Top Gear Series 3

Top Gear: Series 3, Episode 8

  • Jeremy drives a Mercedes 280SL.
  • Richard road tests a Nissan Micra.
  • James drives an Aston Martin Lagonda.
  • Jeremy tests an Audi TT 3.2 quattro.
  • Jeremy & Richard play the Top Gear Generation Game.
  • Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Johnny Vegas.

Episode Guide

Review: Jeremy shows us how few cars can withstand the test of time, arguing that car design peaked in the ’60s. He reviews a ’60s Mercedes-Benz 280SL (W113) and expects to hate it, so that he can get rid of the idea of owning one. But it turns out that Mercs were built extremely well at the time, and they can be rebuilt cheaply if necessary. He recommends the buy to anyone who has an old-car fetish, like James and himself, also pointing out that it is better-made than any modern Mercedes-Benz.

Main review: Hammond compares a Nissan Micra to a Boeing 737 (BBJ-2). He claims that, at ₤9000 per hour, the jet isn’t very good value, particularly since you can get a loaded Micra for about the same price.

Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car: Comedian Johnny Vegas who does not have a driving license, comes in 1:58.6, beating Harry Enfield and Richard Whitely who both have driving licenses.

Review: James drives a 1970s Aston Martin Lagonda, saying it is crazy and bold but in a good way. He starts to recommend it because they have depreciated to nothingness, but then realises that the cost of running it, not to mention replacing the engine and electrics when they go wrong, would be prohibitive.

Crock Or Classic Wall: Richard & James discuss which cars are future classics and which are crocks. Unlike the cool wall, strict rules govern the Crock Or Classic Wall. Three criteria they look for are rare, interesting, and beautiful. A car must be at least two of the three to be placed on the “classic” side of the board. The Mazda MX-5 is neither rare or interesting enough to be a classic. It is therefore a crock. Despite jeers from the audience, James successfully argues that the Nissan Bluebird is a future classic. Richard counters with the rare, interesting, and beautiful Peugeot 405 MI16 – a future classic. Despite Jeremy’s protests from the audience, the Subaru Impreza turbo ends up in the “crock” category. The Ford Fiesta RS1800 is mentioned, but before an argument can be made, Jeremy walks out of the audience and immediately places it onto the “classic” side of the board. This prompts Richard to explain that Jeremy is obviously trying to ingratiate himself to the Ford Motor Company in the hopes of moving up the shortlist for the recently announced GT40. Richard moves the Fiesta over to the “crock” side of the board.

Preview: Jeremy showcases the new Aston Martin DB9 in the studio. He offers that it is an exception to his earlier claim that car design peaked in the ’60s. Unfortunately, because it is a pre-preduction model, they can’t drive it.

Review: Audi TT V6, for which Jeremy spends three hours dressing. The styling is perfect for the fashion-obsessed male, but it is not quick enough to keep you from being late. He says it is very similar to the old one, which he did not like. Some praise is reserved for the clever gearbox, but it isn’t enough to save the TT. Lap time of 1:32.7.

Challenge: In the “Top Gear Generation Game,” 5 of Richard Hammond’s modern cars versus 5 of Clarkson’s older cars in a 1/5 mile drag race; the old cars win 3-2. Golf GTIs and Toyota MR2s of old and new are challenged. The fabled Ford Escort RS Cosworth goes up against the new Ford Focus RS, and the Peugeot 205 GTI battles the Peugeot 206 GTI. After a tie in the first four contests, the Nissan 350Z is beaten by the twin-turbo Nissan 300ZX.

Stig Power Laps

Audi TT 3.2 quattro

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Johnny Vegas


10:23 – 11:05 – Air – Sexy Boy
11:08 – 11:22 – Julie London – Fly Me to the Moon
14:40 – 15:01 – Royksopp – Royksopp’s Night Out
15:12 – 16:20 – Royksopp – Royksopp’s Night Out
17:58 – 18:41 – Spiller – Groovejet
24:55 – 25:37 – The White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button
25:39 – 26:00 – Groove Armada – Dusk You & Me
26:01 – 26:17 – Morcheeba – Let Me See
26:18 – 26:31 – The White Stripes – In the Cold, Cold Night
28:04 – 28:20 – The White Stripes – In the Cold, Cold Night
37:20 – 38:44 – The Noveltones – Left Bank 2
33:50 – 34:55 – Pink Floyd – Breathe
40:31 – 40:57 – Boards of Canada – Music is Math
40:57 – 41:28 – Boards of Canada – The Beach at Redpoint
48:22 – 49:05 – 7 Hurtz – 3 Sisters


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