Attended the GT Nashville taping today. (no spoilers)

Censport

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The museum I work for was invited to bring out a few cars to display at the Grand Tour taping in Nashville. The producers actually contacted us a few months ago, and two staff came to visit in person. The cast and production staff tossed around ideas for the Nashville episode and in the end, we didn't have anything they wanted to use for the show. But we were still invited to bring a few cars to display outside, and in exchange those driving the cars could attend the taping. Everybody finally agreed on how many cars and which ones, and early this morning, we set off into Nashville traffic to the big tent.

We arrived on time and at the right entrance, but the security staff didn't know anything about us. Which is almost to be expected at such productions. They finally let us in the first lot while they radio'd the GT staff. Eventually, we were instructed to go in the next lot and were finally led to our display spot. One of the GT staff directed the lineup, and the end result looked good. My phone photography does not, however. Sorry, I had trouble with the lighting.







Now I can't not mention this next bit, especially in case you - the reader - are ever approached by a production company to participate in an event: Get the promises in writing. Prior to bringing the cars over, we were told that someone would come get us and take us in through the VIP entrance. We waited and waited, but this never happened. It wasn't until they were about to close the admissions that we got someone working admissions to stop and talk to us. Naturally, they didn't know anything about us either. So they got the head security guy. Who had to radio the GT staff guy who lined up our cars. No VIP treatment. We had to go through the regular entrance. Now I don't mind going through security. Thanks to a Jalopnik post by someone who attended the California taping, I knew phones and cameras wouldn't be allowed and that we would be wanded and/or frisked. Thankfully, one of the agreed-upon cars (the Urraco) has a lockable trunk so we stashed our phones and cameras in it. (There was a security guard whose job it was to keep an eye on our cars. It turns out he just chatted with a police officer while people pawed over and climbed in our museum cars, which is another rant.) No, the problems with not getting the promised VIP entrance were not getting a good position on the floor (we were in the back with crew and cameras running around us) and - most importantly - not having a chance to meet The Lads. Which was the real reason we rearranged our staff schedules, I rescheduled a trip to Japan, and one of our part-time guys rearranged his schedule at his regular job.

Okay, rant over.

At least we got to attend a GT taping, which is rare for anyone. The Lads are as funny in real life as they are on edited television. We saw clips for the 9th episode. We saw yet another celebrity "killed off". I could see Clarkson pretty well most of the time, but only got glances of Hammond and May through the crowd. A friend of the museum, Toly Arutunoff, had an un-credited cameo that will likely make the final cut into the episode, thanks to his knowledge of old record players. And that's about all I can tell you. You'll have to watch the episode.

As my coworkers were loading the Helicron into the trailer, I wandered over to a nice American muscle car in the parking lot to take a quick pic. The gent getting into it was staff and told me that Richard had been driving it the day before. I had tried to source just such a car for the show but the owner of that car didn't respond properly, so this other car was used instead. Still, I gave him my card and asked him to contact me if I could be of help in the future, including in Japan.

We did see The Lads (and the celebrity guest, very much alive) as we were driving out. The Lads were in the limo/van/bus sandwiched between the Matra D-Jet I was driving and the Tatra T-87 driven by one of my coworkers. The still-alive guest was in a limo/SUV a few cars ahead, giving thumbs up to our guys in the Urraco and the Fiat 508C. Heading to different airports, I guess.

Questions?
 

Elijah B.

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This sounds to me that dead celebs might be a recurring theme through the season.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

CraigB

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Nice write-up! Sounds like a great time, even with the troubles. I'd say that is a typical experience with staff. There's so many staff at an event like this it's impossible for all the staff know every detail.

Questions?
Yes, what is this (on the left)?

