Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Greatest Top Gear Segment?

Top Gear
Top Gear will be back on January 25th, with its 22nd season. Man, that’s a lot of James May hair lengths, Richard Hammond short jokes, and well, a whole lot of Jeremy Clarkson. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the last few years of Top Gear to be a bit, how shall I put this, repetitive. I mean it seems to always be the same lame jokes and while there’s new schtick it still manages to feel familiar. It is perhaps, getting old.
So are the hosts, and I find it hysterical that the intro still features them in skinny and mopish silhouette in contrast to their present, more expansive forms. Those younger visages are also a great opportunity to reflect on when the show was thinner, er, fresher, and to ask you which segment from the past 22 seasons you find the most engaging. I can tell you that for me it’s Jezza’s test of the Prodrive P2 which made him toss his cookies on the skid pad. Well, on second thought, its the bit where they tried to sail three vehicles, including a Triumph Herald, across the channel.
Actually I probably have too many favorites to pick just one, but I’m sure you won’t have such problems. What is your favorite Top Gear episode?*
* Not including Top Gear USA, Top Gear Australia, or Top Gear, Tatooine.
Image: MisterSlimm

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  1. LEROOOY Avatar

    I'm a big fan of the Rainforest/Andes one in a Range Rover/Samurai/FJ. It gets silly at the end, of course, but I really enjoy watching that Samurai get by.
    My favorite individual moment, however, is when Jeremy throws James' sandwich under a steamroller.

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    I can't pinpoint my favorite episodes (admittedly I only started watching about 5 years ago), but I do have two favorite moments:
    <img src="http://media.giphy.com/media/Fu70OyJyMT1YI/giphy.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/800/820/5eb.gif"&gt;
    *edit: Ha… my crappy work computer choked on the animated gifs, and it wasn't until after I posted that I noticed the Cowmaro is playing in reverse. Oh well, you get the point.

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      The cowmaro in reverse is brilliant, intentional or otherwise.
      Add "deal with it" sunglasses to the cow, and it'd be over the top.

  3. onrails Avatar

    The two I go back to the most often are the Botswana special and, easily my favorite of the more recent ones, the race between the XK120, Vincent Black Shadow, and the Flying Scotsman (but not the real Flying Scotsman). Both for the same reason, a real genuine-ness about them. Nothing (or at least not too much) obviously staged, and a 'we did this because we could' attitude of some of the magic that mechanical things can do to/for us.

  4. Kiefmo Avatar

    It definitely wasn't Patagonia — that one was a stinker right until it became interesting at the end.
    It's difficult to pick one, but as we're all fans here and I want to leave some for others, I shall attempt to pick just one.
    Building the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust — aka "Geoff"
    [youtube PCSNCs7bwCw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCSNCs7bwCw youtube]

  5. pj134 Avatar

    <img src="http://kickasstrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/i091993.jpg&quot; width=500>
    I think it was the first episode I watched and still one of my very favorites.

  6. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Aside from the absolutely amazing specials my all time favorite is the British Leland episode for the sheer stupidity/hilarity that ensued. I watched the episode with my mom and the whole time she was talking about how the poor build quality of the BL cars was similar to the poor build quality of her Vega.

  7. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    Killing a Toyota. So good.
    <img src="http://38.media.tumblr.com/afb332a62107132ec5842116c6b8943a/tumblr_n9cvu811KO1qjirrjo1_400.gif&quot; width="400">
    *Not the best GIF, but if someone somehow hasn't seen it, I don't want to ruin it.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      That was my first ever exposure to the show, and I think the segment was actually on YouTube – I can't exactly remember, because it was like ten years ago.

  8. Vavon Avatar

    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v354/RichTreen/Peugeot 205 Gti/clarkson.jpg">
    But seriously…
    <img src="http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/1-27-2014/zAlrXN.gif"&gt;
    The test of the Ariel Atom!

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I was going to say Atom as well. They're best when they're genuinely impressed by a vehicle, rather than mocking something or other.
      <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/hammond-carver.jpg&quot; width="560">

  9. Kamil_K Avatar

    Botswana Special. It was at least special to me because I've been there.
    <img src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/12/30/article-1102498-02E9A41A000005DC-709_468x243.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      My son named the dog after Oliver.

      1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
        PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

        My son is named Oliver, he loves that episode.

    2. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      it's so close between Bolivia, Botswana, and Vietnam for me, but Hammond's relationship with Oliver really pushes this one over the edge
      it's so cute

  10. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    That's like asking which star in the sky is the best. I can't point to just one. Some are brighter than others but they all stand out compared to everything else.
    The Atom test was my first hit of the Top Gear drug. And the Bolivia and Vietnam specials are some of the greatest TV of any sort that I've ever seen.
    But the one that made me laugh so hard I literally passed out? The lorry show.
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/J8OUxtB.jpg&quot; width="400/">

  11. JayP2112 Avatar

    The one with The ‘sensible’ Fiesta test.
    [youtube 7e7R3y-qwZ0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e7R3y-qwZ0 youtube]

  12. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    <img src="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a4/3c/80/a43c80043a4235b1f3aa5ecf6562aaea.jpg"&gt;
    Star in a reasonably priced car is my favorite of it all because it let's the self-deprecating humor come into play. Plus it levels the playing field and puts stars in a thoroughly awkward situation of basically having to explain themselves for buying horrible cars in their life.
    Of those, this was one of the better interviews.

    1. HDS Avatar

      Actually, this is my least favourite part. I usually change the channel or skip it if I can. It takes too much time from the program.

  13. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    One that I go back to often is the Evo FQ400 versus Murcielago battle.

    1. Das Shtig Avatar
      Das Shtig

      That was the first episode of TG I ever watched. It came on the TV while I was playing some computer game around the corner in my living room. I heard the British voice and tie squeel and engine roar, the premise of the segment, and I stopped my game and went to watch and was hooked immediately. This was circa 2004.

