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Phantom-like Menace
11-22-2010, 02:54 AM
I don't know how many here watch the original British Top Gear, but I've loved the show since the first episode I watched. Clarkson, Hammond, and May are entertaining enough that even people who don't care about cars can find enjoyment in the zaniness.

Now we've got the American version.

Most of it was just okay. The presenters aren't as effortlessly funny as the originals. Commentary lacked the distinctively colorful style of Clarkson or the subtle humor of May. I'm sure it'll take them a while to figure out a style for these presenters, but I'm glad to see they seem to be aiming for the comically antagonistic relationship of the Brits.

Big Star in a Small Car was a little meh. I did like that they showed pictures of the cars the star previously owned. Their first star was Buzz Aldrin.

I really enjoyed their pitting the Dodge Viper SRT-10 against the AH-1 Cobra in a variation of the Lotus Exige versus AH-64 Apache segment from British Top Gear. The original British version involved the Exige attempting to keep an Apache from getting missile lock in the confines of a race track. The American version gave the Viper an entire city to elude the Cobra and allowed the driver three lives to try to make it back to the objective.

I'll keep watching. It was entertaining enough, and if nothing else, it's something to do between viewings of British Top Gear.

JediTricks
11-22-2010, 04:30 AM
I watched it, and it was PAINFUL. Everything that comes naturally to the original is forced here. Even the camera work feels like cheap cable TV fare rather than what looks so great on the real McCoy. And why is Adam Ferrara here? He's never mentioned being in any way interested in cars before, and he's so grating with his commentary here, it doesn't work for him. Their gushing over the cars is painful, even when they have something less than glowing it comes off as fawning somehow. The bit with Buzz Aldrin was super dry and their track is too convoluted to make it interesting, too many tight turns rather than broader turns of the British tracks used in the original. Oh man, and the boring fake Stig, c'mon!

The sad part is that I will still watch it because I am hungry for more Top Gear of any kind and the BBC puts out far too few episodes.

And for god's sake, don't let them say the show is brought to us in part by Mercedes Benz!



EDIT: Oh, there was 1 piece of information that stuck with me from this show, that Chrysler is being forced to put stability control on the next-gen Viper, that broke my heart to hear that the gov't is forcing stability control on all cars. Stupid nannycars, I like gizmos sometimes, but my car doesn't even have ABS. All these new nannycar gizmos are just going to create drivers who pay even less attention to the road.

LTBasker
11-22-2010, 05:28 AM
I fell asleep during the middle part of it, so I need to try to rewatch that at some point. I haven't been a fan of the original Top Gear for too long; a little over a year now, I think? I have watched through all the seasons since Clarkson relaunched the show, though.

Comparing this Top Gear to previous US car review shows I've tried to watch makes it leagues better than any of'em, even if just for the fact that they actually have the camera on another car moving with it. Comparing it to the original Top Gear, though... it leaves a ton to be desired. Most of all is simply their voices, they lack any sort of attempt at charisma during their reviews. Faust's review during the Dodge Viper review was meager and barely legible among any other noise that was accompanying it, and it lacked any sort of actual passion that these guys supposedly hold for the cars. Sure, they cheer and whatnot when CAR GO FAST, but what about admiring the actual details of the car and the workmanship? Or the history? It's really sad that the superior review for the Viper was done several seasons ago by Clarkson. Maybe they should get the Modern Marvels narrator to read the reviews...?

The camera work, while it is far better than any of the other US car review shows which generally have a cameraman watch the car go from one side of the screen to the other 50 times, was chaotic and obnoxious at some points. I appreciate they're trying to be as artistic (slightly) as the original Top Gear's, but it's more a lazy mimick than anything else. It's obvious that whoever handles photography, and/or the director, simply can't comprehend what the artistic camerawork brings to the table. It just was just forcibly flashy.

Other than the meak voiceover work, the only other complaint I have about the hosts is just that Faust's Viper review was so incredibly poor. I don't know if maybe it was, but some noteworthy skill in writing should have been a requisite for the hosts. I didn't expect anything on the level of Clarkson, May or Hammond who actually have backgrounds in journalism, but there should have been some writing background there. I'm going to assume Wood is the only one who may have any actual journalism experience for the Speed channel, but that's probably minimal at best. I don't really have any complaints about Rutledge or Ferrara, but nothing to praise either as nobody stood out with any sort of noteworthy attribute. Only thing to note is that Wood kind of looks like a Kevin Smith bobblehead, like someone took Smith's head and just plopped it on a random body. Very distracting. I was hoping Ferrara would be interesting at least, since I've really enjoyed him on Rescue Me, but it seems that he doesn't have much charisma outside of acting.

No idea about the Buzz Aldrin bit since I was asleep during that period... It was really sad, I actually fell asleep during the Cobra vs. Viper segment. Nickelodeon game shows were more exciting than that... I miss Wild & Crazy Kids.

I'll continue watching in hopes that it'll be refined as it goes along and to see more American cars, but not getting my hopes up. Although, I'm hoping to see Hammond be a guest at some point since he's the one most fond of American muscle cars out of the trio.

Phantom-like Menace
11-22-2010, 06:51 AM
I'll give them a pass on gushing over the cars a bit at least for this episode. They were fairly upfront about the Viper segment being a send off for the car, so I would have been surprised if they were critical at all. And as far as the Lamborghini segment went, they each were arguing the positives of the car they had selected against each other, so I wouldn't expect them to be too hard on the cars there. If they have that excuse to hide behind too often, though, I'd say they need to reformat their challenges.

I was trying to put my finger on what bothered me about the celebrity drive, and I think you pointed out what was nagging at me. You're right, I don't think the track is very interesting for viewers.

And on the subject of seeing Hammond appear, yes, my first line of thinking was that it would be cool to see crossovers sometime.

Edit: I forgot two things:

I was kind of annoyed they had the engine block under glass table set up from the British show. The Porsche challenge that gave the British show that table is probably my all time favorite Top Gear Challenge, and it seemed counterfeit to see it on this show for no reason. A minor niggle, but it bothered me.

As for the government forcing extra control on cars, I'm guessing you won't be able to turn it off like in some sports cars. I wonder if they'd be able to get around it if they had a street key and a race key like in the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302. You actually have to order the race key separately, but when you star the car with the race key, it's in a performance mode that shuts off all the stuff that drives for you. In fact, given that its the 2012 model, and that's when the new Viper should come out, I figure that might be how Ford will get around it.

Phantom-like Menace
11-29-2010, 02:14 AM
Still not wowed by anything here.

I did like watching how the Evo handled the snow. I also was quite entertained by the results of the drift competition, though I would have liked to see a little more complicated drifting from it. I was in a dark room with nothing to do but watch the television and still managed to zone out during the Aston Martin segment.

I just watched the first two episodes of the British Top Gear's current format. I managed to start my Top Gear experience some years back with May's audition in his Bentley. I'm not hugely entertained by the American presenters (though Foust certainly can drive), but they're all preferable, in my opinion of course, to the guy James May replaced on the British version (don't care to look up his name).

LTBasker
11-29-2010, 04:42 AM
Jason Dawe. And yeah, he didn't fit very well with Clarkson and Hammond, although Rutledge Wood kind of reminds me of him.

This episode seemed a little better, at the very least the camera work during the Aston review was far superior than any of the work in the first episode. The actual review was slightly better than the Viper's review, but it's still some pretty meak writing.

The dog's contribution to the set was pretty funny, probably the best part of the episode. Hopefully it's not an omen for the entire season, though.

JediTricks
11-30-2010, 04:34 PM
The camerawork IMO still feels lazy and basic-cable quality, although the editing is a little tighter trying to hide that. That is the second-biggest problem with the show. Watching the cars go around the track even with their Stig is so boring thanks to their crappy camerawork. Also, what the hell is with the ugly track they use? It's so sun-bleached from being a disused tarmac in the Mojave that it's horribly pitted and lumpy and bland, then they shoot it in the boringest of manners.

The first is that the writing is terrible and a bad fit to its boring hosts. They don't feel like they give 2 squirts about the larger view on cars. You watch Top Gear UK and they love supercars but they have so much experience that they can comfortably comment on any bad spots on a supercar and a second later compare it to a sub-$20k sport "saloon" that they're enthusiastic about. That's a combination of the hosts' natural affinity for ALL things automobile coupled with solid writing. It's totally lacking from TGUSA. There's no color, there's no passion for leisure driving, there's no interest in regular cars, and there's nobody presenting the material that's comfortable with the ideas. It ends up feeling like a car show you'd see on the Speed channel or Spike, this second episode dolls it up with cuter challenges but ultimately it's the same problems as the first episode.


