[15x07] December 21st, 2010 [Special]

[15x07] December 21st, 2010 [Special]


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Jupix

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at the point when May is on about the steering wheel and woudl have liked him to elaborate. :(
I hate it when they do that. If he was just ranting it would be ok as a gag, but he usually has genuine things to say about whatever he's talking about, so cutting him off just pretty much dumbs the show down.

A bit dangerous for my rep to barge in critiquing an episode after a solid 7 pages of people raving about how perfect it was, but anyway...

Either I was sleeping at the start or I totally missed where they started the road trip. I mean the road had a name and they were clear about what it was but for most of the ep I was pretty much in the dark about where it was. Was there a traditional map overview at the beginning?

The drag race in the wet was cringeworthy. How hard can it be to just accept after the first try that the electronics alone won't stop the wheels spinning if you just floor the throttle? Though I guess it's obvious the Merc would've lost anyway, so without the spinning wheels gag there'd be no point to the whole scene.

The mayor was really sympathetic, I liked how he pulled the strings to try and get Jeremy his tyre but too bad none were available. Not too surprising obviously. Actually I found it a bit odd he was still tagging along after the opening scene at the oval track. Really enjoyed the atmosphere in the NASCAR sequence though. Husky Rescue is great as always, TG has used their music numerous times, most notably in the Millau roadtrip film.

I did consider this the 16x01 episode since it featured the traditional season opening teaser. Don't really give much weight to the iPlayer numbering or whatever is considered "official" so far ITT since that number was in all likelihood slapped on by someone who doesn't pay much attention to the show. Also don't really consider it a special since most the traditional components of TG (news segment, SIARPC) were there. For a traditional episode I'm again disappointed at the fact I learnt absolutely nothing during the episode, as far as cars. After all, all the cars had already been featured. (Italia and 911 on TG, Mercedes on CTIJ.)

Come to mention the 911, my sarcastic reaction to Hammond's choice of vehicle: "and Hammond chooses a.... *drumroll* Porsche! surprise!"

I'm absolutely sick of 911s on Top Gear, at least when Jeremy raves on about Ferraris and Mercedes it's mostly about different models and there's something new to say about them. Unlike the Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 that is exactly the same every time. "It's so light, it's so nimble, so crisp, so much easier to drive than the 60s and 70s and 80s ones, and you lose all your friends when you buy one, and the expensive ones have less parts!"

I still dislike the SLS's sound, it's the worst AMG V8 soundtrack to date IMO. Maybe it's just how it sounds on video and it would be awesome live, but the way it currently sounds is that it loses all its balls at more than, say, 3k rpm. The sound is hollow and sharp and edgy, so basically everything I disapprove of in an exhaust note.

The Fezza sounds ok though and it's still very pretty. Was surprised the boys didn't take the mickey out of May when he chose it, owning the F430 himself. (Remember, Jeremy said in the Italia review that May can't possibly live with his F430 now that the Italia is so superior in every way, or something to that effect.)

I don't really get the TGUS hate. Frankly the 5 eps so far have been better than the last 5 seasons of TGUK. It's got its annoyances but there's more substance to it, and when the kid stuff starts, it doesn't feel like watching your dad drunk. That is because the presenters aren't near-as-makes-no-difference in their 50s. Also, the substance is presented with an actual on-screen display of interest, not the Clarksonesque yelling and giggling act which he's emplyed for longer than I can remember now.

Actually, speaking of Clarkson, I hate the way he articulates his narration these days. I can't really find the words to describe the change for someone who hasn't noticed it. I don't actually think it's even a matter of articulation, he's crystal clear in what he's saying, but the sound of his voice is like he's "sarcastically acknowledging grandeur" in whatever he's introducing to the audience, a car, a place, a person or whatever. And he does it all the time. It's like the further down the TGUK seasons we've come the less and less there's any sincerity to his voice and to me it sounds like all of TG is a joke to him these days. It's like a mannerism, but it wasn't there in the early seasons and what's interesting is that I don't really remember witnessing it in CTIJ either.