  14. wisc47 Avatar

    Communist cars, without a doubt.
    <img src="http://www.imcdb.org/i203936.jpg"&gt;

  15. Prince Halibrand Avatar
    Prince Halibrand

    <img src="http://www.topgear.com/uk/assets/cms/68a8b982-fb81-4716-b723-c61dbe2bd9f5/Image.jpg"&gt;
    Episode 8-3. The amphibious car challenge.
    I also liked the cheap italian super cars in 7-4.

    1. gerberbaby Avatar

      I've cried at a few of their bits, but this one had both my son and I in tears.

    2. Krautwursten Avatar

      Came here to post this. I seem to be able to rewatch the amphibious car challenges infinitely and they don't get boring, which is something otherwise only road trips (edit: and the stretch limo episode) manage to accomplish. Also I love the episode at the Britcar 24h.
      <img src="http://fs1.directupload.net/images/150108/3acm9uno.jpg&quot; width="600/">

  16. Devin Avatar

    End of the British sports car segment. After all the goofy hijinks, going around the abandoned factories and finding discarded bits of production line and old notes and stuff was enough to make one all emotional. It was a rare time when you get a sense of what losing an industry actually means.

  17. JayP2112 Avatar

    Cheap Porsche Challenge (Now 10 yrs old!)
    [youtube _jPaYnaKVDk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jPaYnaKVDk youtube]

  18. Das Shtig Avatar
    Das Shtig

    I think Bolivia is my favorite, but as someone said that already, I'll pick the time they drove the Ford GT, Pagani Zonda & Ferrari 430 Spider to the big bridge in the south of France.

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      That was one of the first episodes I have ever seen… I remember watching in a Paris hotel room. 🙂

  19. TX_Stig Avatar

    The Reliant Robin test was pretty funny. I lost track of how many times Jeremy upended that poor car.

  20. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Historic People Carrier Race (the minivan race): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VJDIeeSdAE
    The Bendy bus Race (sorry, I could only find it with Italian subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqFE3GMCI5U
    And of course, Airport Vehicle Racing!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K05NgDMz2r4
    I try using the Embed Video feature, but I always get "Unable to parse that URL" errors. Maybe it's proxy-related?

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Try dropping the s from "https."

      1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

        If you try to embed multiple videos, it just gives you the first one X number of times.
        So by its not working, it has worked better.

  21. Andrew_theS2KBore Avatar

    Aventador/M600/12C around Imola (sorry, no video embed, youtube is blocked at work…). It's an unusually brilliant (even for TG) job of communicating the fear, the rush, and the all-consuming, caution-discarding competitive tunnel vision that comes with pushing a really fast car around a dangerous track.
    (as a counterexample, 5th Gear doing a Gallardo Super Trofeo race in the rain at Monza should have been extraordinary, but somehow it just… wasn't.)

  22. ScottK Avatar

    I can’t remember the exact episode, but it was in season 4 – and when I saw that episode I became hooked on Top Hear and actually downloaded the prior episodes to watch and I have been watching them all since.
    It was the first episode where they went caravanning (even that British term was cool as far as I was concerned). I remember James was driving the car with trailer in tow and while maneuvering at a gas station pulled the trailer into the concrete pole. I was completely surprised by it and started to pay attention to Top Gear then.
    The show is excellent, but not every episode is a winner. But I have had lots of laughs and learned lots over the years of watching Top Gear.

  23. Tomsk Avatar

    I love the cheap police cars segment. Great premise made greater by our intrepid trio.
    [youtube DtTnfFH2Hjc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtTnfFH2Hjc youtube]

  24. Bkm72 Avatar

    For me, hands down the Reliant Robin episode.

    1. Bkm72 Avatar

      Wont let me embed for some reason

      1. craigsu Avatar

        You have to remove the 's' from 'https' when you embed. It's a pain but it works.

        1. Bkm72 Avatar

          ah….thank you!

  25. Waywords Avatar

    It's gotta be the one where they strapped a Reliant Robin on a friggin rocket in an attempt to launch it into space, shuttle style. The way that the look of joy on Richard's abd James' faces when it cleared the launch pad turned to horror when it careened out of control… Priceless. Bonus points for the nerdy rocket-club guys. They were awesome.

  26. Tiller188 Avatar

    I've always been a fan of the Cheap Car Challenge-type events. The cheap Italian supercar challenge was the first "feature-length" Top Gear bit I ever saw (I may have seen clips of car darts or killing a Toyota before that, I honestly don't remember), and I thought it was hilarious. I also greatly enjoyed the cheap Porsche challenge, the B-L challenge, the amphibious vehicles challenge (OK, stretching the definition of the segment a bit), and the cheap coupe (that isn't a Porsche) challenge — pretty much any time the presenters end up in competition with each other in beaters that they each have chosen for the purpose, it's a good laugh.

  27. VolvoNut Avatar

    The smallest car in the world when Jeremy drives the Peel P50 around BBC headquarters, and photobombs the news.
    <img src="http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/1-07-2015/eVO8Zr.gif"&gt;

  28. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Polar expedition, with the Bumber Dumper! But realy I have to say that there are too many noments just to choose one.
    <img src="http://tracker.name/torrent-images/d/d/dd50e8e77942c2a4050c05cd0a1d323c62eeef1f/7b1ed2b5ade60394994adddaab158106.jpg&quot; width="600">

  29. Roger Henry Avatar
    Roger Henry

    <img src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQh56geU0X8&quot; width="600">
    "Excuse me, can you roll me back on my wheels?"

  30. HTWHLS Avatar

    The RV race, where Captain Slow was cooking breakfast during the race.