Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Top Gear US Season 2 Episode 8 "Hollywood Cars"

On this episode, the guys drive replica of famous movie and TV cars, Tanner races against a dirt bike in  a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, and a Soprano does a lap in a Suzuki.

KITT from Knight Rider

Delorean DMC-12 from Back To The Future
General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard

Segment 1: Hollywood Cars Introduction

1995 Pontiac Trans Am dressed as KITT

Nissan 200SX dressed as the Delorean

Plymouth Duster as the General Lee
This week's challenge is to recreate a famous car on a $2,000.00 budget. Rutledge arrives first at the meeting spot in a 1995 Pontiac Trans Am that is based on KITT from Knight Rider. KITT was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am with red lights on the hood and was voiced by William Daniels. Rutledge has a new scanner on the hood, a different type of computer, and a big red turbo button. Tanner arrives next with a Nissan 200SX that is based on the Delorean from the Back to the Future movies. The Nissan has gullwing doors like the ones on a Delorean, but Tanner has to use a pole to keep the doors up. On the back hatch of the Nissan is a Mr. Fusion prop. Adam arrives last in a Plymouth Duster that is based on the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. Adam gets out of the Duster just like how Luke and Bo get out of the General Lee, through the window opening. Adam says that Rutledge has his daughter's toys for his gadgets in the Trans Am. The guys receive their first challenge.The guys have to travel 30 miles east of the starting location to reach their first challenge.

As far as the cars go, I like Tanner's take on the time machine the least. I have a few problems with Tanner's car. The Delorean was a rear-mid engine car with gullwing doors that could stay up without any assistance. Tanner's Nissan has the engine in the front, needs poles to keep the doors up, and needs help closing the doors. the Mr. Fusion prop on the rear hatch looks like horrible. I like Adam's car the best. The General Lee was a Dodge Charger. Adam got a Plymouth Duster. Both Dodge and Plymouth are part of the Chrysler group (Plymouth brand ended in 2001). The main characteristic of the General Lee is that you get in and out of the car through the window opening. Adam got that right. The only issue I have with Rutledge's Trans Am is that Rutledge used children toys for the interior. It just looks bad. I like the scanner in the front and the fact that Rutledge went with a 1995 Trans Am.

On the way to the first challenge, a Hollywood Tour guide mistook Tanner's Nissan as the real Delorean from Back to the Future. Tanner says that you cannot get a Delorean for $2000. Tanner says the Nissan has a more edgy shape, just like the Delorean. The Nissan has a metallic paint job to replicate the Delorean's stainless steel body. Adam says the General Lee is an icon. Adam says his car is crap and that he could not find a 1969 Dodge Charger since the production crew for the Dukes of Hazzard used them all up. Adam even has the famous horn of the General Lee. Adam got a tip from a homeless guy. Rutledge says he used a speak and spell toy for his computer and used the the Staples easy button for the turbo button. The smaller buttons were glued on and are there for show purposes only. The guys arrive at their first challenge.

Segment 2: Performance Challenge

To see which car has the best performance, the guys must accelerate to 88 mph and the come to a complete stop before hitting a wall of boxes. The challenge is based on Back to the Future, where Marty McFly hit 88 mph in the Delorean and traveled back in time and avoided crashing into a brick wall. Whoever has the shortest stopping distance wins. The guys will also have to compete against the Suzuki SX4. Tanner makes a joke "What happens if I vanish?" He got no reaction from Rutledge or Adam. Rutledge goes first and his Trans Am has the other two worried. Rutledge hits a button on his computer, asks KITT if he is ready, and is off. Rutledge stops well short of the boxes. Tanner goes next and says that there is no way he is hitting 88 mph. He sets off and only manages to reach 77 mph before hitting the boxes. Adam goes next. He is starting to regret replacing a 1969 Charger with a Duster. Rutledge rubs it that he beat Tanner in the challenge. Adam sets off and the Duster is moving slowly. The Duster's speedometer does not work. He hits the bricks, has no breaks, and drifts in to the grass. The Duster hit 73 mph before crashing into the boxes. Rutledge wins the performance challenge. The show returns to the Top Gear US hanger where the Rutledge and Tanner introduce the next segment.

