Builders of the "Hawk" Stratos replica hit out against TopGear!

WirelessMonkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2007
Messages
874
Location
Oxfordshire, UK
Car(s)
MK1 Golf Driver
Bit of hard read, badly formatted!

http://www.stratossupersite.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=7683

As you know I don't often make comments on the forum but I think that the facts as I see them need to be aired. I was there at the top gear studio all day and saw everything outside the studio first hand. Because of my personal view of the programme I refused the offer of participating inside the studio.I was informed after the recording of what was said and shown by my friends from Noble Motorsport who were also there on the day.
We know that Nico volunteered his car at very short notice to the people at Top Gear who has asked for an Alitalia. Nico made it abundantly clear in his many emails to them that the car had been standing and had been rallied over the last few years and was a little 'distressed'. They arranged transportation for the car to be collected from Edinburgh and delivered to the studios where it was filmed with sticking brakes and showing the Stig getting out of the car after it had broken down. But they omitted to report that they had blown the engine. The Stig then leant on the side window and it crashed down, then the wiper blade dropped off. The Stig walked away. Then they transported the car back to Nico in Edinburgh declaring only trouble with the brakes and still not admitting to an engine problem and a broken door where they had pushed it so far back it had broken the check strap and cracked the fibre glass edge!
This is the point where I came in. I was asked by Nico if I could collect the car from him and put a new engine in which the BBC would pay for (after liaising with the BBC they agreed to pay for a new engine and my transportation from Edinburgh to Dunsfold via my workshop). Due to the short timeframe in which I had to work on the car I had to drop everything to collect the car from Edinburgh. I collected and fitted the engine and gearbox kindly donated by Ken from his Rothmans car. In addition Nico also wanted ugrades to the gearbox by fitting a 2 litre diff and an Alfa LSD - I duly obliged. Nico then arranged with Talon to put extra spotlights on the front and fill the empty lamp pod with working spotlights and all associated wiring and respray of stonechips. A new set of wheels was supplied by them with slick racing tyres in an effort to give the car a quick time. On investigating the problem with the brakes - I identified this as a sticky slider and not wanting to risk any further problems, new callipers and pads (the old pads were glazed and overheated to such an extent that they were breaking up) were put on the front and a new master cylinder fitted. I had problems bleeding the brakes and could't understand why I wasn't getting a pedal.Again, time was running out and I had to take the car to Talon for them to fit the front end and wire in the new spotlights. While I was there we all three tried to sort out the prblems with the brake - to no avail. The next day after a sleepless night I took out the pedal assembly and discovered that it was bent out of line and not giving any stroke on the pedal. After re-jigging everything the pedal was restored and we had good working brakes. A late night that night!!
Early start next morning to load the car and all tools for a shake down test at Bruntingthorpe. After a couple of slow bedding-in laps, checking temps and levels, etc (this was the first time that the car had run). The speed was gradually built up and everything seemed OK. My biggest concern was that Nico was unable to keep the car on the track for very long resulting in some spectacular spins across the grass and once into the tyres, narrowly avoiding damage. Owing to Nico's time constraints no adjustments were made to the suspension in any way - setting of shocks, tyre pressures, tracking etc. My concerns had already been raised regarding the fitting of the secondhand shocks from his green car. Later I put this issue in writing but time was spent on getting the car to look spectacular - which it did!
Back at the workshop more work was carried out as instructed to further enhance the appearance of the car by painting in the stonechips and polishing etc. I must admit the car did look brand new.
On Wednesday, the day of filming, I had to be at the studios by 8am which meant leaving home at 4.30am.
After off loading the car on its slick tyres I went through the start procedue with them and handed over the keys. I then went to park up my truck and trailer away from the studio but with a good vantage point of the test track. At 9am the editor came to ask me if I wouldn't mind fitting the 2nd set of wet weather tyres as it was pouring with rain and he said that they wouldn't get far on the slicks - I duly obliged. Then this week's Stig driver came round(Andy something, I think) and got in the car, started the engine revving it's nuts off making it bounce off the rev limiter. To which he remarked "I thought I was pressing the brake" - I explained to him that the brake is the next one along and the clutch the next one after that. Off he shot.
The car flashed down the track and to me it sounded as though it was firing on 5 cylinders but it was going so fast and it was raining so hard it was difficult to tell.
For the next hour and a half I watched through binoculars as they filmed the supposed one power lap. In fact he drives two or three laps and then the camera team move to the next corner and he does two or three more laps and so on. In all he must have done 30+ laps. Then he did the supposed spinning out of control on the power lap. I must admit though, he is a very good driver in the way that he provoked and recovered the spins - or maybe they were just his practice ones. From this you can see how contrived it all was.
My view is that from the outset this was the direction that the programme was going to take. Even if the car had performed spectacularly they would have still slated it.
Nico went in to the studio filming and immediately expressed his anger and concern over the way everything had been handled and portrayed. Including Clarksons comments - a great looking car but a crap build (or words to that effect).
My emails and telephone conversations with the BBC were met with 'media talk' and I was told hat they were going to show the footage and nothing was going to change. Legal action by Gerry and Nico to remove all footage of the car and all references to it have just been sidestepped by the BBC.
What have we come away with? Nico has come away with hurt pride. Gerry has had his most excellent product criticized and future worldwide sales jeopordised and I, although not mentioned by name, everyone knows that I built the car originally and they will associate it's failings with me. However, I have to carry out work as per my customers' instructions over and above my personal preferences.
The script for the show was written even before they had the car and the issue is with the people who design the programme and not the three stooges who front it. It just goes to show that these are no different to any other treacherous bastards in the media. Both Gerry and I are absolutely devastated about the programme and fear the negative knock on effect on our businesses. I am personally well known throughout the industry - as is Gerry.
I have a meeting with one of my prized customers on Wednesday and I have 14 of his cars in my workshops. I am dreading what his thoughts will be about me and my capabilities after he sees the programme as he knows that I built the car.
I believe that in future if a car is offered to any influential media for road testing etc it is only fair that it should first be vetted and approved by the manufacturer before it 'goes out'.
If this does have a negative effect I am sure that there will be 3 suicides in the motor industry very soon.
In my view it is no good whinging about the media if you are going to sit and watch this type of programme every week or indeed go out and buy their books etc - you are just encouraging them. Take my advice and turn the twats off and go and read someone else's quality publication instead.
Chris
Reply With Quote