I also zoned out a bit during the Aston Martin segment, they just went on and on without anything colorful or interesting to say or do. It was just "here's us going fast", and then a race where they proved that $60k extra can buy you a car that BARELY wins a race. "It feels like it's not powerful enough" and then, despite the V8 getting a slightly late start, it kept up with the V12 for 3/4s of the run! That was stupid to say it's not powerful enough and then have a race showing the opposite.


The blind guy doing the drift challenge (that had no drifting, btw, way to go TGUSA) felt too scripted, too cheap, and yet probably wasn't. They needed a different way to express what was going on I think, and something with less irresponsibility than having camera guys and the dog right next to the action. And Adam Ferrara blowing his burnout was pathetic, who knew he'd be the James May of the group?

Phantom-like Menace
12-01-2010, 01:40 AM
I'm curious--since ratings are a significant factor--if the reason for so much focus on supercars isn't just based on an attempt to make everything "awesome" right out of the gate. They may be more interested in doing "boring" cars after they get a little more established.

I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the moonshine run. That's going to be a very unique, very American challenge that could be a lot of fun and really show an original flare that--done right--should set the tone as a credit to its predecessor. I've also read somewhere the show will focus a little more on modifying cars eventually, though we haven't seen much of that yet.

I'd really like to see the hosts gel. If the show continues past the first season, I'd not be at all surprised to see at least one of the hosts leave. I think these guys--for one thing--try to be too cool. The UK hosts aren't cool. They're silly, and they don't care if they come off as silly. They let the cars be cool, and they're just there to big kids with cool toys. I also wish US Top Gear would do more with their Stig. UK Stig is a brilliant invention, just pure genious, who despite having no face and no voice, just exudes character. If they're going to do so little with US Stig, they should have just had Foust run the laps.

Phantom-like Menace
12-07-2010, 01:22 AM
I really get the impression they're trying to answer some of the problems the show has.

This most recent episode had parts that seemed pointedly aimed at increasing the interplay between the hosts. The big star in a small car segment seemed a little more interesting. Foust seemed quite unimpressed with the Mustang. I am a little surprised the Stig took nothing around the track.

The moonshine challenge was somewhat enjoyable, though not as much as I'd hoped. I got a couple of laughs out of the off road course, mostly a jar of shine hurtling into Foust's front seat and the complete destruction of every bottle in Ferrara's trunk. Some very small part of me found a very slight bit of amusement in the notion of Wood trying to dump the moonshine, though I'm not sure why Officer Stig drove a lap around the track (just to milk for time?). I would have preferred Foust had some kind of competition in that part of the challenge.

Ando
12-07-2010, 06:24 PM
I am a HUGE fan of the British Top Gear. I discovered it over the summer and my wife is hooked, too. We have seen most of the ones that BBCA has rerun since August and just watch the Bolivia Special last night. AMAZING stuff.

Having said that, I was excited to see that they (BBC and the Top Gear guys) were going to export the brand to the US and that it would be on History which (IMO) gives it a little bit of credibility as opposed to say... NBC?

I think the biggest issue for the new show from my perspective is the chemistry. That's the reason we fell in love with the British TG! It's not the cars (for me at least), but the films, the races, and the challenges.

We're 3 episodes in to new show and it IS getting better. The moonshine challenge was pretty good compared to the previous two episodes.

I think as the show goes on, the hosts will bond, but if they drop one of them, my money is Ruttlege (sorry buddy, you're funny, but you're not fitting in...). I think a good replacement would be Adam Carolla who was supposed to be on the show in the first place and tested well with people who saw the pilot. I think his crusty demeanor and dry sense of humor would work well for us who are Clarkson fans.

JediTricks
12-07-2010, 06:59 PM
This was a better episode, but not because of the hosts, they're still dry and dull. Adam Ferrara sat utterly silent during the playback of Ty Burrell's star lap, to the point of it being awkward. And the interplay between Foust and Wood is pale because they aren't vehement about their opinions, so anything they say to each other feels scripted and forced. And to not have the Stig take the Mustang Boss around the track was bullspit - although I saw that Boss at the LA Auto Show last month and in person it really is nothing special.

The challenge was alright but lacked some of the spontaneity of an original TG challenge, and Rutlidge breaking off the hood ornament came off jerky rather than funny. Hammond and Clarkson may drive into May's challenge cars while pulling into a stop, but they don't rip badging off, that's a line that shouldn't be crossed. The fact that they wouldn't get the Thunderbird or Caddy working for the final challenge was shameful, that should have been job one, otherwise it's not a challenge. Also, simply marking off wins rather than having real scores only highlights how stupid they think the audience is, I was quite curious to find out how much moonshine they each had left as part of the score. And it wasn't very informative, it was all pretty limited stuff that just about anybody would already be familiar with.

It's like this is Top Gear for morons, and I don't like the idea that they think an American audience isn't going to be with it.

Phantom-like Menace
12-08-2010, 02:29 AM
I'm actually more bored with Ferrara than Wood. He seems the odd man out where cars are concerned. He doesn't seem to be the most knowledgable about cars nor the most skillful at driving them. And with his being a comedian and actor, he's the one who's supposed to be engaging (arguably it's the only reason he's on the show), so he has even less of an excuse.


Also, simply marking off wins rather than having real scores only highlights how stupid they think the audience is, I was quite curious to find out how much moonshine they each had left as part of the score.

Maybe it's just how stupid a viewer I am, but outside of trying to collect stats across British, US, Russian, and Australian Top Gear (I include all versions for diversity) for some kind of Fantasy Top Gear Host Challenge League, I'm just not concerned whether it was win, loss, loss, or 1020, 850, -10; though I would point out negative scores are far funnier than mere losses. If I were too worried about it, I suppose I could work out a score system myself.

sith_killer_99
12-08-2010, 12:11 PM
I rather enjoyed Tanner Foust's review/challenge with the Evo X. :thumbsup:

I also enjoyed his performance during the "drift competition".

Yes there were some lame moments, there always are, but over all the show is doing better than it did in EP1.

JediTricks
12-08-2010, 05:21 PM
I'm actually more bored with Ferrara than Wood. He seems the odd man out where cars are concerned. He doesn't seem to be the most knowledgable about cars nor the most skillful at driving them. And with his being a comedian and actor, he's the one who's supposed to be engaging (arguably it's the only reason he's on the show), so he has even less of an excuse.All true, but watching Ferrara push that Caddy well past its limits to shave 30 seconds off the time of Tanner's offroad finish, having the guts to take multiple jumps with it and lack of knowledge to know better, that was a good reason why they have someone who is dissimilar to Foust and Wood. IMO, if Foust had trained Ferrara a little better about drifting, Adam would have fully whipped that Caddy 180 as well, and that would have been badass.



I rather enjoyed Tanner Foust's review/challenge with the Evo X. :thumbsup:

I also enjoyed his performance during the "drift competition".

Yes there were some lame moments, there always are, but over all the show is doing better than it did in EP1.That's an episode behind the one we're talking about. You miss last Sunday's?

Phantom-like Menace
12-13-2010, 11:39 PM
I have to say I mostly enjoyed the latest show. Foust's review of the Velociraptor was pretty cool. The challenge with the HALO jumper was okay and got really cool at the end when the HALO jumper started the last minute dive to the finish. The truck was pretty insane. I found the line about the Stig's having never seen a pick-up before amusing.

I've never been a fan of that style of Mercedes, so that whole segment was a little meh for me. I will say Ferrara didn't competely bore me. So it was basically entertaining, but even if I could drop the kind of money required to buy that car, I'd get something I was actually interested in.

I missed the actual interview portion with Kid Rock, but I watched his lap and figured missing the interview was no great loss.

The paintball challenge to replace the Hummer seemed kind of tacked on for time and was briefly set up in a very uninteresting way. It seemed kind of stupid and poorly shot (were they even shooting any of the guns other than the ones they had inside the cars--I couldn't tell). Maybe if they used brand new production vehicles that they legitimately felt could serves as military vehicles (SUVs most likely), it could have been interesting, but "look I purchased a bargain-basement used car and strapped pointless paintball guns to it" just didn't work for me.

