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Tonight, a dog won't get in a car...
a flipchart falls over...
and a man from Liverpool drives a car.
Thank you, everybody! Thank you.
Hello, hello! Thank you so much.
Can I just say how nice it is to be back where we belong? BBC Two, 8 o'clock, Sunday night.
Unless, of course, somebody's organised a snooker tournament, in which case, happy Easter!
-And isn't the iPlayer...illiant...
-..when it freezes?
What I'd like to do is shove it up British Telecom's...
We start tonight with the Ariel Atom.
Now, there is a new, much f-a-a-a-ster version
which has come along recently and there was only one man to test it for us.
He was born in a stable and his name is James May.
This is it, you'll be able to spot it in a crowd by virtue of its gold wheels,
its gold chassis,
its F1-style engine cover and by the engine underneath it,
which is now a three-litre V8.
Now the normal rules are, if you've got a big, heavy car
and you want it to go fast, you have to put a big, powerful engine in it.
If you've got a small, light car and you want it to go fast,
you don't need to put such a big engine in it.
So what happens if you take a very light car and put a very big engine in it?
Well, in my case, you look like a spaniel with its head out of the window.
The old Atom had 275 horsepower.
This one has 500 horsepower and it only weighs 550kg.
Which means it has a power-to-weight figure of over 900 horsepower per tonne.
So in Top Gear maths, it's twice as powerful as a Bugatti Veyron or a Ferrari Enzo.
But the Atom is not just a rocket bolted to a roller-skate.
It's a bit more clever than that.
These little paddles, for example, will shift the sequential gears
in four-hundredths of a second, or so quickly
that there's no appreciable drop in power to the rear wheels
and that helps it go from 0-60 in something like 2.5 seconds.
And now, let's bring all those numbers to life with a practical demonstration.
Here we have a small selection of supercars from around the world.
From Japan, the Lexus LFA - £340,000, bristling with science.
From Italy, the latest lightweight Lamborghini Gallardo - £180,000.
Both of them with over 550 horsepower,
and both of them packed with supercar technology and the pride of nations.
So let's see how they do against the Atom in a race
from nought to 100 to nought.
And there we are.
Look how this cottage industry supercar mocks the conceit of empires.
However, since we're on this built-in-a-shed David versus big-business Goliath theme,
I have a confession to make... on the Atom's behalf.
The standard Atom, with 275 horsepower, costs £30,000.
This one, with 500 horsepower, costs £150,000.
And even the seasoned Top Gear film crew were quite surprised
by what you get for your 150 grand.
-Is there a radio?
-So no subwoofer?
-Is it central locking?
-No, there's no doors.
-Where's the spare wheel?
I don't think there is a spare wheel. There's no boot.
-Nope, no cup holder.
-Somewhere to put your sunglasses?
-Your iPhone? That plugs in, surely.
The fact is, with this car, you're paying for supergeek levels of engineering.
The bespoke engine and gearbox alone cost £50,000.
And then you've got the magnesium wheels
and the on-board computers that set the car up for individual owners.
Also, the Atom V8 had a difficult and costly birth.
Early attempts at the V8 were absolutely brutal.
They were only really fit for track-day bores
who wanted to drone on in the pub about how they'd driven something that was undrivable.
So they went back to the drawing board and then they got this.
Not that, this.
A hardcore car with a heart of pure gold.
I love the steering in this thing - it's fantastically immediate.
I'm just thinking my way through bends, really.
It's as crisp as a bag of crisps.
In fact, driving the V8 Atom is one of the great motoring experiences
of my life, which is an excellent thought on which to end this film.
Unfortunately, it isn't the end. In fact, things get a bit tricky for me now because when Jeremy tested
the original Atom several years ago, he had a race round the track against a fast motorcycle
and the producers enjoyed this so much, they've ordered me to do the same thing again.
The thing is, since this Atom is considerably faster than the old one,
it'll be up against a considerably faster bike -
the BMW S1000RR, the world's most-powerful road bike.
And whereas Jeremy raced against a normal road-going motorcycle enthusiast, I won't be.
No, I'll be against British EVO Superbike champion Steve Brogan.
Now, I thought this was unfair and I protested.
I said the Atom should also be driven by a proper racing driver,
but the producers said, "No, it must be a Top Gear presenter,"
so...here we go.
Oh, sorry, mate. Sorry.
Anyway, undo that strap, stick it on your head.
