Top Gear Nissan Amphibious
Top Gear ( Nissan Pickup Customised Amphibious ) 1996
The tenth series of Top Gear was broadcast between 7 October 2007 and 23 December 2007, containing 10 episodes. It was claimed that between the filming of the ninth and tenth series, rival motoring magazine Fifth Gear broke into the Top Gear premises and burnt down the Cool Wall. However, it was later revealed that the incident was a publicity stunt dreamed up between old friends Clarkson and Vicki Butler-Henderson. The opening episode of the series mentions the incident. The series was followed by four ‘Best Of Top Gear’ specials, charting the best moments from the series. The ‘Top Ground Gear Force’ special also aired as part of the series.
We all know that small cars are good for us. But so is cod liver oil. And jogging.
Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… That’s what gets you.
I’ve seen better looking gangrenous wounds than this. (Clarkson on the Porsche Cayenne)
(Referring to the Porsche Cayenne) 0-60 takes 5 and a half seconds…and about 17 gallons of fuel….
Now we’ve been told in this new series, we’ve got to feature more green cars. So here’s one. It’s really the greenest car we could find, really. (A bright green Lamborghini Murcielago)
Now we get quite a few complaints that we don’t feature enough affordable cars on the show, so we’re kicking off tonight with the cheapest Ferrari of them all. (a Ferrari F430)
A turbo, exhaust gasses go into the turbocharger and spin it, with a supercharger, air goes in,witchcraft happens and you go faster.
For the first two seasons, The Stig was Perry McCarthy, a former Formula One driver as well as a test driver for three F1 teams. A new Stig took over from McCarthy after the original Stig’s ‘demise’ at the beginning of Season 3.
On the 18 March 2006 the former Stig, Perry McCarthy, revealed that currently there is no one single test driver, but multiple test drivers who masquerade as the Stig; he said this when he appeared at a Palmer Sport activity day in Bedfordshire, UK. Rumours have it that one of the new Stigs is Damon Hill and occasionally Colin McRae. And in January 2006, the Daily Express claimed that the identity of The Stig is former Formula 1 driver Julian Bailey.
Challenge: The amphibious cars make a return as the team are challenged to drive improved amphibious vehicles from Sidcup to Dover, and then across the English Channel. Clarkson uses a used 1996 Nissan pick-up nicknamed the ‘Nissunk’ with a 225 hp Honda outboard motor, attaching two lightweight oil drums to act as buoyancy devices.
Hammond modifies a second 1981 Volkswagen Transporter (nicknamed the ‘Dampervan’) by using a fibreglass hull and adding sealant.
May uses his original 1962 Triumph Herald sailboat, adding a collapsible mast and an insert for a centreboard keel.
During the trip to Dover, Hammond and Clarkson’s cars begin to smoke as their foam insulation cause overheating, while May’s emits a buzzing sound and also starts to smoke. May is the first to launch his car, but the keel insert fails and the car sinks on its first attempt. Clarkson’s Nissan works well on the water, but can’t go faster than 20 knots despite Clarkson claiming that it could do 40 knots (as he claimed during the amphibious challenge the previous year). Although recovered and repaired, the Triumph suffers a broken mast on the second attempt and is no longer usable. Hammond’s new ‘Dampervan’ successfully floats, but the choppy waters eventually damage his steering on the first attempt and despite fitting a 2.3 hp outboard to the back, the Dampervan subsequently sinks during the next day’s attempt. All three eventually set off in Clarkson’s Nissan, attempting (and failing) to break Richard Branson’s previous record for crossing the Channel in an amphibious vehicle (Branson crossed the Channel using a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour 40 minutes and 6 seconds). They manage to get to France, albeit not Calais where they had planned, but Sangatte. Upon arriving, Clarkson declares, ‘The pick-up had landed.’
The show is known for criticizing various vehicle brands without getting into any issues with car companies. This is due to the fact that it is funded by the BBC instead of being sponsored by advertisers.
All three presenters of Top Gear have won Heat Magazine’s Weird Crush Of The Year. Richard Hammond (2006), James May (2007), Jeremy Clarkson (2008).
The famous last corner in the Top Gear (revamped version) track is called ‘Gambon corner’. It is named after actor Michael Gambon who drove a Suzuki Liana (as part of the ‘Reasonably priced car’ challenge) and nearly flipped over at the last corner. Since then, Jeremy Clarkson dubbed the last corner as ‘Gambon corner’.
In the newly revamped first season of Top Gear in 2002, Jason Dawe was the original third presenter. However in the second season, he was replaced by James May who has a different personality than the other two presenters.
A Boeing 747-200 which served with British Airways until 2002 as City of Birmingham, G-BDXJ, was purchased by Aces High Limited, a company specialising in supplying aircraft for television and film work, and transferred to Dunsfold. It was modified and used for filming for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. Some of the scenes set at Miami International Airport were filmed at Dunsfold. The aircraft has also appeared in the background of numerous Science in Action and Top Gear episodes and directly in an episode where it was towed by a JCB Fastrac tractor, and in many other programmes and commercials.
Jeremy Clarkson, who helped the original series reach its peak in the 1990s, along with producer Andy Wilman, successfully pitched a new format for Top Gear to the BBC, reversing a previous decision to cancel the programme in 2001. The new series was first broadcast in 2002. Instead of a stage or studio, Top Gear’s studio is located at the Dunsfold Aerodrome, an airport and business park in Waverley, Surrey. Top Gear uses a temporary racing circuit which was designed for the programme by Lotus and is laid out on parts of Dunsfold runways and taxiways. A large aircraft hangar is used for studio recording with a standing audience.
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