Anyway, fortunately during this road trip there was none of the usual kid stuff, mostly just cracking jokes.

I enjoyed the "would you like some pussy" joke in the news since it was so outrageous for an uncensored national broadcast, but after the initial joke, at the "pour pussy on it" stage, it was just an old joke and not funny.

Man that cheapo camera drone is cool though. It's obviously pointless but it's basically an iPhone controlled miniature helicopter with a live feeding video camera on it! How awesome is that?!

All in all a pretty good hour of tv. At least it inspired some thought and I've certainly forgotten to write about a lot of it at this point. I'd say 7/10 on a TG scale...

Edit: corrected errors and do want to say that the scenery and how they shot it, and then made it look in post was absolutely jaw-dropping. The countryside, the small town scenery, the huge bridges and then NYC. All of it was mindblowingly beautiful. One more thing about post is that I think they edited this film with a noticeably slow pace for TG of late. This is one thing that I really like about TGUS, the pace is a lot slower so you can digest what you see and actually the extremely fast pace of recent TG car "reviews" has almost made me ill at times. Also, color offsets and such were very tame and good-looking. Goes to show a picture need not be striking to be beautiful.
 
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getfast

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It's well known that they go back and re-shoot segments of the race after the results have been determined as you can't have 400 cameras filming the race. That looks like it's one of those ones they shot after the fact in order to get the shot they wanted. :)
Not sure if anything was scripted or re-shot, but some of the VIR footage seemed to be shown out of order compared to how it was filmed, for that reason.

First hour of the day was ~60 cars on track simultaneously, while they were eating breakfast at the "hotel" (the villas on drivers left outside the climbing esses - same place Hammond goes off later and nearly stuffs it.) Then they picked a bunch of cars to stay and circulate with them in the three main cars on and off for at least an hour. Then it was just them for several hours, following the camera cars (this is when most of the Clarkson drifting the SLS stuff was filmed.) Yet in some of the footage that was shot during the afternoon with just them on track, they have snippets from earlier with other cars on track too. Makes no difference obviously, but it was something I noticed.

The producers also asked everyone who was there who had HD footage to submit it, not sure if any of that was used but there were plenty of GoPro's and soforth on various cars during the filming.

Here we are in a Z06, behind Hammond: http://www.getfastphoto.com/Cars/Top-Gear-UK-at-VIR/tg022/1133735838_QQmvS-XL.jpg

We also passed May in the 458 *on the right* at T10/South Bend, which is normally a hugely risky place to do that. ;-)
 

AWHP

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Great episode, almost a 10, putting one of the cars around the test track would have been a 10. Stuart should have taken the Turbo S, a more typical comparo car but after seeing that Jake Sparrow coat he had on during the news who knows where his mind is.

Even with years of practice there is no way TG USA will ever be this good, they lack the passion (and screen presence) for all things auto these 3 do not.
 

janstett

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Why is Hammond so stuck up on Porsches? I mean, he always nags in with one. GT3 that and RS this, it's so damn daft and childish compared to the glorious SLS AMG and the biblical 458.
When you think about it, it's a double edged sword.

Porsches are sports cars/super cars that everybody, if they work and save enough, can own. They're above the average fare, but not quite supercars like Ferrari.
 

narf

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Porsches are great allround cars, so I can see why he likes them. However, I would have loved to see him take the GT2 RS instead. After all, he already had at least one longer three-car trip in the GT3 RS. Albeit in a different color.
 

janstett

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Ferrari put a button for EVERYTHING on the steering wheel. When you're used to stalks for indicators, lights, wipers, cruise, and so on, it's a problem when everything is on a seperate button. Also, while turning, if the steering wheel is turned 180 degrees the indicator-button on the right will make you blink to the left... That shit will annoy the hell out of you. Poor choice of design from an ergonomical point of view. I understand that F1-cars don't have stalks and that they might get in the way of the paddles but it's a car that 90% of the time will be on public roads and Ferrari messed that part of the 458 up.
I once got a chance to drive an F430 for about an hour around dusk. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to turn the headlights on. No dial on the dashboard, no twisty turn-stalk thing, no push buttons on the dash. It was on the steering wheel, doh!
 