And I'm off!
No, he's going past.
We've got roughly the same power-to-weight ratio.
This is going to be about corners.
Got a bit of drive out of the corner on me there, but I think I'm catching him again.
Been given a good beating there by Hammerhead. Here we go.
Hard on the brakes.
He can't get his power down in the corners like I can.
Down to the Follow Through, flat out.
Got to keep it right.
I've gone past, I've gone past! Into the second-to-last corner.
Here we go for the last corner. Don't muck it up.
And across the line!
No problem, James - any time you want me.
-Do you want this shirt back?
-I'm pretty sure you don't want it.
No, you're right.
You cheat. Cheat.
seven million YouTube watchers will testify to the fact
that when I drove an Atom, it completely ruined my face.
-Ruined! I used to look like Pierce Brosnan.
I was a ladies' man. Now they're just sick when they see me. But the thing is,
this one, obviously, is a lot faster than the one I drove,
but you look just as hideous now as you did when you got into it.
I think that's partly because my face isn't as flabby as yours, but it's also...
No, listen, it's also... It is partly that, but it's partly because I drove it with this windscreen on.
-I know it doesn't look like much. It's just a little piece of Perspex,
but that is enough to stop people ending up looking like you.
-Interesting point, good.
Now I have actually driven the V8, I must say, and my abiding memory is one of understeer.
Yes, you're right because you do get to a fast corner and you turn the wheel more sort of...
-It's more in hope than expectation, really.
-Exactly, which is why, to find out how fast it goes
round our track, we need a man who has no fear.
-And no face.
-Absolutely, no face.
Now you may remember in our Christmas Special, we found... Well, we sparked fury in fact,
when we found a baby Stig in a manger in Bethlehem.
The thing is, though, that was only one month ago.
Now you're probably thinking there's no way that a car like the V8 Atom could be handled
by a mewling, puking infant, but the good news is Stigs grow up very quickly.
-They do, they do.
He's already been to school.
There he is. He's been a teenager.
Got a photograph of him here at university.
Soon he will be old enough to get a job on Countryfile,
but now, he's here and he's ready to go to work.
So everyone please welcome, Top Gear's new Stig!
And he's off. Firing up the straight like a microbe.
The Atom's three-litre V8 is actually two motorbike engines stuck together.
Here he comes, powering it into the first corner. Will it understeer?
No, it will not, and...
Oh, the tail's coming out.
Stig playing the wheel like a saxophone there. Chicago.
Now there is some understeer.
But he's sorted it out with a bootful of power. Coming up into Hammerhead.
This really will show up its chassis flaws, if there are any.
Yeah, look, he's watching the speed, but again, he's got it all sorted out like a Japanese lunatic.
Look at him. If New Stig keeps growing at this rate, he'll be 100 feet tall by Easter!
Follow Through - really getting the hammer down now.
Is he actually having to put opposite lock on there? I think he was.
Stig, though, not fazed even slightly. More tail kicking out there.
Second-to-last corner, beautifully handled,
and Gambon, sliding it through and across the line.
Now...we should explain,
we have tried the new Stig out in a range of cars
and his times are broadly similar to those set by Sacked Stig.
Yeah, we should also point out that the Atom V8 is within a shout of becoming the fastest ever car
round our track, which means, of course, beating the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport at 1:16.8.
Yep, and it did it -
I can scarcely believe this - in 1:15.1.
That is unbelievable.
What a car.
That is not bad, considering it was being driven by a Stig
that's only 34 days old.
Now, just before we do the news, we thought you might want to take a quick look at this.
It's the Jaguar CX75,
and it's kind of Jaguar's 75th birthday present to itself.
And, well, I mean, it is a bit of a looker.
And it's full of little references to great Jaguar cars of the past.
This fin refers back to the massive fin on top of the old D-type, and then the back has been styled
to have something of the old Jaguar XJ13, a one-off of the 1960s, about it.
But here's a thing. In a modern world, there's no denying, I think,
that is a thing of beauty to behold,
but that beauty is much more than skin-deep.
Absolutely. This is, in fact, an electric car.
There is an electric motor powering each wheel, but you don't have to plug it into the mains
to charge it up because if we look in the back, we see a pair of gas turbines, jet engines, if you like.
They can either generate electricity to recharge the batteries
and increase the range, or they can feed power directly to the motors in the wheels,
in which case this car develops 780 brake horsepower
and the other remarkable thing it has is a big spanner.
