The new one has a more attractive face but don't be fooled.
The steering is quicker and the suspension is tougher.
They've made it harder, edgier, Iess of a car, more of a bar room brawler.
It's a different story with the Mitsubishi Evo VIII.
The old Evo VII was like a Mafia hit man - without the compassion.
At first glance it seems they've made the Evo VIII more hard-core.
It's lighter and its gearbox has six speeds rather than five.
In actual fact though, they've made it softer and quieter.
They've even given it a fuel tank.
The old one had a zippo in the back.
You'd go four inches, then run out of petrol.
So the Subaru's been beefed up and the Mitsubishi's been watered down.
It seems then that these two cars have met in the middle.
And that means I have to go out there into the bigness of Scotland and find out which one's best.
Sometimes you know, this job is very, VERY good.
Nothing prepares you for the shock when you first take this thing round the corner.
Take a test drive.
You will not believe how much grip there is.
You just won't.
This Subaru is a hugely manly experience.
The noise it makes, it's got a macho gearbox, macho steering.
It even smells of man - the essence of burnt clutch.
Splash it on all over before going out for a curry and a fight.
The Mitsubishi is much more technical.
It's got an Active Centre Differential which moves the power to the front or the back wheels depending on which has more grip.
I just have to tell it whether I'm on Tarmac, gravel or snow.
Then it's got a Super Active Yaw Control which moves the power from side to side.
Sometimes then, in a big corner, when you're really hammering, this car is one-wheel drive.
So I can sum them up like this.
The Mitsubishi is like an F16 fighter - Iight and highly manoeuvrable.
The Subaru is more like an F15.
A fighter bomber.
As far as power is concerned, both of them get close to 150mph and both do 0-60 in under five seconds.
You can't split them on looks either.
Inside both have wilfully flimsy interiors that are lifted only by the big seats and the buttons for spraying cold water on the intercoolers.
On the outside the Subaru tries to lighten up with its jewellery but both cars really are shamelessly aggressive.
Look at the scoop on this bonnet.
And the Evo's got so many steroids it's growing out of its own body.
These cars should be called the Mitsubishi Did You Spill My Pint? and the Subaru You, Outside Now! Trying to decide which is best is hard.
They're both spoon-bendingly, hallucinogenically, law-breakingly mad and absurd.
On a wide open road like this the nimbler Mitsubishi wins.
But when things get narrow and bumpy, the Evo turns into a jet.
On a difficult road like this the Impreza feels more planted.
So, which would I buy? Ooh, I can't give you an answer now.
I'm having far too much fun.
So what did you discover after your overly long trip to Scotland? Nothing.
It's impossible to choose.
There's no tangible reason why you'd take one car over the other.
What I will say is when we finished filming and I drove to the hotel I always found myself getting into the Subaru.
I prefer the Impreza.
No idea why.
It's like I prefer dark to milk chocolate, I prefer Bedford to Bruce Forsyth.
Right, let's see if we can find out if there's any real difference between them on our test track.
Please say mushi mushi to Stig-San.
So first up the Impreza STi.
This is the tweet one, remember.
And Oh dear.
An emotional Stig this week, round Chicago.
This car does understeer so will that slow him down? It is looking good so far.
He is He IS running wide there.
Into the penultimate corner.
Come on, Stig, keep it tight.
There's loads of understeer and he goes round the finishing line! Now what about the Evo VIII? In the interests of fairness I should say this isn't the car Jeremy drove in Scotland.
It's the 301bhp FQ version.
Very tidy round Chicago.
No trace of understeer as it smoothly powers through that hammer head.
TYRES SCREECH Good Lord! Screaming at the follow-through, a second faster than the Subaru.
Will it beat it? Over the finish line.
I have the times here.
The Impreza did it in one minute 30.
1, which puts it there - faster than the Aston, just behind the Z8.
And how much faster is that than the old model? Just under one and a half seconds.
One and a half seconds faster? But get this, the Mitsubishi Evo VIII, one minute, 28.
