Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond nominate the greatest car company, James May tests a congestion-busting caravan plan and DJ Chris Evans is in the studio.
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Tonight: James wears a stripy jumper.
Richard drives a stripy Lamborghini.
And we name the greatest carmaker in the world.
Thank you so much, everybody. Wow!
Now, as we know, you can never get rid of a baddie, no matter how much you kill them.
Remember Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?
She was stabbed, she was drowned. Half an hour later, reared up out of the bath.
Then you've got the Daleks, and then you've got Blofeld, then you've got Peter Mandelson.
They just keep coming back.
And then there's Top Gear's perennial baddie.
Yes, it's the caravan.
As regular viewers of Dave will know, we have, over the last 24 hours,
done our very best to rid the world of the caravan menace.
I think there's one more, actually.
That is, you'll agree, sterling work in our battle to free the roads of these mobile traffic jams.
Sadly, it's a battle we're losing.
There are now almost half a million caravans
on UK roads, and the British are the most prolific caravanning nation
in Europe - a title we've held for almost four years, according to the Caravan Council.
In short, they're building them faster than we can destroy them.
So we need a scientific approach to getting them off the roads, and I may have found it.
JAMES BOND INCIDENTAL MUSIC
What you're witnessing here, viewers, is the maiden voyage of the world's first caravan airship,
and I believe this is the solution to all our problems.
There are only two ways to go caravanning. You can have your two-litre diesel,
tow your caravan, obscure the view of all the people you're annoying, or you can bring it up here.
Everybody wins. Driving is more fun and caravanning is more exciting.
However, as with all cutting-edge engineering projects, there are teething problems.
Normally, you drive along with your caravan and car and when you get to your site, you have a car to use.
I don't of course, so I need somebody to take the car to the caravan site for me.
And for that, I'm calling on my old caravan-destroying mate, Mr Richard Hammond.
Yes, and because it doesn't have to lug the caravan around, it can be a nice car.
This car will never, ever hitch itself to a Swift Rapide.
It's a Lamborghini, probably the least caravannish car company ever.
This is their new Gallardo Balboni.
It's a tribute to Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini's most famous test driver.
Although he wore a cardigan to work, he was a mentalist.
As a tribute to his mentalness, this particular Gallardo is the most mental Lambo
there's been for a while. More of that later.
First, I shall ring James and offer him some encouragement.
-That thing is going to crash and burn
and explode and you'll be scattered in a million pieces across
-the English countryside.
-Don't be so defeatist.
Anyway, I've got an address for you.
It's Hunter's Moon Caravan Club,
just outside Wareham in Dorset.
I've made the booking. They're expecting an airship. And I'll take you for lunch by the river.
Right, see you in a bit. Caravanning in a Lamborghini.
I think he might actually be on to something here.
Let me tell you a bit about the caravan airship. It's 125 feet long,
110,000 cubic feet of hot air holding it up,
and it's a very, very ingenious solution because all the caravan attachments are still here.
Instruments flip up out the table, the gas burners go where the cooker
would be and can be used for cooking, the beds fit where I'm sitting here.
It is still a caravan - it's just a flying caravan.
It floats in the infinite blue. It's superb.
Meanwhile, on the ground, this was turning into the best drive to a caravan site ever.
According to Top Gear research, 37% of caravanners enjoy wife-swapping.
Well, think what's going to happen when the keys to this baby come out the pot.
As I was saying, because this is a tribute to their looniest test driver, Lambo have ditched the usual
four-wheel drive for a Gallardo and gone back to the old hairy-chested rear-wheel drive.
That makes it 120kg lighter.
Ordinary steel brakes instead of carbon ceramic fancy ones. It's Lamborghini's punk album.
-Hammond, it's May.
-How are you?
Very well. How's it going?
Pretty good. Slight issue on the horizon, though.
-It's not the fastest aircraft in the world.
How not quick is it?
Well, top speed is about 17.
70 miles an hour's not bad.
No, 17 miles an hour.
-I think Dorset might be a bit far, so I've got a new address for you. Ready?
Dale Acres Caravan Club site in Kent.
Kent? Probably not my first choice of caravanning destinations.
-I know, but it's not miles from here, mate. I'll buy you an ice cream.
-I'll see you there.
Right, campsite number two, here we come.
It's now time for a spot of airborne lunch.
This is unquestionably the most powerful cooker ever fitted to a two-berth caravan.
Very well cooked on one side.
OK, another B road, through another village somewhere. It's all part of the adventure of caravanning.
Back to the Balboni.
The thing is, the basicness just makes it better to drive.
The steering feels so much quicker
because there's no four-wheel drive in the way.
And this gear change, the manual box,
it's like shaking hands with an old friend.
The only thing that isn't basic is price, because, weirdly,
this stripped-out, strictly
functional Gallardo costs £163,000,
which is 18 grand dearer than the ordinary four-wheel drive one,
so maybe less really is more.