Hello! Yes, inside it's all very modern, very cool.
This mood lighting shows the driver which seat to sit in, I imagine,
and if you hit the buttons, you can scroll through different modes and if you put it in Track,
it'll dim all the lights so the driver can focus on driving.
It's got these great door handles that are like ejector seat levers and when you want to get comfortable,
you don't move your seat about, you move the instrument binnacle, the steering wheel and pedal box back
towards you, or forwards, to suit the driver.
Obviously in my case, it's going to be coming this way quite a lot.
Now Jaguar say this would do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and 205 mph, and the great thing
is that the gas turbines will run on pretty much any flammable liquid, so you could fuel it with petrol
or with diesel or, if you wanted to save yourself quite a bit of money, single malt Scotch whisky.
-Now there are just two problems, really, as I see it with the Jaguar.
One, it doesn't actually work and two, they'll never make it, but don't worry
because if you want to buy something very exciting, the Lancia Stratos is back.
-Here it is. Here it is.
-I know. It's one of the greatest cars ever made, the Stratos.
What they do to create this one - take a Ferrari 430, remove the hideous body...
-Oh, I'm sorry, James, I forgot you've got one.
-Anyway, they removed the foul, disgusting body...
-Yes, all right!
-..and fit that new one. I think that's fantastic.
-How much is it?
-Half a million quid.
If that's a bit rich, don't worry, because the Jensen Interceptor is back. Oh, yes.
APPLAUSE There's a car!
That genuinely is amazing. What you do is you take an old Jensen Interceptor to a factory
in Banbury, give the man there a cheque for £105,000 and in exchange,
he'll fit a Corvette engine, new brakes, new interior,
better rear suspension and you end up with that.
-So that's all new underneath?
-Yeah, it's basically a new car.
You'd actually be able to say to your wife, "Shall we take the Interceptor tonight, darling?"
You'd want to do that. I'd change my name to Captain Stingray if I...
-That is an amazing looking car.
-My grandfather used to build them.
-Oh, well, don't bother then.
Hey, now, there is a new Lamborghini on the way.
It's so secret and so new we don't even have a picture of it yet, but we can tell you
that it's the replacement for the Murcielago, and it's going to have a 700 horsepower V12.
I fear, though, it's going to be rather overshadowed by this.
Now this is a new American car and let me just give you the headlines, if I may.
So that's twice what you get from a Bugatti Veyron.
Top speed, 300 miles an hour.
0-60, 1.5 seconds and it holds the lap records, as we can see here,
-at the Nurburgring and the Virginia International Raceway.
-Hold on a second!
-0-60, 1.5 seconds?
-Why haven't we heard about this?
-I don't know.
Probably because the bloke who did it swallowed his tongue!
He's still stuck down the back of the driver's seat!
Oh, no, no! I apologise, I apologise! I hadn't read this thoroughly.
-Look. You look at this and go, "Those are the things, horsepower."
-It goes, "We will not quit until we
-It's just a wish-list?
-It's just a wish-list of things.
The biggest problem with this car, though, is its name.
-What? Is it called the Scrotum?
-It's called the Dagger.
-Well, that's all right.
-That's quite a good name.
-No! No, "dagger" like
a little piece of poo stuck in a sheep's anal shrubbery.
-That's a dagger.
-It's not a dagger.
No, that's a dingleberry you're thinking of.
It's not a dagger. Nobody's ever stood over a body and said, "What was the weapon?"
"I think he used a dingleberry from the state of the body."
-It's not in Cluedo.
-Certain words have two meanings.
-A dagger is not a dingleberry.
It's not. Lady Macbeth didn't say, "Is this a dingleberry I see before me?"
OK, it's a great name and if they can achieve all their goals, it'll be a fantastic car.
Right, that's the end of the news and now, moving on.
Yes, now, whilst we were off-air, unfortunately, we had a bit of an argument
because Jeremy decided that the best car in the world was the Skoda Yeti.
-Well, it is.
-Well, it isn't.
-I'm sorry, it isn't.
-Well, no. It maybe is if perhaps you're... HE CLEARS THROAT
..old enough to qualify for membership of SAGA, which you are.
He is, he is!
With age comes... Well, actually, on Countryfile comes the sack,
but with age on this programme comes wisdom.
And the wisdom that I now have has taught me that the Yeti
does every single thing better than every other car on the market.
