The Grand Tour Series 1

The Grand Tour: Series 1, Episode 11 – Italian Lessons

  • The Grand Tour tent is in Loch Ness, Scotland.
  • Richard power tests the Fiat Abarth 124 Spider at the Ebola Drome.
  • The boys head to France for a Cheap Car Challenge with three used Maseratis.


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Episode Guide

The tent is on the shore of Loch Ness. Hammond test drives the new Fiat Abarth 124 Spider at the Eboladrome.

To prove that a second-hand Maserati priced under £8,000 are a better buy than a Ford Focus, the presenters travel to Circuit de Croix-en-Ternois in France for a series of tests with Clarkson’s Biturbo S Coupé, Hammond’s 430 Saloon, and May’s Zagato Spyder. Because May injured his right arm prior to the challenge, he bought an automatic variant. The presenters then embark on a road trip through Northern France. Following some breakdowns on Clarkson’s side, the trio play on the beach before travelling to Honfleur, where they encounter extremely narrow roads on their way to their hotel.

The next morning, they race back to England via the Port of Le Havre, with the loser selling his Maserati. Clarkson’s Biturbo dies, but he continues the race with it on a tow truck. He reaches the ferry port, but discovers that his Biturbo fell off the tow truck while chasing Hammond. May launches his Spyder toward a boat and crashes in spectacular fashion.The presenters conclude that buying a second-hand Maserati will result in a 66% chance of it working.

For “Celebrity Brain Crash”, Chris Hoy rows toward the tent, but his boat hits an underwater mine. To fill in the time, Clarkson uses a Bulgarian man to demonstrate a new hands-free system for any car and a Thai woman as an inexpensive massaging back seat.

Eboladrome Lap Times

Fiat Abarth 124 Spider
1:33:7 (wet)


0:00:17 – The cars in the titles are an AC 3000ME, a Hillman Avenger Tiger, and a Hillman Super Minx.

0:01:24 – Body of water fact alert! Loch Ness is over 22 miles long, almost 2 miles wide at its widest point, and up to 744 feet deep. By volume, it’s the largest lake in the British Isles.

0:02:20 – Buick was founded by David Dunbar Buick who was born in Arbroath, Scotland in 1854.

0:02:24 – John Paul Jones, the ‘father of the American Navt’, was born in South Western Scotland in 1747.

0:06:37 – The Abarth 124 Spider has a 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine making 168 horsepower. It can go from 0-62 in 6.8 seconds and has a top speed of 143mph.

0:07:23 – Abarth was a sports car maker and tuning shop, founded in 1949. It was bought by Fiat in 1971 and these days is to Fiat what AMG are to Mercedes or the M Division is to BMW.

0:13:20 – Nerdery cheat note – The Barchetta was Fiat’s last two-seater sports car, made from 1995 until 2005. In Italian its name means ‘little boat’.

0:14:31 – Jeremy is referring to John Cobb who was killed in 1952 while attempting to set a new water speed record on Loch Ness in a jet powered speedboat.

0:15:28 – A car with an open front and a closed rear interior is called a coupe de ville, a town car or a sedanca. If you knew this, award yourself 20 nerd points.

0:21:00 – The race track in the Maserati film is Circuit de Croix-en-Ternois.

0:21:35 – Jeremy’s Maserati is a 1987 Biturbo S. It has a 2-litre, twin turbo V6 engine making 217 horsepower. When it was new, it could go from 0-62 in 5.7 seconds and had a top speed of 142mph.

0:21:54 – The Ford Cortina – a very boxy and boring British saloon car from the 1960s and ’70s. And a bit of the ’80s.

0:22:19 – Richard’s Maserati is a 1988 430. Which is basically a Biturbo. It has a 2.8-litre twin turbo V6 engine which originally produced 221 horsepower. In its day it could cover 0-62 in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 145mph.

0:23:38 – James’s Maserati is a 1989 Biturbo Zagato Spyder. It has the same 2.8-litre twin turbo V6 engine as Richard’s car and also makes 221 horsepower. However, thanks to its greater weight and automatic gearbox, it takes 6.4 seconds to go from 0-62 and has a top speed of 137mph.

0:23:47 – James May broke his arm after falling over, he was on the way back from the pub but he swears that had nothing to do with it.

0:24:32 – The Suzuki Celeryio has a 1-litre three cylinder engine making 67 horsepower. It has a top speed of 96mph and a 0-62 time of 13.5 seconds.

0:30:43 – Doncaster – a town in South Yorkshire, northern England, not known in the 1960s for its large population of Maseratis. Or indeed any Maseratis at all.

0:34:22 – Sir Chris Hoy – Olympic hold medal winning cyclist, racing driver, backwards rowing enthusiast.

0:38:52 – Massaging rear seats in the current BMW 7-series are a £895 option.

0:39:55 – Jeremy’s opening to part 2 of the Maserati film is a homage to the VW Golf GTI ‘Casino’ ad, first shown in the UK in 1987. Although the last line is a tribute to ’70s Brit sit-com Fawlty Towers. Mmm, references.

0:42:47 – The first written reference to Honfleur dates back to 1027, several years before the Maserati Biturbo was designed.

0:50:09 – “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” – Matthew 20:16. Another valuable lesson from Reverend James May.

0:52:10 – The crew car Jeremy uses as a brake is a Land Rover Discovery, the Grand Tour tracking car of choice thanks to its split tailgate which stops the expensive camera falling out. And also the cameraman.

0:54:45 – Jeremy’s small truck as a Renault Master dCi120. It has a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine making 118 horsepower.

0:57:58 – One of the seats from James’s Maserati was salvaged and now lives in the Grand Tour office as a stylish and slightly smelly easy chair.


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matt April 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm

The point is you have to know these cars to understand them. There’s far too much power for the rest of the car to handle and that is why they’re so intriguing. Pioneering technology of the time with massive performance and the servicing to go with all of that. People didn’t understand this sort of technology in a mass produced car. The ear;y ones were riddles with problems, the later version became the cars they should have been in the first place. Awesome. Anybody that wants to understand these cars watch Davide Cironi’s review on youtube.

Alex January 27, 2017 at 12:09 am

Those 30 years old biturbo also if in not in great shape from the start that proofed to be extremely strong and unbreakable after all the abuse they went through…..
A BMW m3 or a Mercedes 190 2..3 they probably would explode under this type of tritment.
Any how Jeremy can’t make up his mind on these cars since he is praising a 222 24v in this old top gear video..

Scooby252 January 21, 2017 at 10:29 pm

You could kinda tell what was going to happen at the end of the race because it was similar to when Jeremy tried to catch the ferry in that clio in Belfast on TG

the guy with no name January 24, 2017 at 6:13 am

Also when James died in Albania trying to catch the ferry after the bank robbery.


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