The Balboni propelled me towards our campsite in Kent.
And then James rang again.
Are you ringing from the grave?
No, not at all. It's going marvellously up here, mate.
You'd love it. There is one slight hitch, though.
What's up now?
The performance is slightly marginal.
If I get a head wind of more than 13 knots, I start to go backwards.
You can't go into a wind of more than 13 knots? No.
What's the wind speed now?
It was 12.
So you're telling me you're being blown around Britain?
I'll takes too long to get down to Kent, so I'm going to turn round and go the other way, up to Suffolk.
-Anyway, I've got an address for you.
Why didn't you just ring up and book us into every caravan site in Britain before we left?
Stop nit-picking, will you?
What a norbert.
If this airship caravanning scheme of his catches on, what we'll have
is the skies full of airships crashing into each other whenever the wind gets up
and then the roads full of cars crashing into each other because they have to keep turning round.
OK, campsite number three.
With the wind behind me, I headed for our new destination.
-Good morning. Caravan Club, Chris speaking. How can I help?
I was wondering if there were any pitches available at the White House
-Beach Club this afternoon, please?
-What's your surname?
May. Can I just ask if you have facilities for people arriving by airship?
By airship? Right, OK, um...
Are you actually a member of the Caravan Club?
Here I am in the village
of...here, this village, and it's somewhere I would never have seen.
That's a really, really big tower over there.
That's...well, that's clearly just a danger to caravanners, isn't it?
Look at it.
Must remember to tell James about that.
As it turned out, at that moment, James had more than a tower to worry about.
Mayday, mayday, mayday.
Norwich Golf Papa Golf, I am about to enter your air space.
Golf Tango Oscar Papa Golf, Norwich, you are entering an area of intense aerial activity at the moment.
It is imperative that you remain clear, well clear.
Norwich Golf Papa Golf, sorry, cannot comply.
Have no control over airship owing to wind conditions.
Tango Oscar Papa Golf, remain well clear.
Norwich, cannot comply.
Papa Golf, you have traffic left, 11 o'clock range of half a mile, fast moving.
-Roger. Have visual, Golf Papa Golf.
Golf Papa Golf. Further traffic in your right, three o'clock, right left.
BBC Radio 1. Newsbeat...
Right, that's the news report. No news of a massive fireball burning
over Northamptonshire or of people in the streets being hit by pieces of long burning hair and bad jumper.
Anyway, I'm probably being pessimistic.
I'm sure it's going very well.
No! Stay where you are, man! Golf Papa Golf, I'm heading very close
to the KLM Cityhopper. Can you advise them please not to start up or take off.
Papa Golf Norwich.
The police helicopter will shortly be approaching.
Golf Papa Golf, police helicopter really not necessary.
I will attempt to clear your zone at this altitude.
Golf Papa Golf, please don't call the police.
Norfolk Police helicopter Oscar 99 to Golf Tango...
-Roger, Golf Papa Golf.
-Not really aware of your intention, but
you've strayed into the controlled air space of Norwich airport.
I may be about to get a colossal aviation bollocking.
Suffolk, a popular holiday destination.
Just a few miles away now.
James will have landed,
set the van up, organised our little home from home, probably got the kettle on.
With the wrath of the sky cops still ringing in my ears, finally, I reached a caravan site.
I didn't know if it was the one I'd booked into, but it would do.
Here we go. The landing you won't even notice.
This is a lovely approach over the trees.
Just a matter of a resting descent with little bursts of gas.
What I'm actually doing here is helping to realise a dream that
was held by many great men, people who envisaged the elegance and the majesty of lighter than air flight.
Count Zeppelin, Nevil Shute, Barnes Wallace - this is for them.
A bit of drift. A bit of...
Drifting. Oh, God! Cocking Nora, this is difficult!
Gas! Gas! It's going down. No!
Keep it upright.
I may be going sideways slightly.
Oh, bloody hell, stop! Stop!
Come on, Papa Charlie Echo Charlie Charlie Whisker Echo Papa. What?
I think that idea has a lot of promise.
Airships don't and never have worked.
You can't land any aircraft that flies by being full of hot air.
I have been in a hot-air balloon once, and it landed by dragging itself sideways through a hedge and
a field, and I ended up jammed on top the Lady Mayoress in the basket. Long story, but I did.
Ridiculous. I want to talk about lighter than air transport.
I want to talk about the Lambo.
It's heroically daft.
By going down from four-wheel to rear-wheel drive, it's that bit more bonkers.
It's like free climbing rather than with all those ropes and harnesses. It's fabulous.
We must now compare it, cos it's rear-wheel drive, to a Ferrari 430.
Ya. It's not as good, but it's better.
It's the white stripe.