Coming up now is a film which shall prove my point.
This is the car I'm talking about...
..the Yeti, 14 feet of Czech magnificence.
It's available with two or four-wheel drive,
petrol or diesel engines,
and lots of exciting buttons which do many things.
This model is a four-wheel drive, 1.8 litre Elegance,
which, at £22,000, is less expensive
than a 1.7 litre two-wheel drive Vauxhall Astra estate,
and not much more than a Focus.
There's more room in it than there is in a Focus. Look at the headroom.
You could have a massive Afro and not damage it at all.
But is it roomier than a £300,000 Maybach?
Well, this is a Maybach
and as you can see, it will take four people in sumptuous comfort.
The Yeti can also take four, but if you fold the rear drinks tray away
there's room for five on seats which slide forwards and backwards,
or fold down, roll over, or can be removed altogether to create a van.
The Yeti, then, is more practical than a Maybach,
but is it faster than an Italian supercar?
Well, to find out, we've come to the Donington motor-racing track
where the Yeti will have a one-lap race
against a Ferrari 308 GTS.
To ensure there's no bias, I shall be driving the Yeti with my fists of ham and my fingers of butter,
while the Ferrari will be driven by His Stigness.
Want a tip?
Bet on me.
The Ferrari a little quicker off the line. It does 0-60 in 6.7 seconds.
This is 8.7.
But that's not bad for a tall-riding van.
Getting its knee down a bit there in the corners, but nowhere near as much as you might expect.
Four-wheel drive system working now, sending the power to whichever wheel has the most grip.
Eventually, the Ferrari pulled out a bit of a lead,
but I've got a sneaking suspicion its lead is short-lived.
I was right.
In various places, Donington was being rebuilt,
so to protect its low nose and fragile fetlocks, the Ferrari had to slow right down,
whereas I did not.
Look at that! Come on! Go!
He's having to go round the outside.
The Skoda is in the lead.
Ah, and there we are.
Proof the Yeti is faster round Donington than a Ferrari 308.
But what about toughness? How well is the interior screwed together?
To find out, I'm going to throw this super-bouncy ball into the Yeti
and as it pings around, I'm going to invite this enormous, excitable dog
to run in there and retrieve it.
No, not the flies! Getting the flies won't damage the car in any way.
No, stop chasing flies! Here, look, look. Bouncy ball.
Ready? And retrieve!
It's OK. Luckily I have a backup dog.
Kind of like a mouse in there, really.
Yeah, it's like a mouse.
If I'm honest, this test hadn't been terribly informative, so I decided to line up another one.
As we can see, an enormous fire is raging out of control
and the fire brigade has arrived, but their route to the inferno
is blocked by the Skoda, so they're going to have to go through the car itself
with their boots and their hoses and their breathing apparatus.
I think if a Yeti can stand up to this,
it can certainly stand up to your children's Jammie Dodgers.
Go, go, go, men, quickly!
Go through there.
That fire could set fire to literally anything.
The whole of Derbyshire is at risk here, or Leicestershire, or wherever we are. It's at risk.
He's coming out of the window. His enormous boots...
After the terrifying fire had been brought under control,
we examined the car and found that not a single thing had broken or come off.
Onward, then, to the countryside where we find the Yeti
has reinforced underside panels
to protect vital components, such as the brake lines.
It also has ABS, EDC, EDB,
ASR, EDL, DSR, and crucially, ESBS.
In short, a lot of acronyms to make sure that it doesn't run away with you when you're going down a slope,
or that it doesn't roll backwards when you're attempting to do a hill start.
ENGINE STALLS, JEREMY LAUGHS
I meant to do that because now I can demonstrate the HBA. Ready?
Here we go.
I've got my foot on the clutch, not on the brake. Handbrake off
and it won't roll back.
That's... Oh, that's impressive.
And look at this, the sat nav is tracing my route,
so when I've had enough of driving around in the countryside,
I can follow the route back to where I started from.
That's clever. But what about comfort?
Well, to find out how well the Yeti absorbs the bumps and the bashes,
I've stolen an idea from another television programme.
What I'm going to do is drive around some countryside while the chap on the left over there
sits in the back and gives a tattoo to the chap on the right.
And I'm not talking about some holiday henna drawing
that he can rub off when he gets home,
I'm talking about a real tattoo.
Right. You may begin.
..in terms of pain, where are we?
-I'm on about a six out of 10 now.
