He is still called “the Stig.” Of course, no one really knows who he is in real life, but all that may change if he gets his way. Apparently, Stiggy is working on an autobiography, which most likely will result in the reveal of the man behind the helmet. The problem here is that this has happened before. In 2003, Perry McCarthy revealed that he was the original, black-suited Stig, and was subsequently killed off from the program. If, in fact, the white Stig does go through with it and releases an autobiography that included human language, will he also be killed off of the show? Most probably yes. So why now? It all has to do with money. It seems that Stiggy does have a use for the green stuff, and doesn’t get paid enough of it. His flat fee does not have any riders for side profits from sales of his likeness (which would be huge) and so he is in a battle with the BBC to try and add more funds to his bank account. Because this is currently one of the most closely guarded secrets in all the world – there could be up to four separate Stigs – the BBC is trying to block the autobiography so as not to lose some of the appeal of the most watched motoring show on the planet. Will the actual person behind the mask be revealed? Only time will tell.
All we know is... he's called The Stig!
Posted in Top Gear
Tagged BBC, bbc top gear, drugs, James May, Jeremy Clarkson, lindsay lohan, money, perry mccarthy, Richard Hammond, sex, Stig, stiggy, The Stig, Top Gear, violence
A new, more sensible and grown up Top Gear premiered a few weeks ago. Because I don’t have the Internet at my place yet, I cannot get the episodes as they come steaming off the airwaves like a fresh pile of…. well, not crap, because they are better than that, but something that steams and forms piles… you can figure it out for yourself. Anywho, the first episode of the new series featured a Bentley, a new reasonably priced car and a car that loves to just roll over. The Bentley Continental Supersports is the latest of the Conti breed. It features a gigantic W12 engine making a fairly hairy-chested 621 horsepower and 590 ft lbs of torque. This may not seem like a whole lot to power a car that weighs as much as a bus or three, but, in fact, it does go from 0-60 in only 3.7 seconds! And, it will go on to a top speed of 200 and some miles per hour. It also features carbon ceramic brakes and an improved all wheel drive system that features a 40:60 power split. What this means is that this is one Bentley that doesn’t handle like a boat. It actually steers around corners as well as it wafts down the country lane. This is no simple feat, and I really like the car, but it costs waay too much and there are better cars out there that can do the same thing, and look better doing it (read Aston Martin). Then The Stig took it out for a lap and it actually performed fairly well for how big it is. It was about as fast as an original Koenigsegg, which is probably down to the ridiculous speed and ability that The Stig has more than the actual vehicle.
The next segment saw the boys welcome some new guests to try out their new reasonably priced car. If you didn’t know, the old Chevy Lacetti was killed off (by crushing it under a huge tower that was being toppled) and so they went out and chose a new reasonably priced car. I have to say that the choice of getting a Kia Cee’d is an inspired one. I actually don’t mind how it looks, and it is a departure from the normal 4 door car they have had in the past, because its a 5 door. So not only is it reasonably priced, but it will also haul all of your stuff and look ok doing it. Of course Clarkson hung out with the hot chick who showed up, while Hammond was forced to fend off a flamer who was probably about to set the ground he walked over on fire.
Then, James undertook a task wherein he drove to an active volcano in Iceland. This was before one of those same volcanoes shut down all of European air travel, but it was still something very cool. Using a modified Toyota from their trip to the North Pole, James took up the task of driving up to a live volcano and trying to scoop up some of the lava before being killed to death somehow. The task of actually getting to the mouth of the volcano looked like an adventure in itself and was probably more dangerous than actually being there. Of course, that’s before Jame’s tires started on fire… In the end, he got his new piece of earth before being incinerated.
Then, this new series of helpful and more stoic and classy Top Gear got down to business and let the viewers in on some useful car information. For instance, that the Reliant Robin is probably one of the most terrifying and dangerous cars on the road. This is because it was built with a few flaws. The first one was that it was built with three wheels. It was constructed this way because it could be classified as a motorcycle, and the original buyers didn’t have to get a full car license to drive it. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the wheel was in the back, but the genius designers decided that the wheel should be in the front of the car. This produced the horrific consequence of the car tipping over on its side whenever you took a turn at speed. And at speed means anything above about 15 miles per hour or so. In essence, it would be faster to bike somewhere than have to constantly think about where to crash your car next. The other flaw as that the engine was in the back, as were you, as was the rest of the weight. When you floored the throttle on the 850cc engine, the car could, and usually would, do a huge wheelie that couldn’t be controlled. You could be staring up at the wild blue yonder one minute, only to come crashing down, try to turn the car and flip it over the next. Thank goodness Clarkson had on his crash helmet and four-point racing harness, otherwise he could have been hurt. More Top Gear will come along in the following weeks, and I can only assume that they will be very quick weeks, as the series usually only last for seven episodes. But I will cover them all as I get them.