You got to drive it a lot more than you thought because of the
freak weather conditions that blighted James, the light breezes.
-It was more like a ruddy hurricane.
-It was puffy clouds.
-It was a breeze.
-Let's do the news.
The Danes have made an announcement.
They're going to start making a supercar. This is it.
That has got a V8 that's supercharged and turbocharged, and they say
all of the components, where possible, are going to be made and sourced by companies in Denmark.
-Is it going to be made of bacon?
Will it be lubricated with Lurpak?
You know Bang & Olufsen?
Beautiful Danish design, and then, as far as I'm aware, it's all Philips electronics.
-So that's what it'll be like.
-Doesn't stop you buying pretty much everything they make.
-I am a bit of a sucker for Bang & Olufsen.
Have you been in the new Audis? New Audis have got Bang & Olufsen speakers that
rise up out of the dashboard when you turned the stereo on.
-And I should think you're rising up along with them.
Anyway, Bang & Olufsen brings me back to that car, because
I think that looks absolutely fant... I don't care if it is made of bacon.
-What's it called?
-Bang & Lurpak, something like that.
Now, I don't know if you saw in the papers this week,
a woman had a baby while she was on her way to hospital in a Kia.
They've called the baby Kia.
Could have been worse.
It could have been Proton.
Because these people called their baby Kia, Kia,
the people who made the cars, have actually given them a Kia car.
We've got a picture of the handover.
This brings us on to a very important Top Gear top tip.
If you're on your way to hospital in labour, and you're in a Kia,
for God's sake get out!
Let the child be christened Skip, Bus Stop, Phone Box, anything, just get out.
"I christen this child, Doorway Of Currys." Cos at least that way
you'd get a free microwave and not a hideous car like that.
I reckon this whole story and baby Kia here, it could spark a whole load of copycats,
cos a load of dads waiting until the very last minute on the due date
and then secretly hiring a Lamborghini Murcielago and driving really slowly to the hospital.
"Are you all right, darling? Think you can hang on?"
Yeah, why are you called Pagani Zonda With The Optional Ceramic Brake Package?
Now, last weekend, the three of us were in Middlesbrough,
and on Saturday night we had to drive back to England. You know what I mean.
It meant going back down the M1. The truth of the matter is that all three of us had been away from home
for six weeks or something, looking forward to seeing our families.
So belting down the M1, and you arrive in Leicestershire, and there's a 20-mile set of road works there.
20 miles which have average speed cameras set at 50 miles an hour for the entire length.
Traffic's light, there's no rain, it's three lanes, but you're forced to do 50.
I don't know who the Minister of Transport is, but I want him to find the man who came up with that idea,
go round to his office on Monday morning and punch him really hard on the side of his head. Just boof!
Because if he doesn't, I'm going to find the man and I'm going to attach him to a milling machine
and see if it's possible to turn a man's head into a perfect cube.
D'you know why they have the 50 mile an hour speed limit?
To protect the workforce, who weren't there. They were in bed, where I wanted to be.
I agree with you entirely. But the answer is not cubing people's heads.
The answer is, when the workforce isn't there, do 70.
-You're just going to get nicked.
-But if everybody does 70...
Who here would just do 70 through a set of road works with an average speed camera? Nobody, James.
-You go charging through and you're going to get booked.
You can test it. Stay to 70 because that is the speed limit.
You take it to court in front of a jury, and you argue
correctly that it is wrong to apply the 50 mile an hour speed limit when there's no-one there to protect.
-So you're saying it's logic?
-It is logic. It's logic to kill Peter Mandelson.
-No, it isn't.
It is, but you can't do it.
Killing Peter Mandelson is a grey area, but doing 70 miles an hour on the motorway is an absolute.
How many people went on that anti-war march? A million.
We went to war. How many people went on the countryside march?
400,000, and fox-hunting was banned.
The Government is not interested in the will of the people,
particularly if it was just one pedantic, long-haired, old queen, standing up in court saying,
-"I did 70 cos it's logical."
-You're absolutely right.
Speed limits on motorways can be a pain, and there's two solutions outlined for you.
Revolution or cubing people's heads, or alternatively you could just leave a bit earlier.
-No, cube their heads!
-Anyway, time to move on.
Because last week, we asked you to nominate the carmaker that you
thought over the years has made the largest number of great cars.
There have been a couple of quite interesting nominations.
One was Matchbox.
-That was a surprise.
-The other was James May.
He tied with Chrysler.
It was weird cos he's only ever made one great car, James, the Eagle Hamthrust.
It was a really great car.
This is the top ten.
We've Ferrari, Lamborghini, and coming up now we have the top three.
Here they are.
-Cost a lot of money.
In third place, according to you, the voters...
In second place, even though they made the worst car in the history of the world ever, the Beetle. It's VW.
No applauding that.
You can applaud this if you like. The winner - it's Ford!