-This is harder than I thought.
I do apologise.
Sorry. 'Let me remind you, Rob is getting a real tattoo here.
'This is not faked.'
That bit, you may have gone wrong there.
'Up front, I thought the Yeti was doing rather well.'
Slightly boggy bit here.
I reckon we can do brain surgery in the back of this car. It's so smooth.
I possibly agree with you.
Eventually, the tattoo was finished, so we pulled over to see what it looked like.
-Is that blood?
-Is it bleeding?
-Is it bleeding?
-Now, look at that.
-I think that's quite good.
-I think that's amazing!
It does look, not brilliant, but it's really not bad at all.
-Well done, mate.
-I've done worse.
Now, listen, Rob, I'm afraid we've got some bad news for you -
there is a second part to this experiment.
-Yeah, second part. What we're going to do now to demonstrate just how comfortable this is, is put
you in the back of another car and then do another clover leaf
on the other shoulder and then we'll see what that looks like.
You probably think this isn't too bad, yeah? At the moment.
It's all right at the moment.
What I'm going to do, is raise it up now into its off-road setting,
and that does have quite a profound affect on the, shall we say, ride quality.
Oh, jiggling, really quite badly.
Ooh, I'm sorry. I do apologise.
-There's a lot more pain involved in a rough ride like this, Rob, would you say that?
I would say definitely, yes.
Ah! I've stabbed meself!
It actually sounds like we're filming an episode of 24 in here.
-Does that really hurt?
Soon it was time to stop and analyse the results.
-How does it look?
So, what we've learned so far is that the Yeti is more comfortable
than a Range Rover, more practical than a Maybach,
faster than a Ferrari, cheaper than a Vauxhall Astra
and tougher on the inside, at least, than the fire brigade.
But, and this is crucial, a lot of people ask me this,
can you get Sienna Miller in the glove box?
Well, let's find out? Sienna, are you in there?
-You are. And are you comfortable?
Marvellous, good bye.
Good mark for the Yeti there.
But what about the air conditioning?
Rolls-Royce always used to say that the aircon they used had the cooling power of the 30 domestic fridges.
So can the Yeti beat that?
ICE-CREAM VAN TUNE PLAYS
To find out, I'm going to drive this car...
through that burning building...
while holding this ice-cream.
If it melts and I end up with sticky fingers, the aircon's no good.
900 degrees in here. Scientists would call that toasty.
And it is, I suppose.
You can roast a chicken at 180.
I've asked, on the dial here, for 18 degrees,
and if we look on this rubbish temperature gauge here, I don't know if you can see that, it's 18.7.
This is amazing.
Not a dribble.
I'm actually quite surprised!
I thought this would be more uncomfortable than it is.
What this car is, is the opposite of a pop tart.
Satisfied that I proved my point about the Yeti, I was going
to call it a day at this stage and head back to the studio.
But then, I had a thought.
You see, Roman Abramovich has probably
been watching this and thinking, "Yes, that's a remarkable car, but could I land my helicopter on it?"
Well, let's find out.
Now, I should stress, that we've not modified the structure
or the suspension or the roof of the car in any way,
we've simply added a 100-kilogram roof-rack and in a minute or so,
we're going to be trying to land
a 600-kilogram helicopter on top of it.
700 kilograms on the roof.
Don't look at the helicopter. Just look at the speed.
It was crucial that I kept the throttle pedal as steady as a rock.
Here he comes. Not that there's a car that's very quick to respond,
one twitch of your foot and that's disaster for the helicopter,
because that's very slow to respond.
I can feel the car being pushed down now by the blades.
Has he aborted?
A million things can go wrong with this.
And all of them end up with a fireball and me with no head on.
OK, let's have another go.
Here he comes.
I can hear it.
I don't know where it is.
'It was a lot worse for the pilot, though.'
He cannot see the car...
when he lands.
He has no reference points.
Is he down?
Oh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ease it down.
Not too sharply. I do not want...
a £150,000 helicopter jerking off
and landing on the bonnet.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
the Skoda Yeti.
-With a helicopter on the roof!
Now, hand on heart, tell me that you've seen a more complete car than this,
-because I haven't.
Sell your AMG Mercedes and buy one.
-You're not going to, are you?
You can't, because there's a waiting list.
Six-month waiting list for a Yeti.
And anyway, I don't want to talk to you two any more,
because it's now time to put a star in our reasonably priced car.