Posted in Cars, Top Gear
Tagged Aston Martin, Bentley, bentley continental, bentley continental supersports, carbon brakes, carbon ceramic brakes, chevy lacetti, iceland, iceland volcano, James May, Jeremy Clarkson, kia ceed, Koenigsegg, reliant, reliant robin, Richard Hammond, Stig, The Stig, Top Gear, Toyota, w12
This was found on the Top Gear blog via their Twitter page and I have to say that I find it amazing that this stuff can be done. Whoever was the first person to leave their camera lens open for a long time and run around with a source of light to create wire frames and words and pictures is a genius. Here is what one artist created. I believe I have all the vehicles correctly identified, but the artist obviously loves the work from the boys over in Woking at McLaren. I sort of find it odd that he left out any sort of Ferrari or Lamborghini, but its amazing nonetheless. Check out the light show below.
Mercedes McLaren SLR
Mercedes AMG SLS
Clarkson, May, Hammond and gWhiz
Pagani Zonda R
Absolutely spectacular don’t you think? And as a reminder, again, new Top Gear at the end of July!
Posted in Cars, Top Gear
Tagged AMG SLS, BMW Z4, electric cars, Ferrari, Ford Mustang, Golf GTi, GTi, Gwhiz, gwhiz electric car, James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Koenigsegg, Koenigsegg CCR, Koenigsegg CCX, Lamborghini, light art, McLaren F1, McLaren MP4-12C, McLaren SLR, Mercedes AMG SLS, Mercedes SLR, Mercedes SLS, Mini Cooper, MP4-12C, Mustang, Mustang GT, Pagani Zonda, Pagani Zonda R, Richard Hammond, SLR, SLS, Top Gear, Top Gear light art, top gear twitter, twitter, Volkswagen Golf GTi, Volkswagen Microbus, VW Golf, VW Microbus, Woking, Z4, Zonda
Top gear 14.7
The last episode of this series has now come and gone. And with it we learned about the new Lexus LFA, the BMW X6, the Vauxhall Insignia VRX as well as a musician called Seasick Steve.
As with most Top Gears, the main test was for a supercar. But this is not just any supercar. In fact, it was a test of the new Lexus LFA; the supercar from the automaker who knows nothing about them. The facts are these: it has a 553 horsepower V10, does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 202 mph. It is also made mostly of carbon fiber and the engine is a technological marvel. Not only is it as compact as a V8, it weighs about what a V6 would. This means that Lexus has figured out a way to improve performance while limiting weight and making a very exciting car in the process. That process, however, has its drawbacks. The major one is price. With this car being produced in numbers not exceeding 150 in total, the price is about $500,000+. This is way too much money for something even wearing a Ferrari or Lamborghini badge, let alone a Lexus one. But if you are serious about getting a car that is impeccably made, undeniably fast (having set the fastest wet lap ever around the Top Gear track) and will be ultra rare, then this is the car for you.
A car that should never be for anyone, as Jeremy Clarkson explained, is the BMW X6. Personally, I don’t understand this car, and neither does Clarkson. It is big, heavy, ugly, uncomfortable and thirsty. Oh yeah, and it costs a bunch of money and can only seat four people. There really isn’t a good reason for this vehicle to exist. If you are looking for a vehicle that can do both the on road and the off road respectably well, then go for the Range Rover. Hell, even and X5 will be better. The X6 is only for people who want to show off that they have a BMW badge and are good at wasting money. Avoid this land cow at all costs please.