So that is it.
The thing is, though, you're wrong.
-Ford hasn't won this at all.
-Because we reckoned Ford has made four great cars over the years.
But the car company we think is at the top of this list has made seven.
The car company we've got in mind...
There were 350 million people watching last week's show when we asked for you to vote.
The number of people who voted for what we think is the greatest car company in the world was nine.
-Not nine million.
-Just nine. No ideas?
-Made some of the prettiest cars ever.
Let me put it this way - Mitsubishi has won the World Rally Championship once,
Subaru three times, Ford three times.
The company we've got in mind won it ten times.
No? Silence. OK then, watch this.
This is a collection of art, of madness, of brilliance.
This is a collection of pornography.
This is a collection of Lancias.
But this, annoyingly, is the Lancia people remember best of all,
It was made from steel so thin that on a windy day it would actually change shape.
And it wasn't much cop in the rain either.
This was fine yesterday, but then this morning we had a bit of a shower and now look at it.
The fact is, though,
that all Lancias had problems.
The Gamma, for instance, exploded every time you turned the steering wheel.
And then there was the Fulvia.
It is a fantastic little car, this.
It's like driving
a wroughty sorbet.
With its clever V4 engine, a Fulvia was the first Lancia
to win the World Rally Championship.
The thing is, though, when all is said and done, it was a very small, 1.3 litre,
front-wheel drive, two-door saloon car, but it cost, when it was new, more than an E-Type Jaguar.
We forgave the Fulvia its silly price tag, though, because of what made it
great, the same thing that made almost all Lancias great - the way it looked.
It really is as pretty as the sun setting over Charlize Theron.
In its day, this was too, the streamlined Aprilia,
the first car ever to be designed in a wind tunnel.
But inevitably there were problems.
The doors opened like this, and it was lovely - meant getting in and out was very easy.
However, when they were closed, they didn't quite meet,
so quite a lot of weather got inside as you drove along.
And it was only made with right-hand drive, fine in Britain and Sweden,
which drove on the left at the time, but it was quite annoying everywhere else.
And then there was the Monte Carlo.
This was a wonderful car, a mid-engined mini-Ferrari.
But because it was actually a Lancia, the things that were right
were balanced out by the things that were wrong.
If you even looked at the middle pedal, the brakes would lock up and you'd crash into a tree.
Lancia took the thing very seriously, so much so that they
stopped production for two years whilst they looked for a solution.
And they found one. What they did was remove the brake servo,
so then it had no brakes at all.
The Monte Carlo, then, was quite dangerous.
But in that Lancia way, it was so pretty I wanted one more than I wanted my next breath.
Sometimes, though, Lancia's lunacy did produce results.
Did you know Lancia was the first car company ever to sell a car with a monocoque?
They were the first to offer a five-speed gear box.
The first to ever sell a car with supercharging and turbo charging on the same engine.
First to sell a road car with a V6 engine.
First to sell a car with an electric boot spoiler.
So they did all these significant mechanical firsts, and yet still, if you say to anyone "Lancia",
-they snigger and say, "They just fall apart."
-Has the bumper come off?
-I believe it has, yes.
You need to define greatness, and that's the important thing.
Just because something is unreliable...
..doesn't mean it isn't great.
Stephen Hawkins - great bloke, even though a lot of him doesn't work.
Yeah. I wouldn't break it to him like that.
But the principle stands, yeah it does.
Meryl Streep - everybody says she's a great actress,
and then she goes and appears in Mamma Mia, the worst film ever made.
But she's still a great actress.
Have you seen Mamma Mia?
-Yes, I have.
-You big girl.
To prove that even the tattiest Lancia is tougher than you might think,
we have bought this 1982 HPE.
And I shall now drive it non-stop through the night on a rough rally stage.
And I shall be racing... No, not racing.
Been told about that. Dangerous.
Um, driving at the same time on the same track
in a similar vintage car, this Morris Marina.
-Hammond, winner, last one still running.
-Yep, fair enough.
Let's do it!
ENGINE STRUGGLES TO START
This is not a promising start in dispelling the myth that Lancias weren't very good.
-ENGINE FINALLY STARTS
-Never doubted it.
Obviously, the Marina won't work because these vile, hateful things are hopeless.
ENGINE STARTS IMMEDIATELY
Now, you might be saying, "Oh, it's a Morris Marina.
A piano's going to fall on it."
The more eagle-eyed viewer may have spotted I have taken the precaution
of buying a Marina that's already had a piano land on it, so job done.
Since we were doing serious research, we'd agreed that there would be no childish racing.
Don't hit Hammond.
I've hit Hammond!
That's OK. Proving what a fine and strong breed of car the Lancia always was.
I hope I don't hit Jeremy just as he goes round this really difficult corner.
He's got the outside there. He'll never get by, and he hasn't.
