Top Gear: Series 1, Episode 1 (2002)
20 October 2002
Production began in mid-2002, with the broadcaster securing the right to use Dunsfold Aerodrome, an airport and business park in Waverley, Surrey, as the programme's fixed location .Note: First appearance of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, Jason Dawe and The Stig.
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car (Suzuki Liana)
Harry Enfield. Time 2:01.00
Episode Car Guide.
Citroën Berlingo Multispace
In the first episode of the relaunched Top Gear, Clarkson looks into the Citroën Berlingo Multispace which costs less than £9000. The Berlingo Multispace is based on the Berlingo van, with additional windows and rear seats fitted. Jeremy describes it as a “Curious looking thing” and immediately casts doubt over whether you’re actually getting value for money However Berlingo is described as a “must have” car for its price range and Jason Dawe recommends the petrol engine over the diesel.
Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3 and Lamborghini Murcielago.
The Pagani Zonda is compared to the Lamborghini Murcielago. Jeremy draws similarities between the Zonda and an F15 fighter – “both have glass bubble roofs at the front & a lot of engine behind, and both have styled exhaust outlets.” The noise from the Mercedes V12 with 555bhp and the lightness of the carbon fibre bodywork.
The Zonda’s 220mph top speed. Jeremy switches to the Lamborghini Murcielago and sees what’s what. As Audi now owns Lamborghini, Jeremy speaks of vastly increased drivability compared to Lamborghini’s of old – greater cabin space, a light clutch with smooth, easy gear changes, and a 6.2L V12 with 571bhp.
The Murcielago is pitched against the Zonda in a drag race and The Zonda is crowned “The new king of super cars”.
Hammond reviews the Mazda 6 is praised along with the quality interior, in both design & finish. Richard is impressed with the handling and claims it is exciting to drive – a shock he says, considering it’s a Mazda. On the downside, road and wind noise are evident, however when it comes to price it compares favourably to its rivals.Richard road tests the Mazda 6. He claims Mazda’s are “Good cars for shy exhibitionists” and that “You could drive one butt-naked through any major town in the world, and not an eye would be battered – They’re practically invisible.”
The presenters also see if its possible to be undetected by a speed camera by driving past it very fast, while back in the studio, they reveal the test track designed for them by Lotus, for both Power Laps by The Stig, and for new segment, "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", with Harry Enfield being the first celebrity to set a time in the segment's Suzuki Liana.
Next, Richard sets up a test to examine whether or not you can beat a speed camera by driving past at a massive amount of speed. A Honda Civic Type-R at 129mph and a Mercedes CL55 AMG at 148mph both triggered the first photo of the speed camera and failed to outrun the second confirmation photo. A final attempt in a TVR Tuscan S at over 170mph failed to trigger the camera at all – proving it can work, but that the speed required is too dangerous.
Richard Hammond enters and re-caps on the history of the Ford GT40 – conquering Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966, 1967, 1968 & 1969. Back in the studio, the Ford GT prototype is introduced. The specs of the car (5.4L V8, 500hp) are mentioned, along with the projected US$150,000 price and that “Basically, your going to have to know somebody at Ford” just to get one.
Jeremy talks about Fiat’s current financial problems and introduces the new Fiat Stilo estate. A car he says Fiat are banking on to save the entire company – and not just Fiat – but also Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati & Ferrari (all of which Fiat owns). The new Nissan Micra and the Smart Roadster are shown. Ferrari’s domination of Formula one is discussed and the fact that technology has taken over the sport, instead of pure driving skill – man & machine. The new Bentley Continental also gets a mention.
Next, Richard sets up a test to examine whether or not you can beat a speed camera by driving past at a massive amount of speed. A Honda Civic Type-R at 129 mph and a Mercedes CL55 AMG at 148 mph both triggered the first photo of the speed camera and failed to outrun the second confirmation photo. A final attempt in a TVR Tuscan S at over 170mph failed to trigger the camera at all – proving it can work, but that the speed required is too dangerous.
Jeremy talks to a chap called Jason Tailor about running diesel engined cars on vegetable oil. The process of straining the oil, adding a white spirit solvent and then letting it stand for a week is explained. A Volvo 740 diesel has it’s tank drained (verified) and then filled with 25L of the vegetable oil mixture. The car starts on the first attempt and is driven away.