In the Grand Tour Season 1 Episode 3, “Opera, Arts and Donuts,” we have sensible James May and Jeremy Clarkson trying to have a regal grand tour in Italy while driving two British classics. Pitted against them is the insensible Richard Hammond in an American muscle car. The general plot line is that while James May in his Rolls Royce Dawn, and Jeremy Clarkson in his Aston Martin DB11, try to have a quiet and sophisticated tour of the Italian countryside and enjoy some amazing Italian culture, Richard Hammond in his Dodge Hellcat ruins everything by being as loud and obnoxious as a group of American sailors in a Mexican bar.
Richard Hammond’s “painting” from Episode 3 of the Grand Tour
While the skit is probably most famous for having inspired the name of our beloved show the Grand Tour, the two British cars used by James May and Jeremy Clarkson are really something quite special and deserved some great commentary. However, the running gag about Richard Hammond messing around really prevented us from learning about these two amazing cars.
If you haven’t seen Episode 3 of the Grand Tour Season 1 yet, you can check out the official trailer below:
First off, you can’t comment on an Aston Martin DB11 without mentioning its looks. So, let’s get that monkey off our back and just admit that it’s bite-the-back-of-your-hand-gorgeous! The DB11 is so good-looking that it even made Jeremy Clarkson’s brown, ahem… ‘Sunburst orange’ car look good. The handsome design of the DB11 is primarily due to the fine work of Marek Reichman; Aston Martin’s chief creative officer and head of design.
Aston Martin DB11 in Sunburst Orange
If you’re interested in the specifications of the fabulous DB11, it is powered by an all-new 5.2-litre (5204 cc) twin-turbo V12 engine, making it the first turbocharged series production Aston Martin in the history of the company. The engine produces 600 bhp and 516 lb. ft. of torque. This is coupled with the amazing, but now ubiquitous, 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox found in nearly every high-end vehicle on the market. How fast is this combination? The DB11 accelerates from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h).
No wonder Jeremy Clarkson said that the DB11 was still living in his head long after their grand tour of Italy had been completed.
James May in the Rolls Royce Dawn
James May, of course, loves a good Rolls Royce and apparently was not disappointed by the new Dawn. Even if it is based on a BMW 7 Series platform, it looks like a million bucks ($400,000.00 to be more precise) and will definitely turn a few heads.
The Rolls Royce Dawn has a direct-injection twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine that produces 563 bhp and torque of 605 lb. ft. Couple this with the same ubiquitous ZF 8-speed transmission from the DB11, and you get a limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h) and acceleration from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.9 seconds.
Here is a video review of the Rolls Royce Dawn by the good folks at Motor Trend in their show “Ignition”:
So what do you think folks, did Richard Hammond’s antics ruin our chance at learning about these two amazing cars? Or was the skit right in line with the typical shenanigans of the boys?
Keep driving my friends!
My thanks to Larry for helping with this article.