Time for Top Gear team to stop vandalising classics

After watching three lovely classics destroyed in the name of entertainment, wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER says its time for Top Gear’s vandalism to stop.

C The remains of what were three great British cars complete their journey in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The remains of what were three great British cars complete their journey in the foothills of the Himalayas. Picture courtesy of the BBC.

IS it me? Or is anyone else fed up with the ridiculous antics of the trio of Top Gear presenters on their foreign travels.
Their road trip on motorbikes across Vietnam was spectacular and worth it if only to see Jeremy Clarkson fall off, but the fact that they destroyed a beautifully made wooden galleon in an attempt to prove that bikes are impractical did annoy me considerably. Somebody would have spent hours making that!
Then, there was the trip to Iraq last Christmas which was reasonably entertaining, especially when they eventually found baby Jesus in his cradle wearing a white racing suit and crash hat.
This year’s adventure though, left me so annoyed that I’ve felt compelled to have a rant. I’ve tried to resist, but I can’t!
They bought three beautiful cars in almost mint condition – James May turned up with a gorgeous Rolls-Royce which looked like it had just left the showroom with a fresh coat of polish. It was a proper car, everything worked, and it looked a million dollars. It proved itself to be a good runner too.
Clarkson had found himself a lovely Jaguar XJS, a limited edition, which again appeared to be in mint condition.
Finally, there was Richard Hammond, who had found a lovely Mini Cooper, one of the last of the original Minis to be sold, looking like it had just rolled out of the showroom. The very car my son would love to get his hands on.
Viewers were led to believe that they had spent up to £7,000 each on their cars, money from the BBC budget which comes from our ever-increasing licence fees, remember. And that was before they shipped them out, along with a sizeable production team, to India.
Instead of pounding around their test track, they took their cars to India, pretending to be on a “Trade Mission” to promote Great Britain.
Hanging banners out of a moving train was actually quite funny, if particularly dangerous, and watching them negotiate India’s hazardous roads was reasonably enlightening, but what followed was, quite frankly, appalling.
As the three buffoons proceeded to put on a party for Dehli’s great and good, I cringed as they just embarassed themselves and their country, playing instruments badly and singing out of tune. They drove a digger into the Rolls and then defaced it with model paint. And as for their attempts at making coronation chicken…
Worse was to come however, as the trio headed for the foothills of the Himalayas.
In preparation for the bad roads to come, they each set about destroying three perfectly good cars by adding ridiculous exhaust pipes after cutting a hole in the bonnet of the Jag, and fitting outsize nobbly off-road tyres, which hummed as they ground away at the remaining bodywork, much of which had already been hacked away by angle grinders.
The Mini came off best in the modifications, but was to suffer the worst fate of all, when it was used to try and winch the Rolls up a steep hill.
The entire front end of the Mini was pulled off the car by the weight of the Rolls and the power of the winch. It was nothing short of sheer vandalism.
These cars are all now sought after classics. Thousands of people would have given them good homes and cherished them for decades to come.
To see them destroyed in the name of “entertainment” isn’t remotely funny in my book. It’s sickening.
It’s a popular TV show, but this time the team have gone too far. It’s high time they turned their attentions back to some proper consumer issues and constructive motoring advice instead of going to great expense to embarrass themselves.
If Top Gear continues with these pointless and expensive trips that are irrelevant to their audience, they will soon find their viewers deserting them in droves – and I’ll be leading the way. After all, there are other genuine motoring programmes on the telly that are still worth watching. Like Fifth Gear!