If they had done something more interesting with the final segment, I would have really enjoyed this. The hosts seemed a bit more relaxed and everything else seemed considerably more put together this time out. I'd mostly say the show has continued to improve, but I'd still like to see more improvement.

As an aside, there were a couple of cuties in the audience.

Ando
12-14-2010, 10:41 AM
I *really* enjoyed the Ford (Veloci)Raptor F-150 review. Any truck that gets the driver ticketed and asked to leave town just "cause" is my kind of pickup.

I swore up and down that I wouldn't buy another pickup truck (or a Ford pickup) for a LONG time, but that Raptor was awesome. The exhaust note was delicious.

The paintball segment was a letdown. Too short and Tanner should have been there, too. The whole episode was unbalanced in my opinion and since it's still early in the run, they should all be doing segments like that together in order to bond and gel for the audience.

Phantom-like Menace
12-14-2010, 10:35 PM
I have to admit kind of wanting the Velociraptor too. I'm not a huge pick-up person--I've driven them and not been pleased--but that was severely cool.

Phantom-like Menace
12-20-2010, 03:29 AM
I think this most recent show was a little more balanced than the last one. It didn't have quite the high but didn't have near the low.

The challenge was nothing special, an almost exact redux of the British Leyland challenge from British Top Gear, only here done with out of production GM cars, not out of production British Leyland cars. However, points for originality for presenting a concept for what they wanted to see in a new Buick Roadmaster. I was quite entertained by mention of waterproofing, egg-resistant interior, and a snorkle.

Again, I found myself laughing at beverages hurtling through Foust's car. I got a pretty good laugh out of the drinks that immediately came off his dash and all over the car. I have to admit, though, I was pulling for the Olds.

Rather obvious lack of the Stig again. They mentioned the Z28 Camaro, even had a Camaro in the studio, and Stig didn't drive a lap.

My brother and I talked about Kid Rock's lap and how well he did. It's doubly impressive that on a wet track he only lost by part of a second to Hawk on a dry track.

Ando
12-20-2010, 12:58 PM
Last night's episode was my favorite so far. I finally was able to watch without comparing Wood, Tanner, and Adam to May, Clarkson, and Hammond.

I thoroughly enjoyed the GM challenge and seeing the Roadmaster (I hated this thing back in the day...) win fairly convincingly. The hosts seemed looser and more comfortable with themselves, their chosen vehicles, and each other.

They finally started bumping their cars into each other (one of my favorite hallmarks of TG:UK).

The lack of Stig doing a lap in a featured car was obvious, but not disappointing since I am a fan of the challenges and films more than the actual hard core car stuff.

This show is growing on me and last night was leaps and bounds over the first episode. The hosts are beginning to gel as a team and seeing them loosen up and tease and torment each other was a lot of fun.

I also would actually like to see their "Roadmaster 2011" concept brought to life, as I am a fan of the sport wagons of recent years like the Audi A3, Mazda Protege 5 (sad that they don't make this anymore, it was a good looking little wago), and the Dodge Magnum.

sith_killer_99
12-20-2010, 04:41 PM
That's an episode behind the one we're talking about. You miss last Sunday's?

I DVR, too many great shows to watch on Sundays, or at least there were, up until that episode. Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, The Walking Dead.

Anyway, I think I'm all caught up. I just watched the "Save GM" episode. Very entertaining, still not as good as the British version, but good fun none the less. :thumbsup:

JediTricks
12-20-2010, 09:01 PM
Watching that Fiero careen into the Cutlass was like watching someone back over the Mona Lisa. Why oh why couldn't it have been the Roadmaster that took the beating?!? That roadmaster was a hog, the reason it seats 8 is because it needs 2 extra guys to get out and help you into ANY parking space. It has all the sex appeal of Andy Rooney. And as someone who has driven a similar-year Olds 88, they undersold the floatiness and the seats being useless holding the passengers. The idea that they think THAT is the car of GM's future only shows how goofy their writers are.

sith_killer_99
12-20-2010, 09:42 PM
Watching that Fiero careen into the Cutlass was like watching someone back over the Mona Lisa. Why oh why couldn't it have been the Roadmaster that took the beating?!? That roadmaster was a hog, the reason it seats 8 is because it needs 2 extra guys to get out and help you into ANY parking space. It has all the sex appeal of Andy Rooney. And as someone who has driven a similar-year Olds 88, they undersold the floatiness and the seats being useless holding the passengers. The idea that they think THAT is the car of GM's future only shows how goofy their writers are.

Agreed, why would someone buy a Roadmaster nowadays, the Minivan meets all the requirements and is far superior.

My step-brother had a Fiero in High School. Chicks loved his car. :upset:

I wish they would go back to some of the old school (1970's) import designs or even some of the 90's import designs in terms of looks for small fuel efficient daily drivers.

JediTricks
12-20-2010, 10:39 PM
The roadmaster has a significantly stronger engine and probably better handling (if you can find a minivan that annoyingly GM "luxury suspension" style), it also I think gets a different tax classification. And it's a car, not a minivan, that right there is argument 1, I guess. I don't think anybody would be getting any action from a Roadmaster, but those are the arguments for it. Still, everybody's gone SUV and crossover crazy lately, those mostly do whatever is needed that a minivan couldn't here.

I like the Mazda mid-'90s design, sharp looks, light weight, good mileage, great handling, good storage. GM has nothing like that right now, most of their fleet is boring sedans, and guzzling trucks that the majority of buyers don't actually need. They have the Camaro and the Corvette but otherwise they are a massive snore... all of which suffer from plasticky interiors. Killing Pontiac the way they did took a lot of their more exciting design department out of their game - even if they had already dulled Pontiac's edge for a generation by then. But no more Solstice, no more Saturn Sky, no exciting Caddy (and judging from what I saw at the LA Auto Show this year, Cadillac is being managed into the ground as well), no "wow" Buicks.

In terms of cars, GM has the Camaro and Corvette under the Chevrolet brand. Othwerise, they have...

Chevy has the Cruze, Impala, and Malibu, all of which are boring and uninspiring and generic, and using names they clearly have no right to. They have the HHR which has never lived up to its potential. They're about to have the Volt, which looks like the Cruze, Impala, and Malibu, but is also a boring hybrid. They have the Aveo, which absolutely sucks and is the only mini-car in the US right now that looks disappointing.

Cadillac has the CTS, STS, and DTS, all of which are interchangable in styling, they're angular and boring to look at and in no way luxurious in appearance. They stopped making the XLR which could have been exciting and was exciting on paper but somehow came off slightly neutered. Then each of their main boringmobiles gets a "V" upgrade version which I hear are decent performers but inspire nobody.

And Buick, poor Buick, has the Regal, LaCrosse, and Lucerne. Buick has become the badge that is somehow in between Caddy and Chevy, upscale looks at middling quality. Who are these made for? Somewhat wealthy old people who are too put off by the looks of the current crop of Caddys but too tied to GM or not rich enough to buy something better. I gather the only reason the Buick badge still exists at GM is because the brand is popular in Asia. But in the US, Buick no longer makes cars for people, they seem to make cars outside all demographics.

GM cars have become generic sedans with nothing to say and too much plastic in the interiors. They're fleet cars all of them, aside from the Vette and Camaro there isn't an inspiring car in their midst, nobody is going to put posters up of their cars, nobody is going to dream about buying their cars, nobody is going to brag about owning them. We the American public own 60% of a company whose management seems to have no idea how to actually make and market cars anymore, only buy up other car companies and dissolve them. I mean, for god's sake, they killed Oldsmobile, a brand that had been around since the 19th century, and was doing the automobile assembly line since before Ford!

sith_killer_99
12-20-2010, 11:27 PM
I HATE SUV's.

I owned a minivan for several years, trust me they are superior to the old school boats. I've driven some of those boats, no road feel sloppy handling no thank you. In terms of power the 4.0 Grand Caravan can more than pull it's weight you can run a trailer hitch and pull whatever you need. Sliding side doors, smaller than a full size SUV, there is a reason they are popular they are the perfect road trip vehicle, better gas mileage than an SUV.

You failed to mention the Cobalt in GM's lineup. It fits the bill nicely and for the gear heads there is the turbo charged SS. Plus the Cobalt is available in 2 door or 4 door versions.

I personally do not like most of the GM cars, like you said, fleet cars all of them.

I rented an HHR while I was TDY to Washington State a couple months ago. It was a nightmare, horrible blind spots, no power, sloppy handling, no thanks.