Ayman

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I hate it when they do that. If he was just ranting it would be ok as a gag, but he usually has genuine things to say about whatever he's talking about, so cutting him off just pretty much dumbs the show down.

A bit dangerous for my rep to barge in critiquing an episode after a solid 7 pages of people raving about how perfect it was, but anyway...

Either I was sleeping at the start or I totally missed where they started the road trip. I mean the road had a name and they were clear about what it was but for most of the ep I was pretty much in the dark about where it was. Was there a traditional map overview at the beginning?

The drag race in the wet was cringeworthy. How hard can it be to just accept after the first try that the electronics alone won't stop the wheels spinning, and feather the throttle to have an actual race? Though I guess it's obvious the Merc would've lost so without the spinning wheels gag there'd be no point to the whole sequence.

The mayor was really sympathetic, I liked how he pulled the strings to try and get Jeremy his tyre but too bad none were available. Not too surprising obviously. Actually I found it a bit odd he was tagging along after the opening sequence at the oval track. Really enjoyed the atmosphere in the NASCAR sequence though. Husky Rescue is great as always, TG has used their music numerous times, most notably in the Millau roadtrip film.

I did consider this the 16x01 episode since it featured the traditional season opening teaser. Don't really give much weight to the iPlayer numbering or whatever is considered "official" so far ITT since that number was in all likelihood slapped on by someone who doesn't pay much attention to the show. Also don't really consider it a special since most the traditional components of TG (news segment, SIARPC) were there. For a traditional episode I'm again disappointed at the fact I learnt absolutely nothing during the episode, as far as cars. After all, all the cars had already been featured. (Italia and 911 on TG, Mercedes on CTIJ.)

Come to mention the 911, my sarcastic reaction to Hammond's choice of vehicle: "and Hammond chooses a.... *drumroll* Porsche! surprise!"

I'm absolutely sick of 911s on Top Gear, at least when Jeremy raves on about Ferraris and Mercedes it's mostly about different models and there's something new to say about them. Unlike the Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 that is exactly the same every time. "It's so light, it's so nimble, so crisp, so much easier to drive than the 60s and 70s and 80s ones, and you lose all your friends when you buy one, and the expensive ones have less parts!"

I still dislike the SLS's sound, it's the worst AMG V8 soundtrack to date IMO. Maybe it's just how it sounds on video and it would be awesome live, but the way it currently sounds is that it loses all its balls at more than, say, 3k rpm. The sound is hollow and sharp and edgy, so basically everything I disapprove of in an exhaust note.

The Fezza sounds ok though and it's still very pretty. Was surprised the boys didn't take the mickey out of May when he chose it, owning the F430 himself. (Remember, Jeremy said in the Italia review that May can't possibly live with his F430 now that the Italia is so superior in every way, or something to that effect.)

I don't really get the TGUS hate. Frankly the 5 eps so far have been better than the last 5 seasons of TGUK. It's got its annoyances but there's more substance to it, and when the kid stuff starts, it doesn't feel like watching your dad drunk. That is because the presenters aren't near-as-makes-no-difference in their 50s. Also, the substance is presented with an actual on-screen display of interest, not the Clarksonesque yelling and giggling act which he's emplyed for longer than I can remember now.

Actually, speaking of Clarkson, I hate the way he articulates his narration these days. I can't really find the words to describe the change for someone who hasn't noticed it. I don't actually think it's even a matter of articulation, he's crystal clear in what he's saying, but the sound of his voice is like he's "sarcastically acknowledging grandeur" in whatever he's introducing to the audience, a car, a place, a person or whatever. And he does it all the time. It's like the further down the TGUK seasons we've come the less and less there's any sincerity to his voice and to me it sounds like all of TG is a joke to him these days. It's like a mannerism, but it wasn't there in the early seasons and what's interesting is that I didn't really remember witnessing it in CTIJ either.

