Like any new show, in its initial season, Top Gear had ups and downs. This actually made it a bit easier to pick out the best episode among the twelve original episodes. So which episode did it come down to? Well it had retirees, and a now discontinued convertible. That’s right, it’s episode three, featuring grannies doing donuts. Honestly, what could be better than that?
The episode begins with a look at the then new Mini Cooper and Clarkson comparing it to the Toyota Yaris Verso with which it defeats purely on the aspects of its drastically better styling.
The episode also included a bit of industry information from car designers who explain some automotive design theory which is actually quite interesting. They discuss classic design elements, new designs, changing regulations, and debate over the best looking car of all time. In addition, they go on a bit later with Clarkson attempting to draw a new car concept against the automotive designers which is as amusing to watch as it sounds.
It continues with Hammond showcasing in classic Top Gear elegance, the 1955 Citroen DS. The car, a beautiful, futuristic, classic, is beautiful to watch in action, and Hammond delivers his trademark explanation of the car making it especially enjoyable to watch.
About halfway through the episode, you get to the deliciously enjoyable center. The grannies doing donuts. After a bit of tea and cake, because of course there is, they are grannies after all, stunt driver Russ Swift teaches the ladies how to spin em’ and win em’ in a wonderful yellow Honda S2000. The segment is hilarious, fun, and a sure indicator of how much fun the Top Gear gang would continue to have into the future.
Clarkson continues on to take a look at the Aston Martin DB7, which he is of course a huge fan of. The segment of the car, being driven through English countryside to classical music, is a magical Top Gear film. Clarkson even goes so far as to say the car is one of the top 3 most beautiful creations made by man. Truly, quite a big compliment.
The episode ends with the Stig taking the Westfield XTR around the Top Gear Test Track. A crazy, formula inspired, street legal, road car, the car is an amazing track day machine. Hammond takes the car for a spin before the Stig, and it’s truly a petrol heads wet dream. Fast, exciting, lightweight, it’s fantastic. It also puts down a very respectable time around the track, one that is faster than the Pagani Zonda!
Last but certainly not least, actually, almost one of the biggest reasons it is the best episode of season one, Clarkson introduces us to the almighty catch phrase, “And on that bombshell…” Can you even imagine Top Gear without that fantastic line? I know I can’t.
So there you have it, the best episode of the inaugural season of Top Gear. While the show continues to get better and better, season one is truly special, and I absolutely enjoyed going back and watching it again.