If GM was smart they would take a page from Ford's playbook. Now there is a company that has stepped up their game, leather interior options, more powerful and fuel efficient engines, AWESOME, now if I could just convince them to bring the Focus RS to the states...I'll take one in green please. :D

In terms of the style of imports I like:

1970's
Datsun 510
Nissan 200SX
Toyota Celica (liftbacks RULED)

1990's
Toyota Celica All-Trac
Toyota Supra
Honda Del Sol
Mazda RX-7

There were some real gems!

IMO, outside the new pony cars, there is not a single current US car that really looks great IMO.

Phantom-like Menace
12-20-2010, 11:29 PM
Watching that Fiero careen into the Cutlass was like watching someone back over the Mona Lisa.

Did it really get damaged? I'm asking because I want to know and because I couldn't tell. It seemed to shrug it off, mostly I assume since the Fiero is so much plastic. I did very much wince. I was more upset when they put two holes in the top of it to fill it with water.

JediTricks
12-21-2010, 06:07 AM
I HATE SUV's.

I owned a minivan for several years, trust me they are superior to the old school boats. I've driven some of those boats, no road feel sloppy handling no thank you. In terms of power the 4.0 Grand Caravan can more than pull it's weight you can run a trailer hitch and pull whatever you need. Sliding side doors, smaller than a full size SUV, there is a reason they are popular they are the perfect road trip vehicle, better gas mileage than an SUV.Depends on the SUV, you can say "smaller than a full size SUV" but then we could get into smaller than full-size SUVs. Plus, potholes aren't a big deal with the higher road clearance, many have 4WD where only the most upscale minivans are, SUVs don't handle like a minivan, and there's all that bonus dignity from not being in a minivan. I'm sure if I need a taxi for me and 5 friends to the airport, a minivan would be fine, but day-to-day I'd take a car or SUV for sure over a minivan because they can do something other than cart a family to and from soccer practice and the store.



You failed to mention the Cobalt in GM's lineup. It fits the bill nicely and for the gear heads there is the turbo charged SS. Plus the Cobalt is available in 2 door or 4 door versions.And it ceased production in June, which is why I failed to mention it. I once rented a Cobalt to visit Tycho, it was nothing to get excited about. Squirrelly at speed, cheap plasticky interior, fairly unappealing to look at, smaller trunk than my sports car, a few big blind spots, and high trunk and fender lines for weaker rear visibility.



I personally do not like most of the GM cars, like you said, fleet cars all of them.

I rented an HHR while I was TDY to Washington State a couple months ago. It was a nightmare, horrible blind spots, no power, sloppy handling, no thanks.

If GM was smart they would take a page from Ford's playbook. Now there is a company that has stepped up their game, leather interior options, more powerful and fuel efficient engines, AWESOME, now if I could just convince them to bring the Focus RS to the states...I'll take one in green please. :DWhat amazes me is that GM can look at the Focus and think the Cobalt and Cruze can run with it. They lack vision, they lack the ability to make a car people WILL want and just don't know it yet. And since GM is designing cars from accountants ledgers, there's no money for quality interiors, and there's no money for retooling the factories to make better engines (which is fine since there's also nobody there who grasps how to MAKE one that way).


IMO, outside the new pony cars, there is not a single current US car that really looks great IMO.I was gonna call out the Charger and Challenger, but no pony cars, righto.

I kinda like the Ford Fiesta's return, but since it had already been running in the US as the Mazda 2 for a few years, I'm not sure it can count (though unlike other shared Mazda/Fords, the Fiesta actually has the better looks for once, though the name IMO makes it unbuyable). And what was Ford thinking with that new Focus? Ugh, way to kill that name. So Ford has 1 car I kinda like but Mazda already makes it slightly cheaper and better. I don't care for the Mustang all that much in person, there's a lot of 'em here and the more I see the new one, the more I think they neutered it (and it wasn't that great to begin with IMO).

GM I already covered their cars, and there's no SUV or truck they make that impresses me in the looks department... well, maybe the Avalanche just based on it being something different and forward-looking, but it's a pretty stupid vehicle really.

Chrysler has the 300, it's a good car for the money even if it's become a ghetto sled, I don't want to like it but I kinda do, even on looks. I've always had a thing for the Ram truck's looks post-1993, but it's not a vehicle I'd want. The Dodge Avenger I've seen look good, but not from the showroom, it needs aftermarket assistance.

Hell, the best-looking non-pony-car produced in the US may actually have to be the Tesla Roadster. It's either that or a Fiesta and I just can't bring myself to say that.

Wow, way to suck, major US auto manufacturers!



Did it really get damaged? I'm asking because I want to know and because I couldn't tell. It seemed to shrug it off, mostly I assume since the Fiero is so much plastic. I did very much wince. I was more upset when they put two holes in the top of it to fill it with water.Passenger rear quarterpanel got creamed, you can see it also rippled up into damage at the front quarterpanel, which on that car probably means chassis damage.

Phantom-like Menace
12-22-2010, 12:18 AM
And it ceased production in June, which is why I failed to mention it. I once rented a Cobalt to visit Tycho, it was nothing to get excited about. Squirrelly at speed, cheap plasticky interior, fairly unappealing to look at, smaller trunk than my sports car, a few big blind spots, and high trunk and fender lines for weaker rear visibility.

I regularly drive a base model Cobalt right now. I do very much wish it were the SS model. The weirdest thing about the base model as my experience has gone, is it's straight up scary in fairly normal turns. There's a turn into a Wal-Mart here from a turn lane that I whip my little brother's Hyundai Accent through. The Cobalt is generally a far more appealing ride (which isn't saying much for either car), but at that same turn in the Cobalt, even at lower speeds, I was hitting brake and praying. My other brother commented once that it almost feels like the car leans out of turns.


I was gonna call out the Charger and Challenger, but no pony cars, righto.

Sadly I can't make myself like the new Charger. I'm a big fan of the classic Charger from '68-'74 (not the biggest fan of '71-'74, but the front end just looks aggressive, and therefore kind of cool, to me). The new Charger . . . I just don't see the appeal. The new Challenger, though . . . out of the corner of my eye, if I'm not paying a lot of attention, I can mistake it for the classic version from most angles. Even when I doubletake and realize it's the new version, it still looks nice. I wish I saw more of them in the classic high impact colors, though. I want to see more Plum Crazy, Panther Pink, Sublime, and the like on the road.

I also liked the Road Runner concept car here (http://www.nextconceptcars.com/wp-content/2011-road-runner.jpg).


Passenger rear quarterpanel got creamed, you can see it also rippled up into damage at the front quarterpanel, which on that car probably means chassis damage.

Man, I was at work and distracted when I was watching it, but I was hoping it had taken it better.

I hate to say it, but I think GM needs to get on the classic styling bandwagon. Unoriginal? Maybe, but I love the late sixties, early seventies Coke-bottle styling. I suppose they're doing it to a degree with the new Camaro, but I seem to be the one guy who doesn't like them. With that upturned V-shaped front end it looks like it has a goofy smile to me. The Challenger looks really sharp. I haven't loved the look of any Mustang made since the '71 redesign, but the newest generation isn't too bad (and they've finally increased horsepower to more respectable levels). GM really needs to get a true heir to the old muscle cars on the road. The Impala is a front-wheeled shrug anymore (And why do I never see SS models?).

They should either redesign the Impala with any eye toward current design expectations or bring back the (in order of my preference) Chevelle, Nova, or Monte Carlo as true, modern muscle cars, not neutered, front-wheeled family sedans and fleet cars. I'm mostly picking on Chevy here, but I'm fine with revival of the 4-4-2 or GTO or any older car from GM's branches. I just don't want to see the Firebird brought back, not unless they promise not to make it look anything like the Camaro.

JediTricks
12-22-2010, 11:44 PM
I regularly drive a base model Cobalt right now. I do very much wish it were the SS model. The weirdest thing about the base model as my experience has gone, is it's straight up scary in fairly normal turns. There's a turn into a Wal-Mart here from a turn lane that I whip my little brother's Hyundai Accent through. The Cobalt is generally a far more appealing ride (which isn't saying much for either car), but at that same turn in the Cobalt, even at lower speeds, I was hitting brake and praying. My other brother commented once that it almost feels like the car leans out of turns.My condolences. I actually do have some non-negative things to say about the car, it actually was somewhat comfortable seating and not too bad with the control systems (such as they were on the budgety model they gave me). And... uh... it was cheap? That's about it tho'.