Ha ha! But we're not racing.
We're not racing.
We're not... This is driving me mad.
He's through while I got my sun visor out of the way.
For hour after hour, we continued to not race round the rally stage.
It's pretty close to dark.
Still literally no faults to report, absolutely none.
Eventually, after not racing some more...
..the Marina began to pull ahead.
It is, of course, a well-known fact that a piano on the roof
aids traction and gives you more speed on a rally-special stage.
But then, predictably, it broke down.
Tools... So I went to get some tools to try and fix it.
There he is! It's Hammond! He's out!
Ha, ha, ha, ha!
The Lancia soldiered on alone, but then I got a warning light.
Oh no! It's, yes, look...
I can't see through the flames!
I've got to blow this out. Oh God!
Maybe if I sped up, like in Memphis Belle.
Come on! No, that's not working.
I can't see anything.
No matter, though, because here's proof that Lancias are tough and strong, and dependable.
It's getting quite bad now.
So now, can we please move on?
This is a Stratos.
It had a 2.4 litre Ferrari V6, mounted in the middle.
It was Italian, styled by Bertone
and it was completely impractical.
It therefore ticked all the supercar boxes.
But unlike any other supercar before or since,
it wasn't designed to be parked in Monte Carlo.
It was designed to get there, like this.
It's absurdly short wheel base meant it was agile and the Ferrari power meant it was fast.
So fast that it won the World Rally Championship three times.
And joy of joys, they made 500 Stratoses for people to buy.
Oh, that's a proper noise.
What a fantastic car!
Of course, there were a few problems with it.
Chief among which was a lack of space inside.
A gynaecologist would get in here and go, "God, I'm at work!"
It's like climbing into somebody else's giant red posing pouch.
I'm going for a gear change.
Stop touching my knee.
-You try changing gear.
-You grasped hold of my knee.
You've got to. I'm going to change gear now.
This will involve man touching.
The list of faults doesn't end with the tiny cockpit.
Why did they give the passenger the pedals and the driver the wheel?
-They're definitely over to the right-hand side.
You're sort of sitting a bit sideways.
These window winders are...
A tad basic. It's not very good.
-The other thing I really like as well is, you know a Porsche puts the rev counter right in front of you.
Lancia, in this, put the oil pressure right in front of you.
What does that tell you!
So, not perfect.
But then you look at it and there's the thing, because it just sort of is.
-This is one of the best cars ever made.
-Yeah, I'd go with that.
On the grounds of its achievement, but also that slightly more
subjective thing of how gorgeous it looks.
This...stop doing that to my knee.
-Just move your leg.
-That was a stroke!
After the Stratos came the 037.
The last two-wheel drive car to win the World Rally Championship.
And the only two-wheel drive car to beat the mighty, Audi Quattro.
The thing is though, no-one really remembers the 037.
Then there's the Thema 832.
Lancia's answer to the BMW M5.
No one really remembers this, either,
even though it had a fully fledged Ferrari V8 under the bonnet.
We don't really remember any of Lancia's seven great cars,
and all because of what happened in 1980.
Lancia was forced by pressure from the media to spend a fortune
buying back rusty beaters,
scrapping them and giving their owners brand new cars.
It was a PR disaster.
In Britain, Lancia's reputation was ruined.
And in 1994, they pulled out of the market altogether.
However, before the most charismatic car maker of them all finally went,
they left us with one final reminder of what they can do when they try.
This is the Delta Integrale.
A four-wheel-drive, turbo charged, rally car that picked up where
the Fulvia, the Stratos and the 037 left off.
This thing won the World Rally Championship six times on the trot...
And you can feel that DNA in here.
The steering is so neat, precise.
Feeling that there.
Feel it settle into a turn and just grip,
just pull itself back into the corner.
The turbo comes on song.
Having learnt their lesson with the Aprilia, Lancia weren't going
to be stupid enough to make these only in right-hand drive,
so they made them left-hand drive...only.
Despite this, a good one of these today is worth £25,000.
And I'm not surprised.
Because this is a very unusual Lancia.
It wasn't very pretty.
But, God, it was good.
It's so pretty.
I actually want one. I'm standing here thinking, "I want one."
But, what I love about Lancia is that they never once said, "Let's just make a medium car."
No, they were always doing experiments. Some of the experiments worked, and some didn't.
But that's the nature of it. They might think, "Can we make an engine with seven and a half cylinders?"
Let's see the windows can work, not with electricity,
but with magic. Abracadabra! No, it hasn't worked. Sell it anyway.
Exactly, and that's what made them so magnificent.
They are still going today but now they're just a division of Fiat
making things like this, which is neither very pretty nor very good.
What it is in essence is a Fiat Bravo
with Rio Ferdinand's face stuck on the front.
But fear not, because if you still hanker over the glory days,
then later on in the show, we have something to warm the cockles of your heart.