Anyway, fortunately during this road trip there was none of the usual kid stuff, mostly just cracking jokes. I enjoyed the "would you like some pussy" joke since it was so outrageous for an uncensored national broadcast, but after the initial pussy joke, at the "pour pussy on it" stage, it was just an old joke and not funny.

Man that cheapo camera drone is cool. It's obviously pointless but it's basically an iPhone controlled miniature helicopter with a live feeding video camera on it! How awesome is that?!

All in all a pretty good hour of tv. At least it inspired some thought and I've certainly forgotten to write about a lot of it at this point. I'd say 7/10 on a TG scale...
Took me a while to read your post, and it took a lot of nerve not to skim it when you started "talking trash" (by my standards) about TG/Jezza.

I'm glad I didn't have to see the ephemeral crimson look on my face when Stuart announced which car he'd brought. I too am kind'a sick of his Porsche obsession; each car might be better in a technical way, but as far as the "fa?ade" is concerned, they all look the same to me... And I can hardly ignore that and focus on engineering considering a TV screen is what stands between me and the car. So I have to agree with you on that.
You sounded surprised at the fact you learned nothing about cars in this episode. As if the show was SUPPOSED to be car-instructive. When I watch an episode of TG all I expect from it is to entertain me, any useful information is welcome of course, though not necessary. You shouldn't mourne the absence of what wasn't intended to be present.
But the part of your reply that I feel most urged to retort to is that concerning Jeremy's ... Uhm, "narrative style". I do, at times, find him to have the most unfathomable of personalities, that does not imply that he's "unpredictable", as his reactions and comments have gained in "foreseeability" recently. HOWEVER, I've learned to embrace it, and found out that it's not as dramatic as you make it sound. In fact, his almost-constant sarcastic and grandiloquent tone makes me appreciate it a lot more when he becomes "serious" or "emotionally involved" about/in any matter.

To my mind, you should watch TopGear openheartedly and openmindedly, with less strenuous standards and vigorous precepts, expecting it to entertain and not demanding perfection.

Let's remind ourselves that each is entitled to their own opinion, so that my reply doesn't seem like an attack.
 

ZondaR

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I don't really get the TGUS hate. Frankly the 5 eps so far have been better than the last 5 seasons of TGUK. It's got its annoyances but there's more substance to it, and when the kid stuff starts, it doesn't feel like watching your dad drunk. That is because the presenters aren't near-as-makes-no-difference in their 50s. Also, the substance is presented with an actual on-screen display of interest, not the Clarksonesque yelling and giggling act which he's emplyed for longer than I can remember now.
:confused::hmm:

Are watching the same TGUS?

Anyway, great episode. I agree with what an earlier person said about TGUS - I adapted to it in the absence of TGUK and started to believe it wasn't that bad. But then I saw this. And it was stellar in every way. Now TGUS just feels like poo.

My favorite parts were the speed limit segments, the editing of them starting their journey on a beautiful road in amazingly fast cars then all of them going 35 :lol:

45-55 races, stig shootings, Clarkson bringing out what looked like an M4 were all hilarious. Such a great episode.
 

caro

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I don`t mind they took GT3, but it would be great to see Jeremy driving it. That was a great episoede: 10/10.
 

GreenBullet

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It's great to have Top Gear back, and judging by the 'what's to come' preview, lots of good stuff to come indeed. :p

It looks like some people minded the scriptedness of the news, but it didn't bother me one bit. I'm also pretty sure I spotted he-he in the audience.

Best part: The Stig drive-by shooting. (...IN THE BACK) Well done.

It's too bad they didn't show more footage from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Did they really show up without realizing the speed limits? It started off as though it would be another "greatest driving road" expedition, but that was sort of dropped quickly. I was also taken back at the (mostly) political-correctedness throughout. I don't think it's an "apology" for 9x03 as someone else pointed out, but the change of tone was definitely there. (Anything to do with TG US?)

I also remember that there were some spoiler pics of the Porsche having a big hole in the windshield. I guess we were not meant to find out what happened.
 
