Ever wondered what happened to the amphibious Toyota, the Alfa/Saab stretch limo and the Reliant Robin rocket that were drowned/cut in half/fired into space by Jeremy, James and Richard in the good name of Top Gear?
Since not even the dodgiest used car dealers would buy them, we’ve collected all the battered, modified and generally ruined cars from the world’s biggest car show and gathered them together in… the Top Gear Enormodrome!
Take a look around the cars from the challenges, get a rare behind-the-scenes view into the show’s production office, and enjoy clips of some of the best Top Gear moments. The display includes:
NEW: Nova SRi - Retro Hot Hatch
From the 21st series of Top Gear, we welcome the only surviving Hot Hatch from the 'boys' latest challenge. The camouflage wrapped Nova SRi was expertly driven in the style of a 1980s boy racer by Richard Hammond and contested Jeremy's Golf GTi and James' XR2i in a series of Top Gear style challenges!
The second vehicle from the 20th series of Top Gear has joined the ranks of challenge vehicles in World of Top Gear – The Mk2 Hovervan.
Devised by Jeremy, Richard and James as a solution for transportation in water-logged towns, we saw the Hovervan skip gracefully across the surface of the River Avon causing barely a ripple on the water. It is, quite simply, a work of genius. Apart from being noisy - and dangerous - and thirsty - and disruptive - and destructive - and uncontrollable - and expensive. Apart from those things, it’s brilliant. If you are wondering what happened to the Mk1 Hovervan, it sank!
The Hindustan Ambassador Taxi
From the 20th series of Top Gear, we welcome the world's best taxi, well that is according to Professor Richard Hammond's world taxi shootout!
The Hindustan Ambassador started life in Britain as the Morris Oxford, but with a quick name change went on to become one of India's most enduring vehicles. In the Top Gear world taxi shootout it saw off rivals from Britain, America, Germany, South Africa, Mexico and Russia. After a quick wash and brush up it's now the latest challenge car to join World of Top Gear.
Mindful of Britain’s ever-growing pensioner population, in the latest series of BBC Top Gear, Jeremy and Richard took it upon themselves to convert a Fiat Multipla into their idea of how a car for old people (such as co-presenter James May) should be!
One of the latest casualties to join World of Top Gear here at Beaulieu, has been re-painted 'hearing aid beige', had its front bumper greatly extended to avoid knocks and scrapes in the bingo hall car park and had an interior re-design including a flask holder, recalibrated large print speedometer and waterproof front seat covers to cater for those, ahem .... little accidents.
Straight from the 19th series, we welcome Jeremy Clarkson’s micro car invention, The P45. Described by Mr Clarkson as 'completely excellent' and by Mr Hammond and Mr May as 'utterly ridiculous' and 'a complete death trap'.
In the programme we saw Jeremy road testing The P45 around Guildford, including a scary drive along the A3, before taking it to London (aboard a coach) where he drove it through Westfield Shopping Centre and The British Library!
The final test was presenting it in the Dragons' Den, seeking investment from the Dragons for mass production – it could only end one way!
Lotus Excel Submarine
As featured in the Top Gear 50 Years of Bond Cars special, this is one of the few cut-price Top Gear projects which actually worked! Richard Hammond tested the Top Gear version of the iconic Lotus Esprit S1 'submarine car' used by Roger Moore's James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Amazingly he and the Lotus Excel survived the underwater challenge, and the Lotus is now on display in the World of Top Gear exhibition here at Beaulieu.
The three presenters set out to create true off-road mobility machines for an affordable price and then raced them against some wounded servicemen in off-the-shelf scooters.
India Christmas Special Cars
Following a statement from Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain should do more trade with India, Top Gear decided to help with this aspiration.
On display is the Jaguar XJS driven by Jeremy Clarkson, which can be recognised by its distinctive exhaust pipes exiting directly through the bonnet and James May’s Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Sadly Richard Hammond's Mini Cooper is no longer on display as it is currently being restored ready to be sold on for charity.
TGV12 Sports Train
This is the actual TGV12 ‘sports train’ driven by Jeremy during Top Gear’s valiant attempt to reduce the cost of railway travel using innovative car-based rolling stock. Note that the ‘locomotive’ really is little more than an old Jag convertible with some different wheels on it and that the ‘carriage’ is actually just an old caravan with the top sawn off, some racing seats bolted to the floor and a massive spoiler on the back.
Strangely, none of the major rail networks have shown any interest in this innovative design which is why it’s here instead.