 

leviathan

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That's obviously a car with a moustache. :jc:

Great write-up, thanks for the post. I kinda hoped the "killing off" of the celebs in E1 would be the end of that segment altogether... well, they can still edit it out of the rest, since quite a lot of the Internet appears to agree with me on that one, and Amazon know their audience well :)
 

Censport

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This sounds to me that dead celebs might be a recurring theme through the season.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks for reading. Somewhere on YouTube there is a recent interview with May, and he said it would be a recurring theme for the first season. Sorry, didn't realize that was a spoiler.

Nice write-up! Sounds like a great time, even with the troubles. I'd say that is a typical experience with staff. There's so many staff at an event like this it's impossible for all the staff know every detail.
Thank you. Yes, that's the way I took it. I think there is a word for it. Cluster-something... :lol:

It was just frustrating, as meeting the guys who are, in a way, "The Beatles of our genre"* is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Yes, what is this (on the left)?
As Eye-Q and CrzRsn noted, it's a 1985 MG Metro 6R4. When Group B rallying was prematurely ended in 1985, companies building the race cars had several cars still in the process of being built. Williams had six 6R4s when the series was suddenly cancelled, so they converted them to street use. Ours is one of those six. And yes, we do drive it, as we drive all of our cars. The 6R4 is rarely driven on the street, however, as the differentials don't like 90-degree corners on asphalt. Well, not at legal speeds, anyway. Our manager took it to The Mitty at Road Atlanta a few years ago, and had a blast during the "parade" laps.

Here is a video I shot during a "Start Your Engines" event a few years back:


And while I'm at it, here is a video of the Urraco we brought out. I'm driving in this one.


That's obviously a car with a moustache. :jc:

Great write-up, thanks for the post. I kinda hoped the "killing off" of the celebs in E1 would be the end of that segment altogether... well, they can still edit it out of the rest, since quite a lot of the Internet appears to agree with me on that one, and Amazon know their audience well :)
To their credit, they only killed off one celeb during our episode. Shame though, I really liked the bloke. :lol:

3 million? Dang!


*copyright Censport 2016 :D
 

Andeh

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Oh man, your museum has some awesome pieces. Do you have a separate thread for it? I'd love to wrack your brains about some of it, like the American Austin 3/4 and the ABC....
 

thud

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As Eye-Q and CrzRsn noted, it's a 1985 MG Metro 6R4. When Group B rallying was prematurely ended in 1985, companies building the race cars had several cars still in the process of being built. Williams had six 6R4s when the series was suddenly cancelled, so they converted them to street use. Ours is one of those six. And yes, we do drive it, as we drive all of our cars. The 6R4 is rarely driven on the street, however, as the differentials don't like 90-degree corners on asphalt. Well, not at legal speeds, anyway. Our manager took it to The Mitty at Road Atlanta a few years ago, and had a blast during the "parade" laps.



*copyright Censport 2016 :D
Wow, as I was scrolling down I saw the car, the eyes and brain didn't register for a few seconds, then the holy crap moment, what a fantastic piece to have in the museum.
 

bone

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As Eye-Q and CrzRsn noted, it's a 1985 MG Metro 6R4. When Group B rallying was prematurely ended in 1985, companies building the race cars had several cars still in the process of being built. Williams had six 6R4s when the series was suddenly cancelled, so they converted them to street use. Ours is one of those six. And yes, we do drive it, as we drive all of our cars. The 6R4 is rarely driven on the street, however, as the differentials don't like 90-degree corners on asphalt. Well, not at legal speeds, anyway. Our manager took it to The Mitty at Road Atlanta a few years ago, and had a blast during the "parade" laps.
Williams? as in Williams F1? i had no idea they ever did something for rally! :eek:
or is that some rally dude/team that doesn't ring a bell?
 

CrzRsn

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Williams? as in Williams F1? i had no idea they ever did something for rally! :eek:
or is that some rally dude/team that doesn't ring a bell?
Looks like it is that Williams, though Wikipedia says that there were more than 6 made. Or does the article count the homologated version and there were only 6 real competition cars?