I hope you meant you were braking before the turn and not during. I would guess the weight balance is off, the base model sedan seems to run 60/40 front to back which shouldn't give you so poor of turning. Have you tried powering through similar, but more gentle, turns to see if the car is wallowing out or has some sort of drift in the rear end? The only fun stuff I did with the rental was gunning it up the street in a straight line and hitting a few rough patches at 25mph, but early on the freeway it gave me enough pause about its ability to turn that I declined to test that out.



Sadly I can't make myself like the new Charger. I'm a big fan of the classic Charger from '68-'74 (not the biggest fan of '71-'74, but the front end just looks aggressive, and therefore kind of cool, to me). The new Charger . . . I just don't see the appeal. The new Challenger, though . . . out of the corner of my eye, if I'm not paying a lot of attention, I can mistake it for the classic version from most angles. Even when I doubletake and realize it's the new version, it still looks nice. I wish I saw more of them in the classic high impact colors, though. I want to see more Plum Crazy, Panther Pink, Sublime, and the like on the road.

I also liked the Road Runner concept car here (http://www.nextconceptcars.com/wp-content/2011-road-runner.jpg).Hadn't seen that before, looks good. I like the Charger aside from its name, not because of it. I love the 2 eras you singled out (thanks largely to the General Lee :D), but the new Charger as a 4-door sedan looks alright separate from its muscle car claims, has decent specs for the money, and has a good interior.

I really like the Challenger except for 2 things, its bloated weight is psychotic; and the horrible rear end. I'm sorry, but that is just the worst finish to any of these retro muscle cars, especially the base model which is the saddest thing when you're behind it. I haven't seen any of those classic colors on the street which is odd.



Man, I was at work and distracted when I was watching it, but I was hoping it had taken it better.

I hate to say it, but I think GM needs to get on the classic styling bandwagon. Unoriginal? Maybe, but I love the late sixties, early seventies Coke-bottle styling. I suppose they're doing it to a degree with the new Camaro, but I seem to be the one guy who doesn't like them. With that upturned V-shaped front end it looks like it has a goofy smile to me. The Challenger looks really sharp. I haven't loved the look of any Mustang made since the '71 redesign, but the newest generation isn't too bad (and they've finally increased horsepower to more respectable levels). GM really needs to get a true heir to the old muscle cars on the road. The Impala is a front-wheeled shrug anymore (And why do I never see SS models?).

They should either redesign the Impala with any eye toward current design expectations or bring back the (in order of my preference) Chevelle, Nova, or Monte Carlo as true, modern muscle cars, not neutered, front-wheeled family sedans and fleet cars. I'm mostly picking on Chevy here, but I'm fine with revival of the 4-4-2 or GTO or any older car from GM's branches. I just don't want to see the Firebird brought back, not unless they promise not to make it look anything like the Camaro.I love the new Camaro, have really been into it since it was a concept car. But you're right, they have great names they aren't exploiting, and they don't know what "super sport" means anymore. And you're equally right that ALL of these retro cars really don't feel like they have anywhere to go. Have you seen the new Beetle, the 2012? Oh my god did they screw that up so bad!

Phantom-like Menace
12-23-2010, 02:56 AM
My condolences. I actually do have some non-negative things to say about the car, it actually was somewhat comfortable seating and not too bad with the control systems (such as they were on the budgety model they gave me). And... uh... it was cheap? That's about it tho'.

I don't hate it. It's just . . . what it is. It largely does what I need it to, which is get me to and from work five days a week.


I hope you meant you were braking before the turn and not during. I would guess the weight balance is off, the base model sedan seems to run 60/40 front to back which shouldn't give you so poor of turning. Have you tried powering through similar, but more gentle, turns to see if the car is wallowing out or has some sort of drift in the rear end? The only fun stuff I did with the rental was gunning it up the street in a straight line and hitting a few rough patches at 25mph, but early on the freeway it gave me enough pause about its ability to turn that I declined to test that out.

I broke before the turn of course, but as I began to feel a lot of understeer I gave it just enough brake to get some weight on the front tires, not even enough to appreciably affect speed. It's probably more my fault and the turn was outside the car's handling ability. I just feel like it shouldn't have been, especially as compared to a Hyundai Accent.


I like the Charger aside from its name, not because of it. I love the 2 eras you singled out (thanks largely to the General Lee :D), but the new Charger as a 4-door sedan looks alright separate from its muscle car claims, has decent specs for the money, and has a good interior.

I'll certainly admit I'm judging it on it's name. But if the car hadn't usurped the name right as other retro cars that I actually like came out, I wouldn't be talking about it at all. I'll certainly say I like it more than the old B-body Chargers after '74. Way more.


I haven't seen any of those classic colors on the street which is odd.

I've seen one new model Plum Crazy Challenger in person and that's it.


Have you seen the new Beetle, the 2012? Oh my god did they screw that up so bad!

I hadn't seen it until I just looked it up. I've never been a fan of the new Beetle. Too trendy. If I wanted a tiny, trendy throwback car, I'd get a Mini Cooper in a heartbeat. That, said, they can fairly well mess the Beetle up and I'll just shrug. However, I really like the balance Volkswagen struck between the old design and more modern aesthetics. You could just look at it, know it was a Beetle and know it was still something new. The 2012 model seems to have lost that balance in favor of modern aesthetics, and I'd be hard pressed to say you can look at it and know it's a Beetle. In that respect, I'll agree with you that they messed it up.

Phantom-like Menace
12-27-2010, 02:11 AM
I think my favorite part of the most recent show were some of the comments. When the answer to the question of who would want something as obnoxiously British as the Morgan was Simon Cowell, I got a good laugh. Simon Cowell is always a great punchline. I was also amused when Foust called Rutledge's boat a bedazzeled carrot. When Ferrara mentioned the forty-two bridges then asked if they were building another when he had to slow down, I laughed. Where does Foust get off calling Ferrara metrosexual?

When Michelle Roderiguez says something like, "There I go again," in the preview, all I could think was, "She got pulled over for DUI on the Top Gear racetrack?" I was, though, not too bored with her lap.

I really thought they were only going to have the Stig race the tractor. I was quite prepared to be annoyed when they finally had him take the Lotus out.

It's about time the car won one of the US challenges. This challenge, like many others, was basically taken from British Top Gear. The British version involved a race along the Riviera and was between a boat and a car (I don't remember much about either vehicle), but the US version added a seaplane.

JediTricks
12-31-2010, 05:54 PM
I don't hate it. It's just . . . what it is. It largely does what I need it to, which is get me to and from work five days a week.I hear ya.


I broke before the turn of course, but as I began to feel a lot of understeer I gave it just enough brake to get some weight on the front tires, not even enough to appreciably affect speed. It's probably more my fault and the turn was outside the car's handling ability. I just feel like it shouldn't have been, especially as compared to a Hyundai Accent.Sounds like your car turns like crap and you need to brake even more than you'd expect. Might it be your tires though? My last set didn't handle curves as well as my current set, though nowhere near as bad as what you're talking about. And yeah, if Hyundai Accent is a benchmark Chevy can't live up to, they need to pack it the F in. It's not like the Cobalt is marketed as a replacement for the Ferrari 599, it's meant for lower to middle class people to get their kids and groceries to and from the store.


I'll certainly admit I'm judging it on it's name. But if the car hadn't usurped the name right as other retro cars that I actually like came out, I wouldn't be talking about it at all. I'll certainly say I like it more than the old B-body Chargers after '74. Way more.When I look at the variety of 4-door sedans (or "saloon" as our british friends would say) that were on the market when the current Charger hit the market, it was clearly a standout. It took the Magnum's aggressive wagon styling and made it more sporty and aggressive yet removed the stigma of being a wagon. Had they not stuck the Charger name on it, I'd still be mentioning it since it's a rare island in a sea of boring modern US-made sedans (really, worldwide sedans have sucked, Toyota is bloated and boring too, Nissan only makes nice 2-door sedans, and I don't count anything German in this class of sedan).