I do feel for them to be honest with you. I can understand how difficult it is for kit car makers to make it in the motoring industry!
 

BlaRo

Little Nudger
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
18,173
Location
Brooklyn
Car(s)
Moto Guzzi V7 Special, Saab 900 Turbo
The gist of the post was that the car had been checked out by multiple volunteers, it made it around the track thirty times without incident, and on the filmed lap the Stig was instructed to spin out twice and then recover it, according to the script. It didn't matter how well the car performed; the script dictated that the car would be portrayed as a badly-built, unmanageable bucket, and that's what Jeremy and Co. stuck with.

As I mentioned here, the spinout setup reflected badly on the car itself, and the owners are genuinely worried about a loss of sales for their kit car company.

It's business, after all, and a small outfit like Hawk cars won't have the luxury of a well-oiled PR machine to defend their car on a show watched by almost half of England.

I'd be pretty pissed if I had invested hundreds of hours carefully building my own pride and joy merely to be portrayed on television as a careless buffoon. It would be downright insulting.
 

Blayde

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
8,376
Location
Bahrain
Car(s)
'06 Honda Civic EXi, '11 Kia Sportage EX
I watched it and I still want it :/
 

Jay

the fool on the hill
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
11,278
Location
Aurora, IL
I was wondering about the Stig's spins. If this car was an exact replica, it would have done poorly on roads ten times worse on rally stages. Though with a wheelbase that short it will be naturally twitchy.
 

skidd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
1,355
Location
San Francisco
The whole theme of that episode was "Liancias are shit, but we want one." The kit car was portrayed as shit, but it's beautiful, and everyone still wants one.
 

eddysdaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2005
Messages
1,010
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Car(s)
Clue: It has boost.

narf

Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
19,027
Location
Kiel/Wherever, Germany
Car(s)
🏃‍♂️
Better than them saying the usual things about clinical German cars: "Perfect in every way. I'd still buy the <insert competitor of the day here>."





TG is scripted? :jawdrop: </sarcasm>



PS:
The Stig then leant on the side window and it crashed down, then the wiper blade dropped off.

OMG, Jeremy is The Stig?
 
Last edited:

skylock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,546
Location
USA
Car(s)
Honda Civic
The gist of the post was that the car had been checked out by multiple volunteers, it made it around the track thirty times without incident, and on the filmed lap the Stig was instructed to spin out twice and then recover it, according to the script. It didn't matter how well the car performed; the script dictated that the car would be portrayed as a badly-built, unmanageable bucket, and that's what Jeremy and Co. stuck with.

As I mentioned here, the spinout setup reflected badly on the car itself, and the owners are genuinely worried about a loss of sales for their kit car company.

It's business, after all, and a small outfit like Hawk cars won't have the luxury of a well-oiled PR machine to defend their car on a show watched by almost half of England.

I'd be pretty pissed if I had invested hundreds of hours carefully building my own pride and joy merely to be portrayed on television as a careless buffoon. It would be downright insulting.

Let's just check this guys post a little closer.