Now, my guest tonight is a comedian, who comes from the same place
that Cilla Black, Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul McCartney call home.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, John Bishop!
-How are you?
-Nice to meet you.
Have a seat.
A popular man. Must be a long time since you played in front of a crowd as small as this one.
Well, to be fair, it's not, because the last 12 months,
things have gone a little bit massive and a bit crazy,
but, I mean, literally, 18 months ago,
I was doing the Leicester Comedy Festival and 14 people turned up.
14 people! I actually bought a round of drinks for the audience!
And I said, "You're not going to believe this, but I'm on telly next week."
When they went, "No, you're not, mate."
I did the Michael McIntyre Roadshow and then Live at the Apollo, and things have spiralled from there,
but it's literally in a hair's breadth.
Are you doing the big stadium, the O2 comedy gigs?
I did Wembley. On this current tour, I do Wembley and we've just booked,
which is brilliant, we've just booked the Albert Hall.
I've never been to one of the stadium comedy, like the equivalent of Queen, We Will Rock You,
how do you hear a heckler, for example,
-if he's three and a half miles away at the back of what was the dome?
-They have to send an e-mail...
But I'm like you, I walk on thinking, "I can't believe this is working," but it's lovely.
You've been invited on Celebrity Mastermind.
-What did you choose as your subject?
When they phoned me up, I didn't want to do it, because I'm a bit cautious of that thing,
whatever celebrity is, so I didn't want to do it.
So they said..."It's all for charity, and it's a good thing to do."
I said, "OK, then." They said, "What's your specialist subject?"
So I said, "Can I have holidays I've been on?"
And they said, "Sorry, you can't have that." I said, "Why, is someone else doing it?"
So they said, "Pick something else."
And it was just one of those awful moments, when you hear yourself speak,
and you hear a voice, and you think, "That's me. I just said that."
And I heard my own voice say, "The Irish potato famine."
-My brain was going, "What did you say that for?!"
-Honestly, did you know anything about it?
I knew nothing about the Irish potato famine! Nothing!
I came last. What annoyed me was, I was on with the Irish comedian, Ed Byrne,
whose specialist subject was Star Trek. And I'm doing why his granddad had no tea!
I thought, "I know about Star Trek! Why didn't I do that?!"
Now, my kids, first alerted me to the presence of John Bishop.
-They said, "You've got to see this guy."
-He's in our living room!
-"He's in bed with Mum!"
-"What's he doing here?"
They said, "You've got to have a look at him," so you're dragged, and you go...on YouTube,
and I think, "There's no way that guy is going to be funny, because his teeth are too white."
Forgive me for saying this, but a good-looking chap such as yourself tends not to be funny.
You are funny!
Well, yeah. That says a lot. Thank you.
Thank you so much(!) I think, because I know,
-girls always say, "The thing we look for most of all is in a man is..."
-Sense of humour.
-A big what?
Yeah, I know, I got that as well, to be honest!
No, what? Sense of humour, yeah? It's not true, because whenever there's someone like you,
big teeth, "Look at my pecs," girls go for that and then
there's some poor bloke like Bill Bailey going, "I'm really funny."
And it doesn't work, because his hair's trying to escape.
So, do you see....?
-What made you think, "I need to be funny?"
-I don't know. I've got to be honest, this is...
This is one of those, I don't know any other bloke in here who has had another bloke,
particularly a famous bloke going, "You're a good-looking lad."
Particularly a man in a velvet jacket!
-It's a kind of undertone, you know what I mean.
-Switching to cars.
Reading up on your notes, I understand that, you say your dad invented the people carrier?
Yeah, he did. He doesn't get the credit he deserves.
My dad had a Ford Escort van, but obviously, four kids,
so it's difficult transporting kids in a van, so what he did, he cut the side panels out of the side,
and put glass in the van and then took the rear seat of a car like this,
and put that in the back, so me mum and dad would sit in the front,
and three of us were able to sit on the seat in the back of the van.
No windows, just sheets of glass on the side.
I mean, this was the '70s. There was no seat belts. If you fell out, it was your own fault.
I can remember being transported to school, when I was a kid, and it was just this.
"There's room for another one in here!" And it was a Moscovitch, I remember that.
It was a local newsagent who took me to school in a Russian car.
-No, no, my dad had a Moscovitch!
-Derek Atkins, he was called, he had a newsagent's in...
My dad's Derek Atkins! No!