See the actual snowbine that allowed Jeremy, Richard and James to clear an entire Norwegian road of snow. In doing so they proved that a fortune could be saved if combine harvesters did something other than gathering crops in the summer. Note the cunning snow plough arrangement on the front which succeeded in clearing many tons of white stuff!
Three Wise Men Christmas Special cars
The 2010 Christmas Special saw Jeremy, Richard and James undertake one of their most dangerous challenges to date - following the path of the three wise men. Starting in Iraq and finishing in Bethlehem, the presenters cars of choice include a Mazda MX5 with its unique 'car of many colours' paint job', a malfunctioning BMW Z3 and Fiat Barchetta complete with desert applied to the front of the car.
The Reliant Rocket
Can you make a car fly into space? Well, if it’s a car as stunningly aerodynamic as the Reliant Robin, and you’ve got enough rocket fuel to blow Wiltshire into the seventeenth century, the answer is… er, no. Not really. Take a look at the battered results.
The Olympic Mini
Ever wondered if a rocket-powered Mini can out-jump a skier? No? Not even a rocket-powered Mini strapped to skis and filled with a tonne and a half of explosive thrust? Well, it can’t. Not even close. It took a damn good shot at it, mind...
This is the actual ‘gondola’ used by James May for his caravan airship. You may note that it would blend seamlessly into any camp site but would get there without clogging up the roads. Well, that was the theory.
The Suzuki Swifts
Having mastered car football in Toyota Aygos, James and Richard turned their attention to Canada’s favourite sport/warfare: ice hockey. In a bunch of Suzuki Swifts, with Jeremy as referee. We’ve got the remnants...
Hammerhead Eagle i-thrust
Built by James, Jeremy and Richard in an attempt to prove they could make something better than a G-Wiz...and for less money! See the innovative vehicle in all its glory, with its radical three abreast seating layout and of course, the unmistakable 'HeadBox'.
The Motorhome Challenge required Jeremy, Richard and James to make a motorhome that was both compact and cool. All it had to have was somewhere to sleep, somewhere to cook, and somewhere to go to the loo. Of course, the way each of them tackled this challenge was very different.
The Indestructible Hilux
Challenge: To kill the Indestructible Hilux. Result: Failure... Having been severely put through its paces by crashing into trees, frolicking in the sea, driving through a shed and being crushed under the full weight of a caravan, the Indesctructible Hilux lives to tell the tale.
The Vietnam Bikes
See the Vietnam Bikes, a 1967 Piaggio Vespa 150cc VBC Super and a c.1973 Honda 50cc Chaly rode on by Jeremy , James and Richard through the entire length of the country in eight days!
The Amphibious Cars
Can you modify a car to cross the English Channel? Or even a moderately large lake? We’ve hauled up Jeremy’s Nissank, James' Herald and Richard’s Dampervan from the deep as proof that amphibious commuting is Really Quite Difficult.
The Double-Decker Cars
Behold the mighty the two-tier creations from the biggest Anglo-German fight since… well, we won’t mention that. Marvel at the double-decker Jag XJ, Metro, E-Class and Golf – all with the accelerator, brakes and gears on the bottom car… and the steering wheel on the top. Topply…
The Stretch Limos
When Jeremy, James and Richard set out to turn a bunch of rusty second-hand cars into luxury stretch limos, things were always going to end badly. Exactly how badly became apparent when a trio of celebs arrived at the glitzy Brit Awards. Or, rather, didn’t arrive.
The Endurance BMW
With a million gallons of home-grown biodiesel lying around, the boys decided they needed a way to get rid of it all. So they rolled up at the Silverstone 24 Hour race with a crudely sponsored BMW 3-Series, a whole load of biscuits… and the Stig.
The Homemade Police Cars
Taking pity on the poor British bobbies in their yawn-inducing Vauxhall Astra diesels, the boys set out to create a trio of more exciting police cars. Strangely, the police weren’t so keen on the boys’ rusty death traps, so we’ve got them on display instead.
The Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Why do car interiors always have to be so, well, dull? Jeremy, an interior designer and a gaggle of Polish blokes set out to create a car with the interior ambience of a country cottage – flagstones and wood burner included. Take a look at the weighty result of their labours.
This is the one reasonably priced car, the one that’s seen track action in the hands of such amazing stars as Lionel Ritchie, Christian Slater and, erm Geri Halliwell. It’s a completely standard Liana, save for a roll cage and a racing seat. Still hauled out of retirement whenever there’s an F1 star on the show, just to keep things fair between the professional drivers.
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