Yes, but now it's time to put a star in our reasonably priced car.
My guest tonight is a broadcasting legend.
He also has an astonishing collection of cars...
I have a list for you here: A Ferrari 599, Ferrari F40, Ferrari California,
Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari 288 GTO,
Ferrari 308 GTS, Ferrari 246 Dino, Ferrari 275 GTB quad-cam,
Ferrari 250 GT California short wheel base,
and Ferrari 250 GT California long wheel base.
So, let's find out if there's any particular type of car he likes.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Evans!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-How are you?
-Good, Jeremy. How are you?
-Very well. You've grown up, Chris Evans.
Have a seat, mate. Have a seat.
Presumably, you disagree with our greatest car verdict, then?
-Oh, quelle surprise.
You don't believe, judging by your collection
that they're a particularly brilliant maker of motor cars?
-What, a car falling to bits, the best marque in the world!
Are you mad or are you mental?
Lancias only came in black and rust!
I still stand by... There's more Lancias I'd like to...
The number of Ferraris I'd like to own now is one.
What about the 860 Monza? What about the 750 Monza?
What about the 850 Monza? What about the PF 250? What about the four-cam?
What about the...
A lot of people write and complain that this isn't a car show any more. It is now!
I love this enthusiasm. Why have you painted all yours white?
Because I wanted them to match. I wanted them to be a work of art.
I've got a white garage or "car house" as they're sometimes known.
It's got a white piano in it, right?
That plays itself, and there are these eight beautiful white Ferraris.
And I've got matching number plates. And it's so anal, it's not true.
Which leads you to that auction. When you bid for the Ferrari California. The James Coburn car.
-This is terribly vulgar. I wouldn't normally do it,
how much did you pay for that?
It was the most expensive car sold at auction in the world.
-When I bought it.
-Last year? A lot of millions?
-Yeah, it was 12 million.
-How drunk were you?
I wasn't drunk at all. The point is, I didn't go to buy the car.
I went to buy a poster.
I'm not joking. I went to buy a poster.
The 250 short wheel base California Spider came up on the stand, my second favourite car in the world.
Why? Because it was in my Top Trumps collection. It's as simple as that.
That's how these things work and that's how life is sometimes.
I thought, I'll go for it.
That was the best one in the world, James Coburn owned it for 28 years.
He brought it because he met Steve McQueen on The Great Escape...just
talking about this makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
It's all documented, I've got all the history and now that little baby's back in the garage at home.
-I show it to as many people as I can.
I was listening to you the other day, I listen to you every day whilst stuck in a traffic jam, and you've
auctioned your entire collection of Ferraris, well most of your collection, for Children In Need.
-So how does that work?
People ring in and they were bidding?
-And then they can drive whichever one they want?
What happens is, we take the seven highest bids on the day and they spend a four-day tour
and during the four days, each person who's bid the amount of money gets to drive every single car.
Isn't that terrifying from your point of view?
It's only tin and rubber.
The great thing about these cars, if anybody comes round to my house,
if they're fitting a carpet, doing the garden, burgling...
I say, "Just before you take that, come and have a look at the cars."
I think it's really important to share these cars with people.
But you don't know who's bid.
I mean, you know their names.
-But, you could have any sort of ape turning up.
-Well, if you bid, then...
Now, you've got a book out.
It's Not What You Think... Which is what it's called.
-And there's lists of everything at the beginning of every chapter.
Which is great. A man loves a top ten. We like to quantify everything.
But this car business, it does seem to me that cars...you sometimes claim
-you're not a car man, but you bloody well are!
-No, I'm definitely a car man.
Behind my family, my job, maybe, you're not going to like this,
maybe golf, then I am a car man.
Sometimes, if I'm away from home, the first thing I do,
I get back home and I have to go to the garage just to have a smell.
I love it. The smell of petrol and leather, I love it to death.
It's better than stuff I've never tried.
OK. Now, obviously the big news is that, Chris Evans, enfant terrible
of the broadcasting air waves for many years, is about to take over from the Terry Master.
Has he given you any advice about morning stuff?
-Like, how to get up early?
-Well, Terry doesn't get up early.
-Terry starts at half past seven. That's not a breakfast show.
-What time are you starting?
It is funny because you'll have to pretend to be older than you are.
No, I'm not, because if somebody is 60...
We had a request for somebody's 60th birthday, they wanted Van Halen,
because that's the music that was around... So, we're OK. There's quality tunes about...
You had Brian Johnson on the show, lead singer of ACDC, 62 years old. It's all fine.
It is all fine. My generation, are going to be in our old people's home
-with Anarchy In The UK in our wheelchairs.
-How great's that?
-We won't even have wheelchairs and we're still going to be doing that.
-I am that the Antichrist.
-Give me a wheelchair.