Created for the short lived Group B race category, the 4WD mid engined MG Metro 6R4 of 1984 (6-cylinder, rally car, four-wheel-drive) was a world away from the best selling supermini to which it bore only a superficial cosmetic resemblance. The competition car effectively only shared the name of the production Metro as it featured a mid-mounted engine with four wheel drive transmission enclosed within a semi-monocoque seam-welded tubular chassis. The development of this vehicle had been entrusted to Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

The resulting car was shown to the world in May 1985. It was powered by a David Wood designed bespoke 3-litre V6 powerplant which used some of the engine architecture of the Cosworth DFV. It featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The engine was a break from the norm, as it wasn't turbocharged as the majority of its competitors were. The engine was mounted back to front in the car, with the forward end of the engine facing the hatchback and the gearbox attached conventionally behind it and, therefore, in the middle of the vehicle. The four-wheel-drive was permanently engaged, and drove separate propshafts to the front and rear differentials. The rear differential was mounted on the side of the engine sump with one driveshaft running through the sump to the nearside rear wheel. Much of the outer bodywork was made of GRP, with the only exception being the roof panels (which were aluminium), the steel doors and the remaining panels from the original Metro shell. The doors were, however, concealed by plastic airboxes. Indeed, models now on show generally have stickers demonstrating where it is safe to push from when moving the vehicle, so as not to damage the bodywork.

The 6R4 appeared in two guises. There was a so-called Clubman model which was the road going version which developed in the region of 250 bhp (186 kW), of which around 200 were made and sold to the public for ?40,000 (the homologation version). A further 20 were taken and built to International specifications which had a recorded output of over 410 bhp (306 kW; 416 PS)

At its launch in 1985, Rover announced that it would complete the necessary number of cars required for homologation by November of that year. This was undertaken at the group's large manufacturing facility at Longbridge. The car was to participate in the Lombard RAC rally in November 1985, and an example, driven by works driver Tony Pond, finished a highly respectable third, behind two Lancia Delta S4s.

This good start was unfortunately not repeated, and although a 6R4 was entered in rallies at Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal and Corsica during the 1986 season, none of the Metros managed to complete a course. The majority of these problems were related to the V6 powerplant which suffered teething issues. Halfway during the 1986 season, Group B was banned (following a series of fatal crashes in which both competitors and spectators lost their lives). From that point on, the 6R4 was always going to be limited in front line competition, although they were run with limited success for the remainder of the year. A number passed into private hands and have proved formidable rally and rallycross cars. Despite the expiry of the 6R4's homologation the MSA still allow the cars to run in competition although engine sizes have been limited to 2800cc (single plenum engines) and 2500cc (multi-plenum engines).

Austin Rover withdrew from the rallying scene at the end of the season, but in 1987 all the parts and engines were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing, whereupon the V6 engine reappeared in the Jaguar XJ220, this time with turbochargers added.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Metro#MG_Metro_6R4_rally_car
 
Last edited:

Webmonkey

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It's an MG Metro 6R4. The yellow thing is a cover for the "christmas tree" rallye headlights.

[edit]
Haha, ninja'd! :ninja:
[/edit]
I used to marhall at low-level Rallying in the UK, the 6R4 was always a source of much hillarity. It's a bonkers little car that one - amazed one made it to Nashville!
 

Censport

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Oh man, your museum has some awesome pieces. Do you have a separate thread for it? I'd love to wrack your brains about some of it, like the American Austin 3/4 and the ABC....
Don't have a separate thread for the museum, but go ahead and ask me anything.

- - - Updated - - -

Looks like it is that Williams, though Wikipedia says that there were more than 6 made. Or does the article count the homologated version and there were only 6 real competition cars?
There were more than six total production, but the last six were all road cars as the rally series had ended.

- - - Updated - - -

Wow, as I was scrolling down I saw the car, the eyes and brain didn't register for a few seconds, then the holy crap moment, what a fantastic piece to have in the museum.
Yeah it's a staff favorite. A fun wee beastie.
 
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