As you know I don't often make comments on the forum but I think that the facts as I see them need to be aired. I was there at the top gear studio all day and saw everything outside the studio first hand. Because of my personal view of the programme I refused the offer of participating inside the studio. He was biased in his opinion from the first minute.I was informed after the recording of what was said and shown by my friends from Noble Motorsport who were also there on the day.
We know that Nico volunteered his car at very short notice to the people at Top Gear who has asked for an Alitalia. Nico made it abundantly clear in his many emails to them that the car had been standing and had been rallied over the last few years and was a little 'distressed'. So the car wasn't in good shape?They arranged transportation for the car to be collected from Edinburgh and delivered to the studios where it was filmed with sticking brakes and showing the Stig getting out of the car after it had broken down. But they omitted to report that they had blown the engine. Who knows, could have been an honest mistake, but they did buy a new engine and it did not take long to do it.The Stig then leant on the side window and it crashed down, then the wiper blade dropped off. The Stig walked away. Then they transported the car back to Nico in Edinburgh declaring only trouble with the brakes and still not admitting to an engine problem and a broken door where they had pushed it so far back it had broken the check strap and cracked the fibre glass edge!
This is the point where I came in. I was asked by Nico if I could collect the car from him and put a new engine in which the BBC would pay for (after liaising with the BBC they agreed to pay for a new engine and my transportation from Edinburgh to Dunsfold via my workshop). Due to the short timeframe in which I had to work on the car I had to drop everything to collect the car from Edinburgh. I collected and fitted the engine and gearbox kindly donated by Ken from his Rothmans car. In addition Nico also wanted ugrades to the gearbox by fitting a 2 litre diff and an Alfa LSD - I duly obliged. Nico then arranged with Talon to put extra spotlights on the front and fill the empty lamp pod with working spotlights and all associated wiring and respray of stonechips. A new set of wheels was supplied by them with slick racing tyres in an effort to give the car a quick time. On investigating the problem with the brakes - I identified this as a sticky slider and not wanting to risk any further problems, new callipers and pads (the old pads were glazed and overheated to such an extent that they were breaking up) were put on the front and a new master cylinder fitted. I had problems bleeding the brakes and could't understand why I wasn't getting a pedal.Again, time was running out and I had to take the car to Talon for them to fit the front end and wire in the new spotlights. While I was there we all three tried to sort out the prblems with the brake - to no avail. The next day after a sleepless night I took out the pedal assembly and discovered that it was bent out of line and not giving any stroke on the pedal. After re-jigging everything the pedal was restored and we had good working brakes. A late night that night!!
Early start next morning to load the car and all tools for a shake down test at Bruntingthorpe. After a couple of slow bedding-in laps, checking temps and levels, etc (this was the first time that the car had run). The speed was gradually built up and everything seemed OK. My biggest concern was that Nico was unable to keep the car on the track for very long resulting in some spectacular spins across the grass and once into the tyres, narrowly avoiding damage. So the OWNER of the car was having problems with it?Owing to Nico's time constraints no adjustments were made to the suspension in any way - setting of shocks, tyre pressures, tracking etc. My concerns had already been raised regarding the fitting of the secondhand shocks from his green car. Interesting again.Later I put this issue in writing but time was spent on getting the car to look spectacular - which it did!
Back at the workshop more work was carried out as instructed to further enhance the appearance of the car by painting in the stonechips and polishing etc. I must admit the car did look brand new.
On Wednesday, the day of filming, I had to be at the studios by 8am which meant leaving home at 4.30am.
After off loading the car on its slick tyres I went through the start procedue with them and handed over the keys. I then went to park up my truck and trailer away from the studio but with a good vantage point of the test track. At 9am the editor came to ask me if I wouldn't mind fitting the 2nd set of wet weather tyres as it was pouring with rain and he said that they wouldn't get far on the slicks Hmmmm, So they wanted the car to preform as well as possible?How many of you would drop a car off with slick tires knowing what the track was ike to begin with?- I duly obliged. Then this week's Stig driver came round(Andy something, I think) and got in the car, started the engine revving it's nuts off making it bounce off the rev limiter. To which he remarked "I thought I was pressing the brake" - I explained to him that the brake is the next one along and the clutch the next one after that. I am pretty sure Stig knew where the correct petals were.Off he shot.