No, my dad had a Russian Moscovitch! I was banned from it,
because I broke what I thought was the biggest technical advancement ever, which was the lighter.
Must have been about eight thinking, "That's not really hot,
"because I've seen him light his cigarette."
I burnt the end of me tongue and I remember me dad coming out and I was crying! And his lighter was broken.
-So you broke his lighter?
-I broke his lighter.
Bless. There we are, the Moscovitch, it sounds like a trip down Northern memory lane, this does.
So, anyway, look, you came here, obviously, to see how fast you could get around our track.
You're the first guest to be trained by the new Stig. Is he nice? Is he pleasant?
I don't know what to compare him to, but he was nice.
He's only a month old. Has he got manners?
What's odd about it, I was expecting to get him and he was to say,
"Yeah, I'm Kev," or something like that. Stig.
It's a proper secret. Do you put him in a box?
After what happened last time, does he get into a gimp box and go...
"No! You're not coming out! It's the job you signed up for!
"You live your dream, son!"
We're not teaching this one how to read and write.
Who would like to see John's lap? Anybody?
-Let's have a look.
Look at it, gleaming in the sunshine.
All right, come on, come on.
Come on, lad.
-Nice ensemble of sunglasses and visor there.
Now let's have a look at that line through there.
Yep, that's not looking too shabby.
Go on, son!
In there now, it's not too wide? No, that's nicely done.
You loving that, Stiggy boy?
You can take the man out of Liverpool...
Do you keep it between the lines here? Let's have a look, absolutely bang on.
It looks very nice going around there today.
Come on, lad, go for it.
-Flat out through here?
Good man. Flat out through the tyres as well?
-Let's have a look... Yes.
That's looking nice. Ooh, I say, that's fantastic!
Right, second-to-last corner, this is where most guests get it wrong.
And into Gambon...round there and there we are, across the line.
-I'm happy with that.
-You're happy with that?
They obviously didn't see the five that I wrote off beforehand.
So where do you think you came on our board?
Perfect day today, I have to say.
Who's up there? Tom Cruise...
Tom Cruise is the fastest.
-And then Cameron Diaz.
-I've always wanted to be on top of her, so I wouldn't mind.
If that could happen, that would be a dream come true, but...
-So, Cameron Diaz, to get on top of her, you'd have to go faster than 1:45.2.
-I can't see that.
You did it...
-CHEERING AND WOLF-WHISTLING
That's put an Englishman back on top.
Brilliant! CHEERING CONTINUES
-That's bizarrely fast.
-That is bizarrely fast.
-Now there's much to talk about there.
-I'm loving that!
Honestly, because that's so much faster than anybody else has ever driven that car round...
Tom Cruise, my arse! LAUGHTER
Days Of Thunder right here. This is really...
I mean, sporty? How... Where's it come from?
-No, honestly, I've not done anything and I'm not a mad car person, but I loved it.
-Well, you are!
Well, I am from now on, to be honest!
Realistically, where does a man from Liverpool learn to drive that fast
in somebody else's car?
That's just genetics, that, isn't it?
It is, you're genetically programmed. I mean, it really is an absolutely blitzing time.
That's it, give it all down to the new Stig.
And that's two lap records in one day, which is unbelievable.
Ladies and gentlemen, the fastest man we've ever had round our track, John Bishop.
I'm loving that!
-CHEERING DROWNS CONVERSATION
-You can't go round that fast!
Quite a time.
Now, now, I was accused recently of talking too often
and too enthusiastically about the Porsche 911.
In fact whenever I mention it now, Jeremy sticks his fingers in his ears and hums songs about Hitler.
And to make matters worse, the producers agree,
they say that the 911 is just a VW Beetle with a spoiler.
Well, I'd had enough and I decided to prove them all wrong.
I think the sports car that's changed and evolved the most over time is this.
If you know cars, I think I know what you'll be thinking. You'll be thinking,
"What nonsense! It's not changed one bit.
"The only thing to change in 1,000 years is the price."
But you're all wrong because the 911 is a long, long, long way from its earliest ancestors.
Of course, I admit that if you spool back through the 911's 70-year family tree, you do end up at the Beetle.
Which was, of course, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
I also admit that when it comes to looks, there hasn't been much of a revolution.
Very little has happened to the shape.
And of course the engine has remained stubbornly at the back.
