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The Top Gear Episode We Wish We Got To Watch: COTD

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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:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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:

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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!

(Topshot: BBC)

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ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
15 days ago

I had always hoped there would be a TG special where the trio came stateside and entered a 24 Hours of Lemons race. The episode where they drove in a 24-hour endurance race was entertaining; mix in some elements of the cheap car challenge and you’d have gold.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
15 days ago

The cheap car challenges genuinely felt the least scripted of their episodes.

The standouts for me were the “Budget Supercars”, “Budget Porsche”, and “Cheap Lorries” as fun mindless TV.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
15 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

The cheap supercars and Porsches challenges were great. My other favorites were the cheap police car challenge, the ode to British Leyland, and the Alfa Romeo challenge. “Alfa build a car to be as good as a car can be…briefly.”

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
15 days ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

I’d rank some of those up there with some of their best work, like the Vietnam Special, a they seem to be heck of a lot of fun had between them in those.

Later ones, like Eurocrash, seemed far too contrived whilst James’ vehicle too far off the pace (literally) to even seem like fun.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
15 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

The Vietnam Special may be my all time favorite TG episode. I modeled parts of my honeymoon off that episode.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

I modeled parts of my honeymoon off Apocalypse Now.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
14 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That must have been quite a honeymoon.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
14 days ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

The Horror…The Horror…

Autojunkie
Autojunkie
15 days ago

I highly recommend @tpircars on IG.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
15 days ago

James May is as far from a cheap bastard as anyone will ever get.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
15 days ago

But seemingly eclectic, and meticulous. Watching him on the “Reassembler” was nearly as soothing as watching Bob Ross paint some happy little clouds.

Reminds me that we need more “Oh Cook!”

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
15 days ago

A vacuum with an integrated radio you say? That’s a helluva great prize if I’ve ever heard of one!

Data
Data
15 days ago

But of course you never heard it over the sound of the vaccum.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
15 days ago

immediately reminded me of the Simpsons when Bart gifts Marge a frying pan with a radio on it and she instantly starts listening to it. lmao, always makes my brother and I laugh it’s so dumb.

Last edited 15 days ago by Stryker_T
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