The car flashed down the track and to me it sounded as though it was firing on 5 cylinders It was a BRAND NEW engine. Another Hmmmmmm from me. Maybe this guy doesn't know as much as he is implying.but it was going so fast and it was raining so hard it was difficult to tell.
For the next hour and a half I watched through binoculars as they filmed the supposed one power lap. In fact he drives two or three laps and then the camera team move to the next corner and he does two or three more laps and so on. In all he must have done 30+ laps. Then he did the supposed spinning out of control on the power lap. I must admit though, he is a very good driver in the way that he provoked and recovered the spins - or maybe they were just his practice ones. From this you can see how contrived it all was.
My view is that from the outset this was the direction that the programme was going to take. Even if the car had performed spectacularly they would have still slated it.Is he admitting it didn't preform spectacularly?
Nico went in to the studio filming and immediately expressed his anger and concern over the way everything had been handled and portrayed. Including Clarksons comments - a great looking car but a crap build (or words to that effect).Understandable. No one wants to be told their child is ugly, even if it is true.
My emails and telephone conversations with the BBC were met with 'media talk' and I was told hat they were going to show the footage and nothing was going to change. Legal action by Gerry and Nico to remove all footage of the car and all references to it have just been sidestepped by the BBC.I can imagine they were laughing their asses off.
What have we come away with? Nico has come away with hurt pride. He is just too wrapped up in it to see how good the spot was.Gerry has had his most excellent product criticized and future worldwide sales jeopordised Oh give me a break. Anyone that usues TG to decide what their next car should be has scrambled eggs for brains.and I, although not mentioned by name, everyone knows that I built the car originally I didn't know that.and they will associate it's failings with me. He should just cry me a handful. Has it not occured to him the show brought the fact the car is available to a lot of people that did not know about it, thereby increasing sales in the long run?However, I have to carry out work as per my customers' instructions over and above my personal preferences.Sounds like a true professional person trying to pass the buck to someone else but also admitting the car was not what it could have been.
The script for the show was written even before they had the car and the issue is with the people who design the programme and not the three stooges who front it. I think if he cared to check, he would find at least one of those stooges very much in the design of the show. It just goes to show that these are no different to any other treacherous bastards in the media. Both Gerry and I are absolutely devastated about the programme and fear the negative knock on effect on our businesses. He'skidding me right? I am personally well known throughout the industry - as is Gerry.
I have a meeting with one of my prized customers on Wednesday and I have 14 of his cars in my workshops. I am dreading what his thoughts will be about me and my capabilities after he sees the programme as he knows that I built the car. So he looks after FOURTEEN of this person's cars and he is "worried" that now the guy may have seen top gear and suddenly decided the guy don't know crap? (to be honest, that may be a true fact, but anyway)
I believe that in future if a car is offered to any influential media for road testing etc it is only fair that it should first be vetted and approved by the manufacturer before it 'goes out'. WHAT? How is that going to change anything? Unless again, he is admitting the car was not all it should have or could have been in the first place.
If this does have a negative effect I am sure that there will be 3 suicides in the motor industry very soon. Oh, that is what I love, my car person beling mellow dramatic.
In my view it is no good whinging about the media Didn't he just write what I read? if you are going to sit and watch this type of programme every week or indeed go out and buy their books etc - you are just encouraging them. He would probably watch Big Brother or some crap like that. Take my advice and turn the twats off and go and read someone else's quality publication instead.
Chris
Reply With Quote