I hadn't seen it until I just looked it up. I've never been a fan of the new Beetle. Too trendy. If I wanted a tiny, trendy throwback car, I'd get a Mini Cooper in a heartbeat. That, said, they can fairly well mess the Beetle up and I'll just shrug. However, I really like the balance Volkswagen struck between the old design and more modern aesthetics. You could just look at it, know it was a Beetle and know it was still something new. The 2012 model seems to have lost that balance in favor of modern aesthetics, and I'd be hard pressed to say you can look at it and know it's a Beetle. In that respect, I'll agree with you that they messed it up. The funny thing is, the 2012 Beetle throws out the retro-modern look in favor of trying to be more like... the Mini! It's a bad coupling, it genericizes their look while trying to take from another brand's retro, and it just comes up looking massaged in the wrong way.



I think my favorite part of the most recent show were some of the comments. When the answer to the question of who would want something as obnoxiously British as the Morgan was Simon Cowell, I got a good laugh. Simon Cowell is always a great punchline. I was also amused when Foust called Rutledge's boat a bedazzeled carrot. When Ferrara mentioned the forty-two bridges then asked if they were building another when he had to slow down, I laughed. Where does Foust get off calling Ferrara metrosexual?

When Michelle Roderiguez says something like, "There I go again," in the preview, all I could think was, "She got pulled over for DUI on the Top Gear racetrack?" I was, though, not too bored with her lap.

I really thought they were only going to have the Stig race the tractor. I was quite prepared to be annoyed when they finally had him take the Lotus out.

It's about time the car won one of the US challenges. This challenge, like many others, was basically taken from British Top Gear. The British version involved a race along the Riviera and was between a boat and a car (I don't remember much about either vehicle), but the US version added a seaplane.I thought the episode was extremely weak, like a big step back. The banter wasn't tight, they had some dead spots, the challenge felt forced at the end (I really don't think Adam won, I think they staged that), and Michelle Roderiguez seemed like she felt quite awkward about herself during the whole thing. Oh, and the music being generic because they couldn't afford licenses was obvious, and not having The Stig take the friggin' Morgan around the track was unbelievably cheap. That said, Adam did have slightly more to say during the Big Star Small Car drive finally, and he did get pulled over for speeding which is a sign that he actually is starting to get somewhere with the idea of being a car show host.

Boy do I dislike the Lotus Evora though, they had no clue how to frame its shape in the camera, instead showing it off as bloated and confused about its lines. And I was stunned to learn it weighs 3k lbs, that's more than MY car, hardly the svelte Lotus they started out as. I guess the dust-up at the LA Auto Show with Jalopnik was just icing on the cake with the new LINO - Lotus in name only.

Phantom-like Menace
12-31-2010, 11:52 PM
Sounds like your car turns like crap and you need to brake even more than you'd expect. Might it be your tires though?

Don't know. It's possible something isn't how it should be. I've never driven another Cobalt to compare it to.


I thought the episode was extremely weak, like a big step back.

I can agree with that.


Oh, and the music being generic because they couldn't afford licenses was obvious

The fake Miami Vice music was pretty laughable.


and not having The Stig take the friggin' Morgan around the track was unbelievably cheap.

Well, if what I remember being said is accurate, the only one in the US belongs to Simon Cowell. I wouldn't expect them to bring one to the US for the Stig to drive here, and by the time they drive it in Britain, they might as well just let British Top Gear take care of it. At least that's how I see it.

Phantom-like Menace
01-03-2011, 02:20 AM
Not much happening this recent time out.

I think the Honda CR-Z came off fairly well in the review despite Tanner and Ferrara not caring for it.

Not being a Toy Story fan, I largely forgot Tim Allen still qualifies as a star. My fault. I will allow that he is. Tim Allen didn't know Stig's name?

Ferrar's finding a joint in the ash tray was probably the best part of the episode.

The auction at the end was completely haphazard. If it had been run as a straight auction and made to seem a little more spontaneous, it could have had the effect of one of Clarkson's Hail Mary wins if succesful. As it was, aside from pointing out a somewhat attractive blonde, I'm not sure what the benefit was.

Hopefully the next episode will not be another step back. I'd like to see an entertaining road trip, something where the guys can get cars they like and just hit the road for three or four days. Hell, take advantage of realized Manifest Destiny like our forefathers intended (some decades before the car was invented): driving cool cars across the country.

JediTricks
01-04-2011, 05:58 PM
IMO, the CR-Z not having a back seat was just unacceptable, it's too big to be a 2-seater, and Tanner's right that it's a hybrid doing less than a 20-year-old original. The street battle felt faked too, so it ultimately did nothing to show us all that, and then they didn't have the Stig take it around the track.

Tim Allen was fairly entertaining, Rutledge sucked talking through the track footage in that.

The way they did the sales bit was thoughtless and made no sense to me. I did know all those areas though, pretty sure that is the place in Van Nuys where they bought the cars, and Cars 911 is basically the very last dealership on the Brand Boulevard of cars - I was actually looking for my own car in that footage since I'm down there enough.

sith_killer_99
01-04-2011, 06:14 PM
The CR-Z sucks. :Pirate:

Then again I am pretty much disappointed with most of the current vehicle designs on the market.

The only cars I find attractive right now are pretty much the retro cars, with a few exceptions.

I am actually looking forward to the new Fiat 500. :thumbsup:

The show is starting to grow on me, but it still feels a bit forced from time to time.

Rutledge sucked on the play by play, as JT noted. He should be banned from doing them in the future, let Tanner handle that stuff.

Speaking of Tanner, what is up with his mid-engine drive obsession? First he was all "Fiero, it's mid-engine", then he was all "This Porsche is short on power, but it's mid-engine" blah blah blah.

Phantom-like Menace
01-04-2011, 11:23 PM
Half of me almost wants to say they gave the CR-Z only two seats to force it to feel sportier. "It's a two seater, so it must be even sportier than I think, right?"

JediTricks
01-05-2011, 03:32 PM
Tanner is a drifter, I would think a balanced mid-engine would be a dream to someone who does that. Moving the weight ahead of the rear axle brings a lot of performance advantages, I gather (I've never driven one, my grandmother had a Lotus when I was a kid, but I never got to experience it actually... going. British cars in the '70s were notorious for repair needs). Mid-engine is a coveted design in sportscars in general.


The CR-Z seems to have rear seats in the European version, so I'm guessing Honda felt there was some concern about US market safety regs or something to that effect. The CR-Z is the only hybrid offered right now with a manual transmission, so maybe it's a marketing gimmick.

Phantom-like Menace
01-10-2011, 03:32 AM
Another shrug I suppose.

The appletini amused me.

The Stig raced three times: the Porsche, the BMW, and the Ferrari in a lap we didn't see.

I really don't care for Brett Michaels.

The laps seemed a little more interesting. Maybe it's just me, though.

Does anyone know anything about a possible second season? I had a pop up add during this show saying there was a new show next week. There's not a second season starting that quickly is there? I know it doesn't take much to begin production, but that seems a little odd.

Ando
01-10-2011, 12:06 PM
Does anyone know anything about a possible second season? I had a pop up add during this show saying there was a new show next week. There's not a second season starting that quickly is there? I know it doesn't take much to begin production, but that seems a little odd.

Last night's episode was number 8 of a 10 episode run. Next week's episode is (if I read the cable box descriptions right...) the last all new episode with the finale being a best of/clip show style episode. Hopefully there will be some new stuff in the episode, too.

Overall, this version has grown on me. As a I said a few posts back, I now watch without comparing to the UK version. I miss the UK version and can't wait for another series of the original, but genuinely enjoy the TG:USA show.

JediTricks
01-10-2011, 04:48 PM
"Shrug" is an excellent way to describe the feeling of watching last night's episode. There was a challenge that wasn't as dramatic or detailed as it should have been. There was Stig tests that weren't terribly exciting (and the likely best-looking one wasn't shown). There was an ok star-car bit. But all in all, it felt quite uninspired.

I noticed during the episode several times where the music was very reality-show quality to go with the camera work. There's just no zeal for what they're covering, it's another junky clunky show on a 3rd-rate basic cabler.

Check out this awesome review from well back in the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqtbaQL8K9Y
It's sad how neither the coverage of the car, nor the car itself, have any modern US-produced equivalents like that produced in the US today.

Phantom-like Menace
01-10-2011, 11:49 PM
In looking around for info to answer the question Ando answered (Thanks, Ando:thumbsup:), I went to the message board on History Channel's website. I saw at least one thread dedicated to getting rid of Rutledge. I saw at least one thread dedicated to getting rid of Tanner. I even saw at least a post--if not the begnning of a thread--for getting rid of Stig, because he's a poor driver. I even saw threads suggesting they get rid of everyone. But I didn't see any threads suggesting they get rid of Ferrara by himself. I'll allow he seems to be more popular than I think he should be, but I must be missing the "Get rid of Ferrara" thread.