Segment 2: Subaru Impreza WRX STi Review

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Hatchback
The Impreza WRX STi is the fastest car built by Subaru. To test the car, Tanner goes to a ghost town near a mountainous area. The WRX STi is a turbocharged car with all-wheel drive. For $35,000, the car is unbelievably fast. The car can go 140 mph on bumpy B-roads. The car goes from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. When driven off-road, the WRX STi comes alive. To see how good the off-road capabilities of the car really are, Tanner puts it through a test. Tanner will race against X-Games dirt bike champion Cam Sinclair through Eagle Mountain. The guys will start on top of a hill and drive through the iron mine, and finish outside the ghost town. Tanner would be driving the rally version of the WRX STi. Tanner had to take the curvy roads while the bike can go straight down the hill. The bike took an early lead. Tanner was right behind the bike before the two vehicles went their separate routes. Tanner had to stick to the roads. Cam took the bike down a 50 degree decline. After reaching the bottom of the decline, Cam was off. The two were neck and neck as they hit the industrial park. Tanner could not resist performing a jump, which put him behind Cam. The guys were at the last part. Both had to weave through houses to reach the finish line. Eventually, Tanner passes Cam and reaches the finish line first. Back at the hanger, Tanner compared the WRX STi to the Mistubishi Lancer Evolution X that he drove down a snowy mountain during season 1. He says the WRX STi is more fun off-road, but the Evo is more fun on the pavement. The Stig drives the Subaru around the test track in 1:30.0, which is 0.8 seconds slower than the Evo. 

Segment 3: Rockford turn

The show returns to the Hollywood Cars competition as the guys end up at an empty runway. The guys want to try to do a unique turn based on the Rockford Files. You drive reverse really fast and the do a 180 degree turn and then speed off going forward. Tanner does it in the Nissan, even with his doors opening up. Adam goes next but goes too slow in his Duster and fails. Rutledge goes and drives into the dirt, costing him forward momentum. Tanner wins the Rockford Turn Challenge. 

Segment 4: Soprano in a Little Car.

Steve Schirripa
The segment starts with Steve Schirripa, of  The Sporanos fame, driving the Suzuki SX4 around the test track. He finishes the lap and ends up in the hanger. In the interview with Adam, Steve reveals that the Stig taught him how to drive a manual car. Steve's first car was a 1969 AMC Javelin. Steve's lap time was 1:55.2, tying Michelle Rodriguez, who did her lap on a wet track. His favorite movie/TV car was the car from My Mother The Car.

Segment 5: Outrun the Stig

Chevrolet Camaro
For the final challenge, the guys had to find out which car is the best for getaways. Each presenter must try to outrun the Stig in a Chevrolet Camaro while avoiding movie props such as a fruit stand. The guys will each have a 15 second head start and whoever can evade the Stig the longest will win the challenge. Tanner is up first. Tanner takes out a road barrier. The Stig catches up to Tanner. Tanner's time is 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Adam was up next. Adam is off to a slow stop and hits the fruit stand. The Stig catches up to Adam. His time was 1 minute and 19 seconds. Rutledge was up next. Rutledge hits the road barrier and the Stig catches up to him. Rutledge's time was 3 minutes and 34 seconds. He is pumped that he beat Tanner and apologizes to Adam for beating him. He just gloats in Tanner's face. Adam says that if he had a bigger budget, he would have gotten a real Charger and would have won. Tanner says that if he had a real Delorean, he would have gone slower. The show ends.

Overall, this was a slightly above average episode for Top Gear US. The first challenge was average. The Subaru segment was very entertaining to watch. The Rockford Turn was boring. Steve Schirripa was not funny. But the car chase with the Stig was the best segment. Rutledge's gloating was very funny. The fact that he rubbed it in Tanner's face and apologized to Adam for beating him was great. This episode did something that most Top Gear US episodes did not do, feature the Stig in more than one segment. 

Final Verdict: 6 out of 10 Stigs. The Subaru and car chase segments were great and very entertaining to watch. Skip the Schirripa segment and the Rockford Turn segments. The performance segment was slightly watchable.

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