I know one thing, I can understand his disappointment, but he woud never touch anything of mine and not because of how the car was shown on TG, but because of this post.
 

narf

Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
19,027
Location
Kiel/Wherever, Germany
Car(s)
🏃‍♂️
The next day after a sleepless night I took out the pedal assembly and discovered that it was bent out of line and not giving any stroke on the pedal.

I'm assuming TG didn't bend the pedal assembly with tools on purpose.

Seriously, who would want a car where the brake pedal assembly bends easily?
A brake pedal's main job is to be trodded on with lots and lots of force - even more so in a (replica) rally/race car.
If it can't take a grown man (or not-a-dude) pushing it as hard as he (she) can it needs some serious re-engineering... or a proper builder who didn't build the brake pedal assembly with a hammer.
 

MacDubois

Active Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
289
Location
Minnesota
Car(s)
'14 Fiesta ST, 98 V70
Didn't know it existed before...

Know it exists now.

Want one. As equipped. Hell, I'd take the one the show "trashed," don't care, gimme!
 

Kangaroo

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
84
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Car(s)
RenaultSport Clio -02
This just feels like a mess. This man has put down a lot of work on these cars. Top Gear knew that they didn't get a perfect car, he probably knew that he didn't deliver a perfect car. Sure, Top Gears take on this was probably a bit over-dramatic and didn't portray things quite straight forward, as most things Top Gear these days. I can see why this guy is angry with them.

They, according to him, ruined this car and also didn't show the car in its true capacity. I don't however think that he will have a problem with sales, yet I can understand his anger. He got portrayed as a buffoon, when he actually had made rather big efforts to make everything as good as possible. Yes, Top Gear is Top Gear and not to be taken all that serious these days, but I can still see his frustration.
 

MWF

Now needs wood
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
28,283
Location
MWF HQ, Ukadia
Car(s)
MX-5 1.8i Indiana SE, update pending
He also seems to be missing the point that "Any publicity is good publicity". Don't think that will harm Hawk's sales one bit. Think I might ring them in a minute pretending to be from the Daily Fail and ask what effect they may have seen in the last few days.
 

avusilvia

Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
97
Location
Saint Petersburg/Orlando FL USA
Car(s)
1996 Nissan 200sx se
Didn't know it existed before...

Know it exists now.

Want one. As equipped. Hell, I'd take the one the show "trashed," don't care, gimme!