I saw threads talking about Jay Leno and Adam Carolla. I'm aware of Leno's having been offered the hosting gig in at least one of the show's incarnations, and I'm aware of his reasons for declining. I suppose he could be okay and he certainly has passion for cars. Carolla I'm not as familiar with where car interest is concerned. Both of them, I think, have very unique styles that I'd worry would eclipse the other two hosts, and I'd be worried about a Jay Top Gear becoming Tonight Show with cars, and I'd be worried about Carolla Top Gear becoming Man Show with cars.

Apparently, Clarkson sent a message to US Top Gear, and the guys here braced for a sarcastic tongue lashing. Clarkson said he, Hammond, and May got together to watch an episode and were fairly happy with what they saw. I do hope we get something from them in the recap episode at least. Maybe it wouldn't be totally wasted to hear Clarkson give our guys some grief.


Last night's episode was number 8 of a 10 episode run. Next week's episode is (if I read the cable box descriptions right...) the last all new episode with the finale being a best of/clip show style episode. Hopefully there will be some new stuff in the episode, too.

Oh. Ferrara said something about it being the last of the season, and I wasn't seeing any information on future episodes. He must have just meant they're not planning any more Big Star in a Small Car for the season? I thought it was kind of weird they didn't sign off. We've had an odd list of "Big Stars." I've seen bigger American stars on British Top Gear.

Best of/clip show sounds like a bad idea. Most of their ideas come from British Top Gear, so they've got seasons worth of episodes largely written for them. They should really throw a little more production cost into a last episode that gives the presenters more time to get their bearings with each other. Nevermind a lot of what we've seen wasn't all that memorable.

Ando
01-11-2011, 10:57 AM
Oh. Ferrara said something about it being the last of the season, and I wasn't seeing any information on future episodes. He must have just meant they're not planning any more Big Star in a Small Car for the season? I thought it was kind of weird they didn't sign off. We've had an odd list of "Big Stars." I've seen bigger American stars on British Top Gear.

Best of/clip show sounds like a bad idea. Most of their ideas come from British Top Gear, so they've got seasons worth of episodes largely written for them. They should really throw a little more production cost into a last episode that gives the presenters more time to get their bearings with each other. Nevermind a lot of what we've seen wasn't all that memorable.

That same remark by Adam is what made my wife think it was the season finale. I was half paying attention when he said it, but I checked the future listings on the cable box and figured out that we have 2 more to go.

Is there anyone here that isn't going to keep watching after this season?

JediTricks
01-11-2011, 04:10 PM
Is the problem that America has lost its passion for driving? That there are a handful of enthusiasts, twice as many hooners, and then the majority who just view driving as only a means of getting from home to job? The enthusiasts only care about the best of the best, the hooners only care about the cheapest ways to get stupid performance, and the majority only care about where to put their sunglasses and cellphones and kids? Is that why American Top Gear isn't working, because it only espouses the viewpoints from the enthusiasts, and usually with the perspective of the hooners?

Anyway, I'll continue to watch next season (assuming there is one) mainly to support the IDEA of it. I am a fan of cars, not just the biggest or the fastest, but of the little cars and SUVs and everything in between. I can drool over the lines a Ferrari 458 Italia but still appreciate the little touches put on the Ford Fiesta meant to put a smile on the face of the masses forced to buy a budget car. So I'll stick with Top Gear US a little while longer, but it doesn't mean I have to pretend to love it.

Phantom-like Menace
01-12-2011, 02:00 AM
British Top Gear has a small amount of dedicated fans here in the US, basically a cult following. I'd say many aren't even necessarily car fans, just people who enjoy the very specific style and humor of the show. I showed an episode to a friend who doesn't care at all about cars, and she thought it was hilarious and quite entertaining. Honestly, I'm not the world's biggest car fan, and most of my interest in cars falls outside of what British Top Gear emphasizes, but I love the show and can spend hours watching it. Having to target a very specific market means a very specific formula, which means an altered formula, even slightly altered, already loses part of an already niche market.

I think I've mentioned that I read they want to do more with modding cars, since American audiences are more interested in that. I really wish they'd done that a bit more in this first season. Get those guys some project cars. Check in every few episodes and see how they're doing. I can watch Overhaulin' all day, and I don't even like Chip Foose's usual style. I always feel he goes too far in changing the cars. But it's cool to see what goes into it. Tuner cars, restorations, I'd love to see that.

Also, the show just doesn't feel as sprawling as British Top Gear. Can you even kind of picture US Top Gear's presenters motorcycling through Vietnam? Driving to the North Pole? I don't know if British Top Gear has more funding than US Top Gear, but the funny thing I think, is that like I said earlier, we have this huge country for them to take advantage of. Drive cross country for a few days. Visit Alaska. Drive around the Big Island of Hawaii. This is the History Channel, so drive the Oregon Trail, take Lewis and Clarke's trail through the west.

Phantom-like Menace
01-17-2011, 02:59 AM
Visit Alaska.

Funny that they did just that. So this episode was basically the first US Top Gear Special. I thought it was okay.

I've been to Alaska during the Summer, and I have to say it's unnerving to have that much sun all day. My first consideration would have been to block as much light as I slept as possible.

I'm curious if they were specifically thinking of the indestructible Hillux of British Top Gear and if they were thinking of the American motorcycle design from the British Top Gear Vietnam Special with the idea of it following them to become the ride of whoever doesn't make it.

I did have to laugh at the Japanese headband Adam was wearing after he had to drive the Toyota.

Well, that's basically it I guess. I'm still hoping Clarkson, Hammond, and May check in to give their regards in the recap episode. Now I'm just curious how long we have to wait for any possible second season.

Ando
01-17-2011, 10:43 AM
This was a GREAT episode. I really enjoyed seeing these guys do a special and I enjoyed seeing an all American special. 3 trucks from the Big 3 in Alaska.

I am looking forward to next week's Best Of episode as they advertised it as a "behind the scenes" look and I am curious if it will off any interesting insight into the season.

Overall, I have grown to love TG:USA and the hosts themselves have improved over the run of the season. I would be very disappointed if the show doesn't come back or gets a major tweaking at this point. I said in the past that Ruttledge would be my first pick as who to replace, but I think he's probably grown on me the most, so I hope they keep the team intact, as their chemistry and camaraderie can only improve over the years.

Phantom-like Menace
01-17-2011, 11:40 AM
I've read where bloopers will be involved in this final show of the season.

JediTricks
01-18-2011, 04:49 PM
The Alaska Truck episode felt very small to me, like they spent a few hours on the trail and shot some material (and they are full of crap claiming it was virgin wilderness when you can see cut trails under their tires every step of the way), but didn't spend 3 days together in an adventure. There was a lack of sprawling odyssey here that TGUK specials always enjoy. There was less to do, and they made less use of what they had. And the "sight unseen" truck thing was bogus when someone installed matching rollcages and racing seats in each truck (except the Hilux, which had dual snorkels so it was already built for the purpose of doing crazier stuff than anything these 3 did). There were some moments, and I did enjoy watching Tanner take down Rutlidge's cabin (how hard would it have been to bolt that down?), but this felt like a pale imitation rather than doing its own thing. Also, as a former boy scout, I found it distasteful of them to just push their dead trucks off the trail, that was bad form.

I did laugh when Tanner's truck wasn't a diesel, that was a huge burn. The idea that his turd of a Chevy would beat a Hilux though, that's crap in a sack. I really thought the Ford could have done it, with a more-experienced driver, but Adam was trying to be Clarkson with that powering over rocks, so I wasn't surprised he sheered off the driveshaft (though I was surprised it wasn't a 4wd truck).

Ando
01-18-2011, 05:10 PM
And the "sight unseen" truck thing was bogus when someone installed matching rollcages and racing seats in each truck (except the Hilux, which had dual snorkels so it was already built for the purpose of doing crazier stuff than anything these 3 did).

Also, as a former boy scout, I found it distasteful of them to just push their dead trucks off the trail, that was bad form.

I really thought the Ford could have done it, with a more-experienced driver, but Adam was trying to be Clarkson with that powering over rocks, so I wasn't surprised he sheered off the driveshaft (though I was surprised it wasn't a 4wd truck).

- Maybe they purchased them over the phone/online, and the producers paid for them in person and then outfitted them with safety equipment before Adam, Ruttledge, and Tanner got to Alaska?