-I don't want any more, Gracie Fields, just this. Yeah, exactly.
-How did it go for you, out there today on our lap?
-Well, I did my best.
-Probably the worst weather there's ever been out there.
The Stig, what a lovely man, he could not have been nicer, however, what I decided to do...
I've had a great life. I've had a great time, thanks very much.
I thought, if I'm going to die, let's die today on this track.
He did actually say, "As far as I could work out, Chris, has no sense of self-preservation."
Who wants to see it? Come on, let's have a look.
So, you haven't learned your lesson, still going for brute force.
Come on! Hello, family.
Concentrate, man. Concentrate on the job in hand. That is wet.
Good. Ooh, it's Joe 90 behind the wheel.
Cutting across the red and whites, that's slippery.
-You're looking quite good, though.
-You've never been good at anything
like this in your life, try and have a go at this.
-Have you really never been good at anything?
-Not like this, no.
I'm with you, all sports are impossible. But that's not bad.
You've got to nail Hammerhead, Chrissy.
You've got to do this, even though your chin does look like a bum!
There's Hammerhead. Will we get round it this time?
Oh no, we've put cones out so Jonathan Ross doesn't get lost if he ever comes back.
You're in the white lines. That looks slow but that's important for a quick time.
Aim for the cameraman!
Bad karma. Because I missed the gear, aiming for the cameraman.
He's getting a bit tired now.
That's looking good.
Oh, the smell of the clutch. Mmmm!
But does it smell of victory?
I'm being a bit of a wuss into the final bend. Come on now.
Cut the corner, just a bit.
That's the trick. That's good. That's quite a lot!
This one... Cut it a lot!
So an entirely new way across the line!
So, here we are. There's the board.
There is the board.
Where do you think... Obviously we will give you a wet lap there. We'll put Chris Evans "wet" on it.
-Where do you think you've come?
-I don't think it's that impressive,
but I did try my best. But I'm not going to lean forward. I'm going to just try and be cool.
We've never had a guest who's managed to stay just like that.
My heart is racing.
You did it in one minute, so you're quicker than Terry Wogan was.
You're already the new fastest Radio Two breakfast show host we've ever had.
In the last 40 years!
In the last 40 years! You did it in one minute...
-Oh, that's good.
..48.1. For a wet lap,
that's the third-fastest wet lap we've ever had.
Oh, look. There's your ex.
I'm just above her, but I'm not on top of her, I'm just above her.
Cos she's my ex.
Although David Tennant said we only allowed her
to do that after she cut corners because she was wearing a see-through top.
And he was quite right, of course!
But then you cut corners as well.
Next time I'm going to wear a see-through top.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Evans.
Best of luck. APPLAUSE
That is a good time. You can be proud of that.
Earlier on in the show, we explained that Lancia, the greatest car company
in the world, just because of a few problems with rust 30 years ago,
they're not available in the UK anymore.
The thing is though, as Jeremy's been finding out, you can still get one, sort of.
This is a Lancia Stratos, except for one small thing.
It wasn't made in the 1970s in Italy - in fact,
I don't know where it was made. In a shed in Nuneaton, probably.
This, you see, is a kit car.
Either you can pay someone to build it for you,
or you can make it at home yourself with a hammer.
Apparently, if you're fairly competent,
that would take about 300 hours.
Obviously, it would take me about 300 years, which is a very long time.
But there is an upside.
An original Stratos would cost £100,000, maybe more.
That is £13,000.
In theory, that makes this, the Hawk HF, the bargain of the century.
The body is absolutely identical to the original, all the panels are completely interchangeable.
The interior, too, would be familiar to Lancia fans.
The pedals are nowhere near where the bottom of my legs are.
The steering wheel is perilously close to where my testes used to be,
before the seatbelt jammed them up into my lungs.
The gear lever is like one of Bugs Bunny's ears,
and one of the switches on the dashboard operates the fire extinguisher,
but since I don't know which one it is, I daren't touch any of them.
The wiper has gone upside down.
That wouldn't actually clear the rain from the window.
And then there was a big noise.
Wait a minute. What the hell? What was that!?
The front left brake had jammed on.
I've got to get this into a workshop. Come on, come on!
'I took the car to Nigel, the resident mechanic at our track, and greeted him in the usual fashion.'
Have you got a hammer?
That is scalding hot, as we can see on the thermal imaging camera.
He's gone to answer the phone now.
While we wait, I suppose I should explain the £13,000 doesn't include the cost of an engine.
You have to get one yourself. And you've a choice of two, you can either get Fiat's twin-cam,
which you can buy used these days for about 5p, or for £600, you can get the engine I have in this.
You use this handle, which is disguised as a spoiler, to get the back up, and there you are.
Alfa's brilliant three-litre V6.
This actually produces more power than the Ferrari engine Lancia used,
and with it, the Hawk is faster.
