One of the greatest parts of Top Gear, at least many years ago when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were producing some of the best automotive television, was whenever the trio did a cheap car challenge. The cars were always stupid and the laughter infectious. A cheap car challenge was a simple concept that the guys didn’t even invent, but they did make them look so much fun. Those challenges were so influential that YouTubers and bloggers have tried replicating the same formula a number of times.
Sadly, the best of those days are in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming. I’d love to do a cheap car challenge with the Autopian crew! Hi, I’m Danny Ganz, commenting on David’s $85 Jeep purchase, proposes an episode of Top Gear we’ll never get to watch:
Showing up with a utility trailer and asking a stranger to help load up your new car in the middle of the night would sound like a poorly staged final season Top Gear stunt if DT didn’t have such a long posting history of publicizing poor decisions like this one.
CLARKSON (voiceover): …however, when it came to bring his new purchase back to the studios, James May decided that $55 was far too much to part with.
ext. parking lot. HAMMOND and CLARKSON are bickering about their tow vehicles; a blue 1992 Dodge Ram pickup for HAMMOND and a silver 2000 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson for CLARKSON as MAY drives into the lot at the wheel of an off-white 1985 Jeep J10 pulling a U-Haul utility trailer.
HAMMOND and CLARKSON immediately stop talking and double over with laughter.
Today, Lewin wrote about the story of a woman who won a Dodge Viper on The Price Is Right. I highly recommend reading that story, but the short version is that Mary and her husband enjoyed the Viper for less than a year, sold the vehicle, then used the proceeds to adopt two children. I wonder how many times Vipers helped expand families rather than attempt to reduce them.
Robn offers another sweet game show story:
I got married in CA in 2002 and my extended family flew out for the occasion. One of the things we did to keep everyone busy was to take them all to a taping of TPIR. It was late October and 20 of us showed up with airbrushed t-shirts (bride, groom, best man, usher, etc.). After hours of waiting, and a round of interviews on the way in, the show began.
Immediately, my mom was called up for the first round of bidding. She won. Then she played her game. She won that too. And then she won her spin. OMG she is going to the showcase showdown. Unfortunately, she looked to me when the curtains rose to reveal a new 2002 Mustang, and I led her astray with a bid that was too high. (hey, I thought it was a GT.) But, she did take home a sweet collection of prizes, including 2 pairs of skis and snowboards, some new flatware, a vacuum with an integrated radio, and some sweet Hooker furniture consisting of a desk and a new couch.
Fast forward to a few months later. Dead of winter in Detroit. My dad gets a call out of the blue from a truck driver that says he has their couch. Hadn’t heard a thing about it since the taping back in October. Ahh the Price is Right couch has arrived. “Sure, I can leave work and meet you at home.” No dice. The trucker says he doesn’t deliver to residential and can only meet him at a place with an unloading dock. I’m not sure how many regular people have access to a loading dock at a moment’s notice, but he didn’t. Luckily, he did have a small Toyota Tacoma and the driver agreed to meet him in an industrial parking lot to drop it off. And drop it off he did. Left it right there. In the middle of February. In a snowstorm. In a K-Mart parking lot in Detroit. Thankfully my dad had a buddy come help him load it in the Taco and the rest is history. They still have that couch to this day. And I’m still married. I do wonder what happened to the other guy in the showcase showdown whose bid was so good that he won both showcases – Mustang included.
I never knew I would be so fascinated about how game shows impact lives. Have a great evening, everyone!