December 30, 2008

Proper Hooligans

With Top Gear getting all the attention it's easy to forget about the lower budget competition. Fifth Gear may have copycat opening credits and you may get annoyed at host Tom Ford wearing oversized Bart Simpson shorts all the time but they do have Vicky Butler-Henderson, that sideways driving, squealing, motorhead's fantasy poster girl and they do provide actual useful consumer information. You saw the show investigating what it takes to change a Renault Megane headlight bulb? Over $500 for a trip to the dealer apparently. Or that it takes 28000 miles of driving to realize a savings on a set of low rolling resistance "eco" tires.

But what we wait for is when Fifth Gear unleash Tiff Needell and Jason Plato to do their hooligan act on the track.  While Clarkson may just dismiss cars he decides  not to like, the Porsche GT2 for example, Jason Plato and Tiff might tell you the same car is just more of a challenge, more like a race car and proceed to tear up a track with it. 

Then again they are both actual professional racers and their comments on car handling are more interesting if less colorfully described than their BBC counterparts. For example when to sum total of the motoring press was reviewing the Nissan GT-R and finding absolutely no fault whatsoever in its handling characteristics, Jason Plato was the first to say it actually felt a bit heavy and tended to plow mid-corner. After that, laws of physics started timidly showing up in subsequent reviews of the Gorilla from Ginza. 

But I digress, I think this clip will illustrate my point well.

A proper track test



  1. Hear, hear. As a Porsche owner I get enfuriated by Clarkson's carping. 5th gear may not be top gear in a lot of modern transmissions but it will always be mine

  2. Yeah - Tom Ford is the worst part of Fifth Gear - I can't stand that guy.


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