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alpha

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I hate it when they do that. If he was just ranting it would be ok as a gag, but he usually has genuine things to say about whatever he's talking about, so cutting him off just pretty much dumbs the show down.
They absolutely don't, actually they assume a lot of car knowledge from their viewers, at least to get the finer points, like cracking a joke about EuroEGGcap in the British Leyland episode. My girlfriend has no idea what EuroNCAP is so that joke flew right past her.
Anyways, in this case, what more is there to say? The steering wheel has a lot of buttons on it, it has no stalks. For driving the car on a public road that is silly and a nightmare from an ergonomical standpoint.


Either I was sleeping at the start or I totally missed where they started the road trip. I mean the road had a name and they were clear about what it was but for most of the ep I was pretty much in the dark about where it was. Was there a traditional map overview at the beginning?
They've said that the trans-siberian highway (if I remember correctly) is the best piece of road on the planet, but someone has said they're wrong and that the Americans has a road that is better. So they picked a car each and tried to find out. After driving 15 minutes they decided to go to Nascar-land instead. If you're a geography nerd I guess you could study Google Maps while watching the EP and pay attention to what state they are in. It wouldn't have added anything for me though and I didn't miss a map at the start.

I'm absolutely sick of 911s on Top Gear, at least when Jeremy raves on about Ferraris and Mercedes it's mostly about different models and there's something new to say about them. Unlike the Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 after Porsche 911 that is exactly the same every time. "It's so light, it's so nimble, so crisp, so much easier to drive than the 60s and 70s and 80s ones, and you lose all your friends when you buy one, and the expensive ones have less parts!"
You're sick of a car program displaying one of the most iconic sports car on the planet? Ok... :rolleyes:

I don't really get the TGUS hate. Frankly the 5 eps so far have been better than the last 5 seasons of TGUK. It's got its annoyances but there's more substance to it, and when the kid stuff starts, it doesn't feel like watching your dad drunk. That is because the presenters aren't near-as-makes-no-difference in their 50s. Also, the substance is presented with an actual on-screen display of interest, not the Clarksonesque yelling and giggling act which he's emplyed for longer than I can remember now.
Yelling, giggeling and no substance?

The TGUS-hate comes from the fact that TGUS is pretty bad compared to TGUK. And now that this great episode has reminded us how good TGUK actually is, TGUS feels even worse!
Regarding TGUS Episode 5, it's a remake of the British Leyland episode from TGUK but they even managed to mess parts of it up totally. Filling the American junk cars with water was just dumb! Kids probably think its funny, but for adults it had no value at all. I bet I lost you already so let me explain:

The test in TGUK did two things:
A) Test how well built the car was. If water rushed out quickly it had pretty bad panel gaps, door seals and so forth.
B) Test the suspension and power of the car. More power and better suspension mean that they could travel further before the water dropped below the steering wheel.

The point of the TGUS water-test was:
A) Look silly on TV. Mission Accomplished!


Seems like Americans like TGUS more when they feature old crap American cars. People rave about the Fiero and the Roadmaster and I can't even begin to grasp why, they are pretty bad at any standard.

Anyways, if you compare TGUS to Top Gear Russia, blunt force trauma and AIDS, I guess it isn't that bad. But compared to Top Gear UK it just falls flat on its face.
 

warren

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Porsches are great allround cars, so I can see why he likes them. However, I would have loved to see him take the GT2 RS instead. After all, he already had at least one longer three-car trip in the GT3 RS. Albeit in a different color.
I'd think it would've been impossible to get Porsche to lend them a pre-production GT2 RS for a film shoot this long, especially in the United States, double-especially in the hands of Top Gear, who don't have a good reputation for handling cars. The GT2 RS isn't in production yet, whereas the other two cars (and the GT3 RS) are available now.
 
