Top Gear is my favorite show. It combines people doing the most outrageous things with cars, while talking about cars, with great humor. Top Gear goes back to 1977, where it was a motor magazine show, similar to Motorweek. It lasted until 2002, with 45 seasons and 515 episodes. In 2002, Top gear had an overhaul, with a new format this is still used today, featuring three presenters and a tamed racing driver. The first series of Top Gear featured Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and Jason Dawe.
On Series 1, Episode 1, Jeremy reviews the Citroen Berlingo,, Richard talks about a prototype Ford supercar, Jeremy reviews two Italian supercars, Jeremy demonstrates using vegetable oil for fuel, Jason Dawe gives some money saving tips, Richard Hammond tries to beat a speed camera, Richard reviews the Mazda 6, and Harry Enfield is a star in a reasonably priced car.
Segment 1: Citroen Berlingo
Segment 2: GT40
|Ford GT40 Prototype|
Segment 3: the News
|Fiat Stilo Estate|
|Bently Continental GT|
Jeremy announced that the British government will be 145 million pounds over the next 5 years on the road network. Fiat is in deep trouble, currently losing 2 million pounds a day. To save itself Fiat is coming out with an estate version of the Stilo. If Fiat fails, Fiat will take Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo with them. If Fiat fails, General Motors would buy Fiat. Ferrari would be owned by General Motors. Richard announces that Nissan will be making a new version of the Micra. Smart will be coming out with two versions, a coupe and a cabriolet version of the Smart Car. Jeremy says that the problem with F1 is that Ferrari has completely dominating F1. Jeremy also says the F1 cars are loaded with technology. Pit crews could tune the car from a computer. Richard then goes on to talk about the Bentley Continental GT. Powering this car is a W12 engine. The engine produces so much torque that the amount torque generated cannot be determined.
Segment 4: Italian Supercars
|The Original Stig|
Segment 5: Try to Beat a Speed Camera
|Honda Civic Type R|
Richard Hammond does an experiment to see if a car can beat a speed camera. Richard wanted to know what is the minimum speed a car must go to not have its picture taken a second time by speed camera. Driving the car will be the Stig. The first attempt is done in a Honda Civic Type-R three-door hatchback. The Civic went 129 mph and got caught by the camera. Other attempts will be shown later on in the episode.
Segment 6: Harry Enfield in a Suzuki
Segment 7: More Attempts to beat a speed camera
|Mecedes Benz CL55 AMG|
Segment 8: Running a car on Vegetable Oil
Jeremy talks about how a supermarket is rationalizing fuel. Jeremy says that it is almost brilliant to run a car on vegetable oil, except it ruins the engine. He has a guy come on the show to demonstrate how adding an additive to the vegetable oil. The additive is a white spirit. He says to put 3 ml of additive for every 97 ml of vegetable oil. Let it stand for a week. The vegetable oil plus additive can work in any diesel engine. The engine does not need to be modified to work. The performance is the same, maybe even better than using diesel engine. He tries vegetable oil with the additive on a Volvo 760 diesel and it works. After the segment, Harry's lap was shown and he went around the track in 2:01.0.
Segment 9: Insider Dealing
Jason Dawe shows how much a Mini One goes for a year after it is sold. The Impreza made in 2002 and cost 18,995 pounds. Jason says wait because the Impreza will drop in prize. The reason is that Subaru is coming out with a new version of the Impreza. Jason also says that there will only be 3000 Volvo XC90s coming to Britain for 2002, and there are 220 Volvo dealerships in Great Britain. Each dealership will get one XC90 each month.
Segment 10: Mazda 6
Segment 11: Final Attempt at Beating a Speed Camera
Overall, this was a good pilot episode. It was entertaining, but the hosts were not taking shots at one another. The humor that Top Gear is now known for had not been developed yet. Jason Dawe talked about saving money. Jason was not funny and had a limited role in the show before being replaced by James May for Series 2. Jeremy and Richard have a few witty jokes. This episode created the formula that Top Gear and its localized spin-offs would use. Some of the cars featured were not brought to America. Citroen has not been sold in America since 1974. There are no Pagani dealerships in America. Recently, Fiat returned to America with the Fiat 500. The Nissan Mirca is not sold in America. The most interesting part of this episode was trying to beat a speed camera, which was done at 170 mph in a TVR Tuscan S.
Final Verdict: 63 Stigs out of 100. This is the Top Gear that is watched worldwide, not Top Gear US. So scores will be out of 100 Stigs, not 10 Stigs. Top Gear US episodes cannot match the quality of Top Gear episodes.