When it's working. Which it will be... eventually.
It is mended. And now I'm going to get back in.
Which is a surprisingly elegant process... if you're a mouse.
You simply get one...
Oh, that's not good.
You sort of get over this roll bar, like this.
Then you get your head in.
It's probably easier to detach your head first and put it back on in the car.
There we are.
Over there, and then you might want to cut the camera for this bit. This is a bit...
I had intended at this point to check out the performance,
but after the brake problem, I'd rather lost my nerve.
0-60 takes less than five seconds
and what I'm NOT going to do now is see where that acceleration stops.
I really don't want to travel at 150 miles an hour
in a car built in a shed by a man I've never met.
This is 90, perhaps that's... The wiper's gone.
That is an important consideration you have to bear in mind if you're thinking of buying a used kit car.
You have to ask, "Was it built fastidiously by James May over a period of many hundreds of years?
"Or was it built by a spanner with a hammer?"
I mean, would you buy a kit car that I'd built?
Having chickened on the max speed run, I decided to NOT find out
what it's like flat-out through the corners.
Here we go! I'm going in. And here I'm cornering, not at all flat-out.
60, that's fine.
Brakes, all three and three quarters of them, are very squirrelly.
The steering's very heavy, a lot of body roll.
There we are. I think that's probably enough cornering now, we've done that, tick.
Certainly then, the Hawk is only as good as the bloke who put it together.
You'll spend more time under it than in it, for example.
I'm not going to pretend it's as good as an original Stratos either,
for the same reason that a postcard of the Mona Lisa
is not as good as Leonardo's.
But one day your car will be working,
and you'll see a reflection of yourself in a shop window as you go by,
and trust me on this, that's going to feel good.
Because critically, this looks like a Stratos.
And if we're honest, that's all we really want.
I would like to build a kit car like that,
because I think it would be very therapeutic. It would be.
It's more satisfying to have something you've made yourself.
I don't even like to eat a sandwich I've made myself,
because it's always got blood in it and bits of my fingers.
Anyway, we must now find out how fast this car goes round our track,
and of course, that means handing it over to our tame racing driver.
Some say that his new Christmas range of fragrances
includes the great smell of Wednesday
and that he was turned down for the job of EU President
because his face is just too recognisable.
All we know is he's call The Stig.
He's off, there he goes. I say, listen to that noise.
The Alfa V6 sounds, if anything, even better than the Ferrari V6.
That's fantastic sound.
What's happening here?
Is he looking for the stereo, no? Stiggy, what's gone wrong?
He's broken down!
How authentic is that? Yes, this is a scene familiar to any Lancia owner.
Look at him walking off, completing his journey on foot.
Not across the line.
Now, there is no way we were going to allow
our first-ever DNF, did not finish, on the board, to be a Lancia, no way.
So we mended the car in a shed,
OK, brought it back, it was here this morning for The Stig to try again.
Unfortunately, it was raining this time.
But the car has set off well, still making a fabulous noise,
look at the rooster tails, still dipping badly,
underbraking as The Stig turns in.
That's a bit wide, Stiggy!
Where are you going?
He's got it back. Now, that's amazing driving as he comes up now
to Chicago, locked up the front, back stepped out, this is wide.
He's gone! The Stig has spun!
That's not going to stop him, he's still going on, look at that for determination.
Stig's obviously a Lancia fan as he comes up to the Hammerhead.
Yes, he's got it to turn in nicely, done better than Chris Evans there.
Nice through with the whole beautifully-held slide.
It's gone wrong, he's headed for the camera crew.
I bet they were frightened!
Is he breaking down again? No, he isn't.
That's not at all Lancia-ish as he comes to the follow-through.
Yes, he's definitely backed off of that and I can't say I blame him,
as he heads now towards the tyres, building up speed,
but not too much speed. Now he's coming down.
Crikey, this is out of control now.
He's done it, he's round the second to last corner, he's gone again!
Now that's what I call driving, as he comes round Gambon, this time across the line.
That is the best-looking lap we've ever seen.
And I have to say, one of the most exciting.
-Car control is phenomenal.
The time was... 1.48.2,
which means it's also the slowest lap we've ever had round the Top Gear test track.
Can you imagine how long it would have taken if he'd built it?
He wouldn't have finished the lap by now!
-Yes, it would.
Next week we're on for reasons we don't understand at 8.30pm.
-On that bombshell...
-..it's time to end.
-Thank you for watching.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail - [email protected]
Motoring news and views with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Jeremy and Richard settle the thorny issue of which company has, above all others, made the greatest number of truly brilliant cars.
James has a novel solution for getting caravans to campsites without clogging up the roads, and Jeremy hits the track in a remarkable replica of a legendary rally car. Plus Radio 2's Breakfast Show DJ and all round petrolhead Chris Evans is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.