The star of the day was a man named Seasick Steve. He is a phenomenon in Britain and plays Southern-style Blues. How he does it though is what is amazing. He plays by himself and uses a box as a drum and a three-stringed guitar to play his songs on. The stuff that comes out of his guitar is astounding to be honest and you should check him out if you haven’t ever heard of him. His lap time, though slow, was still respectable for someone who doesn’t normally drive on that side of the car and drove a wet lap. It was a 1:51 something, which was faster than Tom Jones in the dry… which he was damn happy with.
The final segment involved James driving around in the new Vauxhall Insignia VRX. The car has a great turbo V6 and four wheel drive that can propel it to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The car is actually a bargain for all the performance that you get from it stock and would be a good pick up if you were in the market for something a little outside of the box.
They also held their annual Top Gear award ceremony on this show and they could do an actual Car of the Decade. Their choice? None other than the Bugatti Veyron. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone who knows anything about cars though. There will probably never be anything quite like this ever again. Not only is the price astronomical and the power astounding, but the vehicle includes so much technical innovation that it is insane to even think that they were able to put it into production in the first place.
So there you have it. The final Top Gear of this series. Now everyone will just have to wait until the spring for the show to return. I can’t wait for them to finally drive the 458 Italia and all of the hot new cars that will be coming out next year. It should be another quality run that sees the boys get in a ton of trouble and put cars to the test.
Posted in Cars, Top Gear
Tagged 458 Italia, BMW X6, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari, Insignia VXR, James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Lamborghini, Lexus LFA, LFA, Richard Hammond, The Stig, Top Gear, Vauxhall, Vauxhall Insignia, Vauxhall Insignia VXR, X6
Who doesn’t enjoy a good road trip? I love them. And, as it turns out, so do the boys on Top Gear. They have been on road trips to the Arctic Circle, across the American South and even across Africa. This past week, they showed their latest trip, traversing through the Amazon rainforest, Andes Mountains and a desert in South America. The scenery was spectacular and the places that Clarkson, May and Hammond went were just as awe inspiring.
Frankly, I’m not up on my South American geography. If it doesn’t happen at the end of the F1 season in Brazil, then I don’t know if it really happens; or exists for that matter. But South America is so huge that there is more to the place than just a race. For starters, there is the Amazon rainforest and the Amazon River. As the show started, the boys were being rafted down the Amazon toward their drop off point. They then got off the boat and had to wait for their vehicles to arrive. These they bought off the Internet, so had never seen them in person. All were told to get four-wheel drive vehicles and so Hammond bought a Toyota FJ, James May got himself a little Suzuki SJ, while Clarkson went for something undeniable British and picked up a Range Rover. The vehicles then showed up on the shore next to them, where they found that May’s was a different color, Hammond’s didn’t start, and Clarkson’s had a different engine in it. They then took a bunch of time to get off the boat and made their way through the rainforest, and back toward civilization.
I will skip ahead a bit here and say that the boys had a big feat ahead of them to try and negotiate what is considered to be the most dangerous road in the world. It runs from La Paz toward the coast and is literally a one lane dirt track that is supposed to house two lanes of traffic. However, the dangerous part comes from the fact that the road has no guard rails and runs along the edge of a cliff that features shear cliffs that drop hundreds of feet to the ground below. If that weren’t bad enough, the road isn’t limited to just cars. Buses and large trucks frequent the road, and drive at incredible speeds. You know that Clarkson comes out the other side alive, but there is still a nail-bitingly tense moment in the show that really should be seen to be believed.
The boys then ventured to heights that they never imagined they would ever get to in their lives by trying to cross the Andes in their cars. However, as they got up into the 17,000 foot range, they found that their lungs, and their vehicle’s engines, began to not work. There was so little oxygen up at that height that they had to turn around before they all passed out from the lack of air. After chickening out and turning around, they kept heading toward Chile and the Pacific Ocean. On their way, they went through a desert where it has never rained and nothing, not even bacteria, can survive there. They also had to descend a huge mountain of sand that stood a couple of thousand feet high just to reach the end. However, Hammond jumped out of his vehicle and it ended up being destroyed. So James and Jeremy finished the journey and found that the Range Rover, considered to be probably the most unreliable car in the world, was actually the right vehicle for the job.
Posted in Cars, Top Gear
Tagged Amazon rainforest, Amazon River, Andes Mountains, Brazil, F1, James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Land Rover, Range Rover, Richard Hammond, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki SJ, Top Gear, Toyota FJ