From the Top Gear Team
In carry-on-up-the Top Gear, our presenters invested in three slices of excellence from the heyday of Britain's motor industry. Jeremy also drove Aston Martin's replacement for the mighty Vanquish, and Jennifer Saunders became a national treasure in a reasonably priced car.
Back in the 1970s when the UK had a motor industry consisting of more than just men in sheds building plastic sports cars, British Leyland ruled supreme. With just about every British car company under one, slightly wonky, blue banner, what could go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turned out.
What with endless governmental meddling, incompetent management and a workforce that was far happier holding a placard than a welding torch, BL managed to produce some spectacularly dreadful cars, before finally going belly up.
However, in a spirit of patriotic nostalgia, we gave the presenters some cash and told them to each go and buy one of Leyland's finest, then meet up for a number of challenges. Jeremy plumped for the Rover SD1, Britain's answer to the V8 muscle car. Richard chose the Triumph Dolomite Sprint, a sort of proto-hot hatch. And James went for the Princess, a car made famous by TV's Terry and June. Guess what - they were all rubbish.
Also in the show, Jeremy drove Aston Martin's new flagship, the DBS. Perhaps the 'S' stands for 'steroids', because in essence it's a fitter, harder, faster DB9 thanks to its tweaked engine, pumped-up bodywork and the inevitable use of lots of carbon fibre. But, as Clarkson advised, if you're after a fast and beautiful Aston Martin, just buy the prettier, cheaper DB9 instead.
And Britain's funniest woman became one of its fastest, as Jennifer Saunders stormed her way to the second spot on our lap board.
First shown on: 25/11/2007
- Jeremy Clarkson
- Richard Hammond
- James May
Available on: DVD or Video download
From suppliers: BBC Shop, iTunes