So that's Can you reach? I can get that.
Quicker than a Lamborghini Murcielago? A very fast car.
So if you want to go round a track quickly take the Evo VIII.
Which would you choose? Impreza.
No idea why.
None of these cars on our board find much favour among the Guardian set, let's say.
Whenever I go to a dinner party the person next to me always says, "Please sit somewhere else".
Then they say, "We've got a 70mph speed limit in this country.
Why do we have such fast cars? " Well, the thing is you can drive these cars quickly.
All of the country's race tracks - Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Scotland, all of them now run things called track days where you take your own car along and drive it as fast as you want.
Bedford Autodrome - Palmer sport day.
All over the country people are queuing up to come to these "run what you brung" track days.
Because the whole point of a track day is to leave civilised roads - and let's be honest, civilised road behaviour - behind.
Why do you do it? Because there are too many speed cameras around.
And it's a way of venting your passion to drive fast because you can't in this country any more, and why the hell buy a car that'll do 155mph and not use it? It's easy to see why these "run what you brung" track days are booming.
You don't need a race licence or join a race series.
It's just you, your car and your helmet.
A £2,000 Honda Prelude and this guy think's he's Jensen Button.
I have never seen such an ordinary car take so much abuse.
Thank you! What was your mission? To have fun.
And drive the wheels off it.
That takes serious effort.
You have ruined it! They were new! I should've got some second-hand ones.
Running an old knacker is a good idea because track days aren't covered by road insurance.
If I wanted to get insurance it'd be around £120 for the day.
So I go out without it.
If you broke it though, stick it in a ditch and go, "Look! What happened? " I've heard that happens.
Yes I've seen cars pushed onto the road.
This is the Palmer Jaguar.
A track day thunderbolt.
And a more fitting remedy for a man who had once proclaimed I am a driving god! Oh my goodness! This is a properly great car.
It uses the three-litre V6 out of Jaguar's X-Type.
It has 300bhp and it weighs 600 kilos.
That is very, very light.
And it means it's very, very fast.
It really can travel at some incredible speeds.
Straight up to120, in this thing.
Turn it in far here.
Use that torque.
The lowdown power.
Come on! HE LAUGHS MANICALLY Yeeeeeees! Yes! Ha ha! Ooh! I might have overcooked that.
Ha! This is amazing! Once more! I am a driving god! It is a car fit for one, at least.
TYRES SCREECH So the driving god sped off there at 5mph.
Track days are such big business that there are lots of companies making cars designed for the purpose - racers with indicators so they can go on roads.
This Palmer Jag is one of them.
It costs £47,000, and that's a lot.
Don't worry - there are lots of others, which are cheaper.
Hey, ooh-wooh Wooh-why Hey he-ey That's the stats.
Now, let's see which is fastest on the track.
I don't know what to say, you don't care Anyway I'm a man in a rage With a girl I betrayed Here comes love, tastes like honey You can't buy it with money You're not alone any more You shook me to the core You shook me to the core Here are the cars in reverse order.
In 5th place, the Lotus Elise at 1.
And first - the amazing Radical at 1.
Right, diesel engines.
Three makers didn't do diesel engines.
Honda - they've done it.
Saab - they did it.
Now, the last one has now gone.
No! It's terrible.
It's horrific news.
They're doing a V6 in the S-type, and a four cylinder in the X-type.
Which has nothing to do with Ford.
It won't be a Ford engine, it's a Jaguar engine in every way! Yep.
But if you pick at "Jaguar", it might say ".
ord" underneath.
I have worries about this.
Jaguar is stealthy, sleek Is it going to work? Have a look - we have one here.
We'll see if it works.
LAUGHTER That simply won't work.
It loses something, doesn't it? Ah, beautiful, hearing it purr.
That is not going to work.
The worst thing is, Jaguar were working on an F-type, and they cancelled that as they'd spent their money on the diesel.
This is a heartwarming tale of British boffins.
Mark and Colin have been in their sheds smoking pipes, making tea.