- That bugged me, too. But there's lots of stuff going on behind the camera, so the producers *probably* called in somebody for cleanup. I am making a huge assumption here, but since they're representing History (channel), then they probably can't leave their garbage on the ground for too long after the camera's been turned off.

- This was one instance when I compared the two shows. In the TGUK Bolivia special, Hammond had AWFUL luck with his Toyota Land Cruiser and at the very end, he converted it to FWD when he lost some linkage. THAT was amazing TV when he and May did that, and it bugged me that Adam just kinda shrugged and they pushed it off the trail (in comparison).

JediTricks
01-18-2011, 06:26 PM
- Maybe they purchased them over the phone/online, and the producers paid for them in person and then outfitted them with safety equipment before Adam, Ruttledge, and Tanner got to Alaska?Definitely that's the case, but it means that when they arrived, they could have been tuned up, fixed up, we don't know what was done to them. It sacrifices the integrity of the claim, and for no reason, had they not played up the idea that these were straight up shipped out never touched by the team, it would be easy to get past. (I'll avoid comparing to TGUK where they simply don't do that, or hide it waaaay better if they do.) Or they could have simply put the asterisk on it by explaining that the producers added the rollcages and seats for safety (and if they had more personality, then spit at the idea :D).


- That bugged me, too. But there's lots of stuff going on behind the camera, so the producers *probably* called in somebody for cleanup. I am making a huge assumption here, but since they're representing History (channel), then they probably can't leave their garbage on the ground for too long after the camera's been turned off.Perhaps, but I've seen vehicles abandoned in the wild a lot, and if they were as far off the map as they claimed, it'd be quite an expense to extricate them. At the very least, it's another area where a voiceover saying as much would have helped, or they could have just left that aspect out - making TV is a messy business, we'd rather not have to see what goes into the sausage to enjoy it.


- This was one instance when I compared the two shows. In the TGUK Bolivia special, Hammond had AWFUL luck with his Toyota Land Cruiser and at the very end, he converted it to FWD when he lost some linkage. THAT was amazing TV when he and May did that, and it bugged me that Adam just kinda shrugged and they pushed it off the trail (in comparison).Exactly. I've known guys who have had to do that on the trail, they drive home with their driveshafts in the back seat. The TGUK guys seem to know things about things, their knowledge isn't limited to their precise specialty on the show, and they study up on where they're going and what they might need to know when they get there, while the TGUS gang seem like stereotypical Ugly Americans with their lazy, disposable-truck actions.

Ando
01-18-2011, 06:44 PM
Next week's season finale is going to be a best of and supposedly behind the scenes look at the show.

Hopefully they will answer a few of these questions.

Phantom-like Menace
01-24-2011, 06:21 AM
So I was wondering after such a short run how much this would feel like we're retreading what it basically felt like we'd just watched. Honestly, I got the feeling within this very installment that by the end of it we'd retread material we'd covered in the first part of the hour. There was so little stuff that I wonder how much pressure (either from the producers or from themselves) the hosts were under to pick "favorites" that covered a wider selection than they would have otherwise.

Edit: I think it would have worked better--if they just had to do a recap episode--if they'd gone episode by episode and gave their thoughts.


(and they are full of crap claiming it was virgin wilderness when you can see cut trails under their tires every step of the way)

I would be more inclined to attribute it to sloppy use of language. Like maybe they meant simply to imply the area was remote but instead used language implying no one had ever been there.

JediTricks
02-11-2011, 02:29 PM
That clip show was so bad, I fast-forwarded through the entire thing, there was no new content of note.

Top Gear US has officially been picked up for a second season.


---

On Monday, new episodes of Top Gear UK aired on BBC America, including another US special aired in December, and the first proper episode of the season. Watching Jeremy go through tires on that SLS was painful, he's a madman and must be stopped! :p But he did drive a Scoda Yeti well enough to land a helicopter on, that was crazy awesome.

The Middle East special AND the 2nd ep of the season air next Monday, and both are incredibly racially insensitive, from what I gather. :D

sith_killer_99
02-11-2011, 06:35 PM
Tanner has officially retired and commented on how he would be busy working on other projects such as television. It looks like they have decided to go full throttle (pun intended) with Top Gear USA. Hopefully this will translate into better episodes, bigger budget, and longer seasons with top notch specials.

JediTricks
02-12-2011, 02:15 PM
Tanner has officially retired and commented on how he would be busy working on other projects such as television. It looks like they have decided to go full throttle (pun intended) with Top Gear USA. Hopefully this will translate into better episodes, bigger budget, and longer seasons with top notch specials.Also, free gold bars for everyone watching the show. ;)

Phantom-like Menace
02-12-2011, 04:34 PM
Awesome! I'm really hoping for improvement, but I like that they're getting the chance for that improvment.

sith_killer_99
02-12-2011, 06:30 PM
Actually, I just read that Tanner is retiring from "drifting" but will focus more on "Rally" among other projects like TG: USA.

In any event, he is clearing more of his schedule from racing, and cashing in, I mean focusing on the show.

Phantom-like Menace
06-27-2011, 01:32 AM
I just saw a commercial advertising the first episode of season two on July 26.

JediTricks
07-17-2011, 01:55 PM
Anybody else here watch The Car Show on Speed network? I ended up watching it on a rerun yesterday. IMO, it's got more of the attitude of TGUK, but lacks the true center of focusing on cars, with nobody on the show really having a ROUNDED understanding of the history of cars, and a camaraderie that almost needed explanation (unlike the stilted version on TGUSA, which is painfully forced, TCS actually seemed to have some interplay that I guess came from rehearsal shows or something, but it felt more natural, just odd to start on that note). Still, it was entertaining in a cheap sort of way, but on Speed, it felt more like a ripoff of Sportscenter, and the sponsoring was too up-front. If only they could the writers of TCS and TGUSA together, and then they could all be killed at once. ;)


I have always heard defenders of TGUSA claim that viewing the first few seasons of TGUK were even more painful. I watched the first ep of series 2 of TGUK on Netflix at my sister's place the other day, and those people are OUT OF THEIR MINDS. TGUK's mere 11th episode, the first of their season, and the first with James May, was not only far better than any episode of TGUSA in terms of personalities and car interaction, but the camera work even back in '03 was head and shoulders above the garbage that TGUSA pukes out. There's just more imagination behind TGUK, more easy passion for the material, than TGUSA has shown.

Phantom-like Menace
07-25-2011, 02:12 AM
The first episode of the new season has now aired. It was a special and took place in Texas. I would have liked to see a studio show, especially since that makes the third episode in a row with no Big Star, Small Car.

As for the challenges, it was nothing interesting until they got around to the monster truck challenge. A Miata up on monster truck wheels makes me smile. And as they said, the Maverick did manage to look kind of mean in that arrangement. Otherwise, the graphic of the guys in front of--among other things--an F-14 with its wings forward reminded me how much I wish the new Sky Striker didn't copy the old versions linked landing gear and wings so you could have the wings swept forward without the gear down. It also reminded me how much I wish I could find one.

Edit: Oh, and music from ZZ Top was both welcome and appropriate.

Next week's stars for Big Car, Small Car: the guys from Pawn Star. I hope we're not going to see too much of this show merely pulling from other History Channel shows to find stars. Well, unless they got Lisa or Maya from Ice Road Truckers. For some reason, I'd be fine with that.

sith_killer_99
09-05-2011, 08:41 PM
So last night Tanner Foust incorrectly claimed Lexus makes the "only Japanese Supercar" in the world. I guess he doesn't consider the Nissan GT-R a "Supercar".

He looses credibility when he makes such claims IMO. The GT-R has broken the ring record several times, just because the Lexus beat those times does not mean the GT-R isn't a supercar.

Even Jeremy Clarkson agrees the GT-R is indeed a supercar. Yet another reason the original is superior to the "USA" version.

Still, I enjoy both.

JediTricks
09-12-2011, 02:39 PM
TGUK named the GT-R Supercar of the Year for 2007.

TGUSA are starting to bug me, not only does their music suck and their camera work still feel somewhat cheap, but these guys don't care about "cars", they care about THEIR realm of interest in cars. You get the sense that the TGUK hosts really are interested in every day cars - not as much as the great cars perhaps, but they do know and have interest in regular cars. With TGUSA and The Car Show too, they are experts in the kind of cars they like, and every day cars are a burden to them.