But to say the current 911 is therefore just a glorified Beetle
One is a wretched, awful,
miserable, spluttering, puttering, slow, noisy,
ugly piece of hateful misery and the worst attempt
at a people's car the world has ever suffered, but from it evolved this,
the acknowledged finest driver's car and ultimate automotive precision tool that mankind has ever created.
And this is my point, the difference between these two
is like the difference between an ape and a brain surgeon,
or Jeremy and a brain surgeon.
Take the one we have here.
The 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.
Perfect day for a drop-top 911, this was a good call,
I just happened to be wearing the hat and coat anyway so I left them on.
This 911 costs £131,000, which is a lot.
But for that you get just about every conceivable gizmo it's possible for Porsche to cram into a 911 right now.
So it's got four-wheel drive,
it's got a seven-speed double-clutch flappy paddle gearbox.
It's got active engine mounts that are supposed to improve the handling.
It's got ceramic brakes. The engine, 3.8 litre flat six
has got twin variable geometry turbos and a top speed of 196 mph.
It isn't my favourite 911,
it's too complicated for my taste, and a bit cold.
And that's why I volunteered to get out of it and into the Beetle
for a drag race.
523 brake horsepower against 50. That was when it was new.
Two turbos versus four decades of decay.
OK, it's pretty certain the Beetle will lose, but by how much?
That is the cheap laugh...
the important anthropological point we're after here.
Three, two, one...
It's just... Yeah.
I thought at this point that my case was made.
But the producers insisted that with one tiny tweak, the Beetle
could be made to go just as fast as its turbocharged descendant.
So I was shipped out to a vast salt flat in South Africa...
..where another Porsche turbo convertible and another awful Beetle had been lined up.
Along with a man with a flag.
So here we are and I think I know where you think I think I know this is going.
You're thinking the Beetle now has a twin-turbo V8 engine in the back.
same miserable configuration as always.
No, the producers reckoned that all the Beetle would need to win
a drag race with the Porsche was a bit more gravity.
Let me explain.
The helicopter is going to suspend our Beetle
exactly a mile above the finish line here.
At the start of the race, the helicopter will release
the Beetle, and it'll begin its race towards the chequered flag.
At the same time, I'll release the Porsche...
from a mile away in this direction and the race will be on.
Best predictions at the moment, the Porsche will complete the mile in 37 seconds.
The Beetle, somewhere between 36 and 40 seconds.
The maths, which was done entirely by me and not at all by the Doctor of Aerodynamic and Automotive Sciences
at Loughborough University, state that this really should be very close indeed.
The Porsche can hit 62 mph in 3.7 seconds.
The one problem we do have is wind.
Anyway, take my word for it, it's going to be close.
It was time to take our positions.
I don't think I've ever been so worried about wind speeds before.
Just a five-knot breeze could alter where the Beetle will land by half a kilometre.
And that's slightly scary.
Hello, what's the latest wind speed?
'Wind speed, six knots.'
'We're just climbing to 4,040.'
Not exactly sure what use the crash helmet's going to be if...
you know, if, but it's a nice touch.
Soon the Beetle was hovering one mile above the finish line.
'Lining up for the drop.
'Three, two, one...'
Three seconds, I should be doing 60 by now, I'm at 45.
This surface does not react the same as tarmac.
Seven seconds in, he's doing 100 by now, I'm doing 75.
With the Porsche struggling to accelerate on the slippery salt flats,
the Beetle was romping into the lead.
Look at him tumble!
I'm doing 100 miles an hour, it's moving about on the salt, it's a terrible surface.
But the Porsche wasn't beaten yet because at 125 miles an hour,
the Beetle reached terminal velocity and couldn't fall any faster.
Whereas my speedo could keep climbing.
I've got to keep pushing through.
125 for me, we're matching speed.
He's rolling about all over the place!
Oh, God, I lost!
Not the Beetle!
Well, that's... My life is over.
On the plus side...
I think the Beetle looks in worse shape than the Porsche.
-I wanted to make it best of three.
-Never mind that. What we've learned from that film is that Porsche
over the years has spent millions and millions of Reichsmarks
developing active ceramic geometry turbos, OK?
And the finished product can be beaten by a Volkswagen Beetle that is propelled only by gravity.
-Well, there's an all-new 911 out later this year.
-It won't be new.
-I told you not to bring somebody from Liverpool on this show.
Oh, my God!
And on that bombshell, it is time to end.
-Thank you so much for watching, see you next week. Good night!
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