They've looked at the electric car.
They have a prototype, the eMotion.
They say, "We aim to lead the way with a variety of innovations - "many could find a market in the mass production "of commercially viable electric cars.
" Let's see.
What a rubbish thing! It's got a fridge freezer! "You've forgotten the windscreen.
Lend us your crash helmet.
" They obviously made it blunt at one end, then pointy "cos it's aerodynamic"! Look! There's a way to go before it becomes a viable family car.
Why not invent another Concorde? You know that Subaru and Mitsubishi film we showed earlier? You're probably thinking, "That scenery, the cars - perfect.
" But it wasn't.
I'll show you an outtake which will explain why.
Get out of the way! Pull over once in a while! Once every 300 miles! Pull over! Ple-ease get out of the way! Please stay in a hotel next time! Ple-ease! Caravans are the bane of our lives.
We decided to set the new boy, James, a task.
Incredibly, the world speed record for caravans stands at a frankly astonishing But they thought I could beat that.
If there's anywhere to beat the world speed record for towing a caravan, it's here.
We're using this Mitsubishi Evo VII.
Not something normally featured in the Caravan Club magazine.
It will do 130 on its own, no sweat.
What will it be like towing a mobile home? It won't be a holiday! This is our caravan.
It may not be aerodynamically modified in any way.
Not so the car, which has power bursting out of its every orifice.
Its turbo charged engine develops 771bhp.
That's not the figure we're interested in.
It's torque we want.
This car has massive pulling power - the mountain closer to Mohammed.
Our driver is Lee, a stuntman.
During the run, his hand will be close to this.
One yank, and it's goodbye, caravan.
At over 100mph, crosswinds could flip the caravan, taking the car.
The windows could buckle under pressure, turning the caravan into a parachute and flipping the car.
Our first run, to test things out.
The caravan is over the speed limit.
The Evo VII is pulling hard.
Then, disaster.
It's a high speed blow-out from the kitchenette window.
Hee hee! You've bust it.
How fast were you going? In the car, it was 124.
More, and the other side will go.
Ready? That's it.
'Didn't quite manage it that time.
' I'm not quitting.
I'll have another go.
You better succeed.
One of the strangest things about being over 40 is that you start to want contestants on game shows to win.
You also start to like game show hosts, even dressed as deck chairs.
Richard Whiteley! APPLAUSE Wow.
How are you? Have a seat.
I've got to be careful with this.
It's back to Bridlington tomorrow.
How much do you get for renting that out? Mind you, I'm not one to talk.
Let's be honest - really.
Let's do your career history.
Born up north.
Which is fine.
Educated at Cambridge.
Wooh! Someone has to be.
You were the first person on Channel Four.
Got eaten by a ferret.
That's it.
What about your car history? My first was a Ford Anglia, now immortalised by Harry Potter.
Sloping back window.
Two-tone grey.
It was my mother's.
When I got my first job, I bought it from her.
I was 21, 22.
Your notes say you had a Lancia Fulvia.
A fantastic car! It WAS fantastic.
Fulvias are a pretty car.
What was it like? Red and chrome.
Yeah? Coupe, two seater, black leather seats.
Quite a difficult gear shift, actually.
It took a bit of driving.
Wooden steering wheel.
Beautiful things.
And now? I've got a Jaguar, actually! A new one? I got it three weeks ago.
One of the new ones with a Yes.
Has it got that grille? It has.
You're right, I saw your piece.
It's fabulous, but what a pity about the radiator.
Have you stuck with Jags? This is my fifth Jag, my fourth X Jag.
You know, I'm 59 now.
I deserve it, don't I? I've had a Jag for years.
I'm embarrassed.
I always wanted one.
The first I got five years ago, I was so proud.
One day, as a trustee of the Royal Armouries, a priceless collection of arms and armour In Leeds.
£45m building, the most secure one in Leeds.
I had to get a parking pass from reception, so I roared up, outside the big glass doors of the armouries, nobody around, opened the door, engine running, and rushed in to get my pass.