^I'll second this. I thought that the whole bit was done well and held true towards the rest f the show's "Lancia is awesome crap" theme. But nonetheless I think if anything it will help the company as seeing how many people know they exist now. That guy needs to get off of his high throne and just be happy his car was on TG.
 

the Interceptor

I LUV MY PRIUS!!!
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
6,041
Location
ze Vaterland
Car(s)
VW Diesel of Death
I'm actually with the guy. I think that proving a point to the expense of others is very bad journalism. Sure, Top Gear is very much entertainment and very little journalism, but this has reached a level it never should have.

Forget that you're a Top Gear fan for a second. Instead, imagine you're the builder of a kit car. You invest huge chunks of your life and your money to make the car as good as possible, and you create a kit car that actually works. Then, Top Gear asks you whether they can feature your car on the show, because they're doing a special on the original manufacturer. You give them your car, and they completely misrepresent its actual behaviour, because they had the bit scripted priorly and needed the car to comply. Would you just shrug and say "Hey, that's television!"???

I do believe that he will sell more of his kit cars now than he would have before, simply because many more people know of it now (though I must say that it was very easy to find on the internet if you were in the market for a Statos replica already before Top Gear). However, I also believe that he would have even more customers if they had represented the car as it actually is. Sure, a lot of people are still drooling from what they saw, but when their brain kicks in when the hand reaches for the wallet, who wouldn't have second thoughs now? "A great looking and sounding car, but the wiper just tears off at speed, the brakes lock up and even a pro driver spun it repeatedly. Do I really want that car?".

As for Top Gear, where do these pieces take us? Which words the guys speak out am I to believe, and which shouldn't I believe? Is it all just entertainment? Am I to choose wildly which bit is a true fact, and which bit is just imaginary? They give so much information on any car they review, what do I end up with if its all worthless? Yeah, a nice hour of HD car entertainment at its finest, but a hollow stage behind a curtain of "We tell you what a car is really like!".
 

Gingertom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
1,867
Location
Southampton
Car(s)
'04 Skoda Octavia vRS
He also seems to be missing the point that "Any publicity is good publicity".
Exactly. Before, maybe a couple of hundred people (if that) knew of them, now 5 million people in Britain have heard of them and know what they do. Then there's the international audiences and the inevitable repeats on Dave. Millions of people now know who they are and what they produce and even if only 1 of those people decide to buy a car from them (more than likely someone will) that is a net gain and it will be because of Top Gear.
 

the Interceptor

I LUV MY PRIUS!!!
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
6,041
Location
ze Vaterland
Car(s)
VW Diesel of Death
Exactly. Before, maybe a couple of hundred people (if that) knew of them, now 5 million people in Britain have heard of them and know what they do. Then there's the international audiences and the inevitable repeats on Dave. Millions of people now know who they are and what they produce and even if only 1 of those people decide to buy a car from them (more than likely someone will) that is a net gain and it will be because of Top Gear.
"Dear Mr. Hawk replica guy,

we, the BBC, misrepresented your car because we needed it to fit into our story. Since you will still sell 100 cars more over the next 10 years than you would have if we hadn't featured it, you should be fine with that. You'd probably sell 200 if we had been honest about it, but if you are stupid enough to give us your car and think we would be honest about it, it's your fault.

Sincerely,
the Top Gear team"
 
  • Like
Reactions: TC

scoops

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
477
Location
Ontario, Canada
let's face it, the car did have problems even if it completed 30 laps of the track (and i'm sure that's exagerated) but we know that they break most of the cars they send around anyhow. so it should have been expected.

at the same time, if the car had gone to an auto magazine, they would have pointed out these faults too. that's their job.

that lancia was supposed to be a handfull to drive anyhow. so if it spun out, why is he supprised?

and of course, this guy must have thought top gear was going to love it. because what are the chances top gear gives any car in the world a bad review or points out the fault of a car? like every episode.....

if he were a smart man, he should have known this was going to happen.

to be honest, this man trying to take a chunk out of top gear for doing their job would have lost my business after top gear got him my business, especially as i didn't know this kit existed before.. (if i were in the market for a kit car that is.)
 
Top