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Jupix

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:confused::hmm:

Are watching the same TGUS?
In a way I guess not. I don't really view TGUS as TG at all. As TG it's just a copy (no matter how well executed), but as a standalone show it's great, certainly a lot better than TGA or FG, both of which I've found pretty much unwatchable. Also, as a standalone show it delivers some things that TG itself hasn't in a while.

They absolutely don't, actually they assume a lot of car knowledge from their viewers, at least to get the finer points, like cracking a joke about EuroEGGcap in the British Leyland episode. My girlfriend has no idea what EuroNCAP is so that joke flew right past her.
They don't what? Cut James off? Or dumb the show down? Actually, whichever it is, I think your definition of "absolutely" is a little off.

Anyways, in this case, what more is there to say? The steering wheel has a lot of buttons on it, it has no stalks. For driving the car on a public road that is silly and a nightmare from an ergonomical standpoint.
Let James finish his line or cut out the scene altogether is all I'm saying.

You're sick of a car program displaying one of the most iconic sports car on the planet? Ok... :rolleyes:
Iconic sports car? So what? Does that excuse the repetition? Not in my humble opinion.

Yelling, giggeling and no substance?
(clip)
Uh, well yeah. You could've just as easily countered the 911 prominency point with a clip of TG that doesn't have a 911 on it. Doesn't change the fact the 911's been in at least three road trips now (don't recall the correct count) and every time there's a facelift they feel compelled to do a power test on it. And JC yells and giggles a lot. Both facts make the show more annoying than it could be.

The TGUS-hate comes from the fact that TGUS is pretty bad compared to TGUK. And now that this great episode has reminded us how good TGUK actually is, TGUS feels even worse!
That's quite an obnoxious way of saying "I disagree". In fact, your whole post is.

Regarding TGUS Episode 5, ...
You might wanna post that in the TGUS 1x05 specific episode thread. Just sayin'.
 
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Mr. Nice

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Great episode, almost a 10, putting one of the cars around the test track would have been a 10. Stuart should have taken the Turbo S, a more typical comparo car but after seeing that Jake Sparrow coat he had on during the news who knows where his mind is.

Even with years of practice there is no way TG USA will ever be this good, they lack the passion (and screen presence) for all things auto these 3 do not.
By Stuart, I think you mean Hammond.

I once got a chance to drive an F430 for about an hour around dusk. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to turn the headlights on. No dial on the dashboard, no twisty turn-stalk thing, no push buttons on the dash. It was on the steering wheel, doh!
Interesting story, and not true.

I'd think it would've been impossible to get Porsche to lend them a pre-production GT2 RS for a film shoot this long, especially in the United States, double-especially in the hands of Top Gear, who don't have a good reputation for handling cars. The GT2 RS isn't in production yet, whereas the other two cars (and the GT3 RS) are available now.
That's interesting, a lot of magazines, including TopGear, have reviewed it. I guess they were just driving pre-production mules.... Oh wait! It is available now.
 
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DanRoM

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Great opener to a new season, no matter how the BBC chooses to number it.

I even liked the somewhat childish humour in the news. Well executed, even if scripted. Hammond's reaction to "would you like some pussy" was spot on.

The US road trip was also really good. Of course as soon as they revealed their car choices, it was obvious that they had to play with the ridiculously slow speed limit.

All in all, a very solid 8 from me.

Regarding the Ferrari's steering wheel: I can understand putting some of the functions there to be easily reachable while driving (in theory anyway), but why on Earth did they put the engine start button on it? Do these cars regularly stall in mid-drive or what? :D
 
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IVIaster

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Filming a TopGear episode in america: many many pounds
The few seconds Hammond was sure he would hit the wall: PRICELESS
 

bigdoofus

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Loved the episode. Glad to see Top Gear poodling around NYC, if only for a bit. For those that were interested in the best route to take for the NYC race, this is my opinion. http://tinyurl.com/23y346k, avoids the tunnels and Midtown, but also not scenic. Surprised they didn't hit up the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina, especially when they first mentioned North Carolina.

Also IIRC the speed limit on most Virgina highways is 70 mph or 112 kph. so not sure why they were going so slowly, except for laughs.
 
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