I parked at the front as I'm a trustee - who's going to tell me off? I pushed this door round, and saw someone getting in to my car.
I thought, "They're terrific, the armouries.
They're valet parking it for me.
" "Fantastic.
" And then it roared off.
A Jaguar does do 0-60 in five seconds! Whoosh, it was gone.
It was nicked? It was nicked.
Did you ever get it back? I got it back about ten days later.
It was OK.
They'd used the ashtrays Oh, no.
And they'd retuned the radio from Radio 4, so I was a bit annoyed.
Anyway, I did get it back and it was OK.
But a year later, I went on a charity visit to Armley Jail in Leeds, we were being shown round and they echo, these prisons, have you been in one? Yeah.
This is But we won't go there! We were looking round - the great and the good of Leeds - and from the galleries high up, someone yelled down - can I do this? they said, "Northern Whiteley, you fat BLEEP! " "Where's Carol? " One of the prisoners accompanying us said, "That's Jed up there what cried down at you.
"He's a real hero in this prison.
" I said, "Why, what's he done? How many people has he killed? " He said, "He were the lad what nicked your car two years ago!" LAUGHTER I want to play a game with you.
This Countdown thing.
This rearranging letters.
What do you reckon? Any ideas on that one? I'm short-sighted, thank goodness! Tell you what, we've got some here.
What do you think that might be? Mini, Mini.
Mini? You're absolutely right.
It's mini.
What about sexul? Sexul? Gary Lineker's got one.
Nothing sexy about him or it.
Got to be a Lexus.
He's right.
That's two.
They're getting harder now.
What do we think that one is? Anyone got any ideas? AUDIENCE: Land Rover.
That's two words! Nevor Lard is two words! Come on! Play the game.
We ARE playing the game! OK, then.
Who works out these for you? I did it.
He's right, Mitsubishi.
Oh, Mitsubishi.
You're good! These are getting longer and longer.
We can play the music while you work this out.
COUNTDOWN MUSIC BEGINS Is that one word or two? One word or two? Two words.
You blew it.
Has anyone guessed? MAN: Hispano Suiza! Hispano Suiza, says the man over there.
He should be on your show.
Is that not the most annoying music? It is THE most annoying music in the world.
Do you have it on your mobile phone? AUDIENCE LAUGHS Do you have it on your mobile phone? Do you Yes! When you ring your mobile Yes, yes, I do! What I'm interested in is how you got on in our reasonably-priced car.
This is very embarrassing.
Shall we find out? Richard's lap.
TYRES SCREECH Here we go You're putting a lot of effort into this.
This is where he said don't brake.
I've got to.
Quite smooth quite fast.
And into the last corner That's a nice line.
We have the time.
And I'm afraid it's a sad day in Top Gear history.
And a sad day for Harry Enfield.
AUDIENCE: No! Richard Whiteley is the slowest man ever with a time of two minutes six seconds! Enfield is going to be absolutely apoplectic.
His proudest boast to date was he was so slow and you've beaten him! By miles! Frankly, your life is now ruined.
I know.
But thank you.
It's a joy to have you.
Richard Whiteley! You've ruined my life! Thanks very much.
Earlier on I was told to go and break the world caravan speed record, which stands at 128mph.
And I failed.
So I had another go.
With the window repaired to Aerospace standards, caravan glory is within Lee's grasp.
This time the cross winds have built up.
The caravan starts to fishtail.
Lee keeps his nerve and keeps his foot to the floor.
He hits 125.
That looks great for a new record.
Just 5mph more.
There's plenty of runway left.
But then, oil and smoke everywhere.
This doesn't look good.
I'm not an engineer, but I'd say it was mullered.
I think the piston's gone, or low on fuel, I'm not sure.
We can't have another go then? Not with this car.
There you go.
BBC Top Gear, the world's anti-caravan organisation defeated by a 20-year-old Abbey GT214.
It's pathetic.
I wonder if James May realises.
