'Top Gear' – Top stunts from BBC America series
Any gearhead has to envy Paddy McGuinness, Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris.
As hosts of BBC America’s “Top Gear,” they get to try the latest and greatest in auto technology, retrofit existing cars to do things other than their intended purpose, travel to exotic and not-so-exotic locations and attempt the most outrageous stunts imaginable.
New episodes get going Sunday, Sept. 6, and promise more craziness as the trio get to do do things like bungee-jump an old Rover off a dam, race a McLaren against a fighter jet and take on a high-altitude expedition in used American cars across the Peruvian Andes. And basically be teenagers again.
It’s stunts like these that have kept viewers entertained since the show’s premiere in 2002 and they join the long list of things you should never try at home with your car that the series has actually tried. Like these:
The Amphibious Car Challenge (Season 8): A few tweaks and a Volkswagen van, a Toyota pick-up truck and a Triumph Herald were deemed seaworthy enough for then-hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May to take out onto a reservoir. One guy and his craft made it to the other side; the other two were glad they wore life jackets.
Double Decker Car Race (Season 11): Cars welded one on top of the other took to the track piloted by two drivers, one on top steering and the other on bottom operating the brakes, throttle and gears. What could possibly go wrong there? We won’t reveal the outcome except to point out that there is a reason top-heavy vehicles cost more to insure.
Caravan Airship (Season 14): An airship with a caravan attached to the underside drifts over the English countryside, apparently piloted by James May, eventually crashing near an airport. It was a pretty spectacular stunt gone wrong – until it was revealed the crash was a set-up and a professional pilot was actually in control during the “accident.”
Car Darts (Season 4): Inspired by James Bond movies, cars are propelled into the air by a big nitrogen-powered cannon into a quarry, where an enormous dart board was painted on its floor. May and Hammond proved quite adept at adjusting thrust and launch angle to hit the target, though had their problems when a caravan was placed in the bull’s-eye.
Reliant Robin Shuttle Challenge (Season 9): The plan in this episode was to fashion the tiny, pointy British auto Reliant Robin into a space shuttle, attach it to a fuel tank and booster rockets and send it aloft, where it would separate and glide safely to Earth. The first half of that equation went off without a hitch; the second half, well, didn’t. A spectacular failure ensued.