We don't tolerate failure on Top Gear.
It's not an option.
Maybe he doesn't know about the tank of piranhas.
He'll be in it if he doesn't get it right.
Get rid of that.
Got some housekeeping to do on the cool wall.
Anne Robinson said it's silly the TT is this far down, because it's a cool car, it needs moving up.
You're doing that cos she's not here.
Exactly! I have one - there's an omission off the cool wall.
And it's this.
Which is the Mercedes SL55 AMG.
What a car.
Jeremy's car! What a car! There is an issue with this.
It's just been bought by somebody quite famous.
Do you want to guess? Brad Pitt.
Cameron Diaz.
Let me help you, Jeremy.
It's Dale Winton.
Dale Winton's a nice chap.
No, he's orange.
It's uncool.
I'm glad you brought my car up.
I've got one I'd like to share with you.
The least cool car I've seen in a while - 1982 Porsche 911 SC.
Particularly if someone has written on the back and fitted a turbo body kit.
That's my car! That really is your car! And it's hideous, so it's going here.
And it's left-hand drive, so you're a cheapskate.
It's true! It's never overtaken anyone.
That's what passengers are for.
His dog ate it.
She did.
A couple more I have to stick up - Mitsubishi Evo VIII, we looked at.
Where's it go? AUDIENCE: Sub-cool? Wrong! Why is it sub-cool? It's a proper car.
It's fast and it handles well.
That's nothing to do with coolness.
It's like having ginger hair.
Anyone else got any thoughts on it? MAN: Uncool.
He says it's uncool, he's kind of right.
The thing is, it's very gender-specific.
If you're a man, it's really uncool.
If you're a woman, it's fantastic.
We wanna meet you.
So it kind of goes there, as doesthe same story with the Subaru.
Put that there.
Right in the middle with the F60.
It's funny, it's the way of the cool wall.
I've got one last one here, the Peugeot 206 GTI 180bhp.
What do we think? Uncool! It's not uncool! Who said uncool? Me! Why is it uncool? It's a Peugeot! What's that got to do with it? It's ugly! That's nothing to do with coolness! Anyone think it is cool? Right, I do.
I'm gonna explain why.
It's a hot hatchback - hot hatchbacks are cool.
They're small, they're easy to run.
I had one the other week, came down here, drove it in second gear all the way, made me feel 18! All of which is good, and they're good cars.
I just Everybody else thinks it's uncool, you think it's cool.
Casting vote here.
I reckon, apply your own test.
The Kristen Scott Thomas test.
Picture her outside her apartment in that.
She'll get in.
She'll get in the diesel one of the bloke behind.
I think it's uncool.
Oh, my God! What's up with you? Chinese burn.
Why don't you give him a dead leg? I will.
I'll butt him, but I won't reach.
I was talking to an independent local dealer the other week about waiting lists, three-year-old Toyota Rav 4s.
How does that work? Whenever you went to your local dealer and had a good stock of three-year-old cars, he would've bought those from company fleets that sold them at auction.
All of a sudden, they've changed tactics.
They're holding onto cars so they can save money on buying cars.
They're not selling cars off - they might keep them for five years.
Usual supply of three-year-old mainstream cars has dried up.
Top Gear top tip - don't buy something like that now.
If anyone's got a three-year-old Toyota Rav 4 they want rid of, I know a bloke who'll have your arm off.
Time to sell it is now.
Cars are facelifted throughout their lives, and when that happens the old version costs less.
It's often not very different.
It's tweaks.
Tweaks and things.
The VW Passat.
Earlier this year, this car was facelifted.
The little rubber strips on the bumper were replaced with little chrome strips.
As a result, cars with the rubber strips on the bumper are worth a bit less.
It's ridiculous.
How much? VW Passat 1.
8T, metallic paint, Iist price £18,200.
With rubber bits on the bumper, a bit over £15,500.
Hey?! Yeah.
You save how much? I want to ask you this.
Tell me honestly, what do you want? Shiny bumpers, £2,500 to spend on beer and a holiday? I'll take the money! That's insane! That's pretty much the only visual difference.
The rubber-bumpered car is still a 2003 car and is new.
That's it from Insider Dealing.
In the last two years, Lotus have sold 5,000 of these Elises.
Vauxhaull have sold 1,000 of these VX220s.
You might think that's odd because if you peel away the bodies they're basically the same car.
They're made in the same factory.
I can explain what's going on.
I've got two Armani jackets.
Open it up, you see? Says Armani in there.
Now in this one, I've changed the label so it says Millets.
Which one are you gonna buy? Hm? Exactly.
Vauxhall have realised it's no good making their car the same as the Lotus.
It has to be much, much better.
This, then, is the new VX.
You'll note the new spoiler on the back and its smart new wheels.
Inside, you'll take in the leather seats and if you snout around, you'll clock the extra soundproofing to make it even more refined.
You'll notice these things and think, "That is a really, really pretty car.
" Well done, Vauxhall.
I'll have the Lotus.
I mean, it's not like the Vauxhall is any easier to get into.
If you're taller than six inches or have any extraneous body parts, realistically, you need to take the roof off before you can get behind the wheel.
No problems there.
It has the same simple roof as the Elise, same basic chassis and with a price of £25,000 it costs about the same, too.
It has the same handmade feel, too.
There are squeaks and rattles.
But there is one big difference.
The normal Vauxhall VX, the 220, has a 2.
2 litre engine which is fine in a ham sandwichy way but in this, they've added pickle.
The engine is smaller, just two litres, but it has a turbo charger.
That means 200bhp.
So, this may be a bit heavier than an Elise, thanks to its airbag and its anti-lock brakes and its soundproofing and turbo.
But it is hugely fast! I like the feel of acceleration.
There's a cosiness as your internal organs are marshalled by the G-forces into a little puddle in your spine, but in this, it's like you're being electrocuted.
It keeps on kicking you in the back of the head with its million-volt shoes all the way to 150.
Wicked! It's so quick that on the press launch in Spain four of them were crashed by journalists.
There was a rustle in the hedgerow.
Remember when Marks and Spencer's launched that range of underwear that was seethrough and boudoirish? This car is as big a departure for Vauxhall as those knickers were for M&S.
And you know what? We haven't even got to the best bit yet - its handling! I drove an Elise round this track in the last series, and I know I've got fingers of butter and fists of ham, but it really was understeery and this just isn't.
Miles of oversteer, you can get it up to the limit and just hold it there.
Love it! Brilliant.
One thing'll get me off this racetrack - if it runs out of fuel.
That's the first time I've thought that while behind the wheel of a Vauxhall.
Lotus has responded to this car with a 190 Elise that we saw earlier in the programme, but that cost £33,000 - £8,000 more than this.
This has an airbag and is more comfortable.
I do believe this is the sports car of the moment.
I'll give anyone a fiver if they can find the word "Vauxhall" written anywhere on it.
One more test.
The Stig.
So, off the line.
200bhp and a feather-light body on a dry track.
This should be fast! MUSIC: "Son Of A Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield It's Dusty Stig-field! This car was designed by Lotus.
So was our track, so it should be brilliant here, as he goes through Chicago Very tidy! Now, coming up to Hammer Head, this can catch out mid-engine cars but the VX has no problem at all! In the first sector this car was level-pegging with the BMW.
Can it beat the BM? Come on, Stig! He's crossed the line! That is Quicker than an M3! That is an amazingly good car.
Now, we've got one minute left and James has to use that time to get that caravan past the speed record.
I've been looking at the Guinness Book Of Records.
It doesn't say that I have to use a car to tow the caravan, so I've decided to rely on the most powerful engine in the universe - gravity.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER Do you know something - who'd like to see that again? Yes! Yeah.
Oh! Ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! Look at that! I'm not sure that was faster than 125mph, but I don't care! Absolutely don't care, and on that flimsy, fibreglass bomb it's time to end the show.