The Grand Tour's "Eurocrash," 45 Percent of a Car Show

On June 16th Amazon Prime released the latest episode of The Grand Tour, “Eurocrash.” With a runtime longer than every previous episode of the show (1 hour 47 minutes), “Eurocrash” sends the presenters to central Europe for a long road trip. This particular installment is a bit different than past voyages though: The connecting thread between the presenters, journey, cars, and the episode’s events goes missing. 

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The Grand Tour's "A Scandi Flick" Crashes, Bangs, and Contrives to Fill Its Length

It’s been nearly three years since The Grand Tour switched its format away from the elaborate traveling tent and to its all-special format. On Friday, Amazon released the fifth such special, and the first “post pandemic” episode (their term, not mine). In “A Scandi Flick,” the familiar trio heads across Scandinavia in three rally-inspired all-wheel drive sedans. It’s certainly not the show’s worst work, but it’s far from the best. You’ll need to suspend disbelief and leave your thinking skills in another room.

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The Grand Tour's "Carnage a Trois" Episode Falls Largely Flat
The Grand Tour returned this past Friday with the fourth special of its fourth season, entitled “Carnage a Trois.” The French-themed episode follows “ Lochdown” of August 2021, “ A Massive Hunt” from December last year, and “Seamen” from December 2019. “Seamen” was the first installment of The Grand Tour’s new format where the tent, audience, track, and stupid time-wasting went by the wayside in favor of a specials-only format with grand adventures and less choppy segmented content. How does “Carnage a Trois” fare in that mold? Pas bon.

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The Grand Tour's "Lochdown" Episode Returns to the Familiar

July 30th saw the streaming release of the third installment in The Grand Tour Presents series, Amazon’s installment rework of the formerly tent-based automotive series. Following up their “Seamen” premiere (which I liked) and “A Massive Hunt” ( which I didn’t), Clarkson, Hammond, and May get back to their basics of years ago with “Lochdown.” And there’s not a lot wrong with that.

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Sabine Schmitz Dies at 51

Sabine Schmitz, often referred to as the Queen of the Nurburgring, has passed away from cancer at the age of 51.

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The Grand Tour's "A Massive Hunt" Episode Sums Up a Show Well Past Its Prime

After a COVID-induced delay of several months, Amazon finally released The Grand Tour’s new episode “A Massive Hunt” on December 17th. Its intended release date was the 18th, but someone at Amazon decided to foist the episode on an unsuspecting public a day early.

What a dumpster fire.

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Top Gear Wrecks Lamborghini Diablo During Filming

Television’s Top Gear recently resumed filming on the upcoming season (series 29, if you acknowledge the authority of the Queen), and news of a crash has your author feeling excited about the program for the first time in a while. It also provided an opportunity to actually learn the names of the presenters who aren’t Chris Harris, who was not at the helm of the vintage Lamborghini Diablo that unexpectedly went off-road.

Comedian Paddy McGuinness hopped on social media to let fans know he was safe on Tuesday, following numerous reports that he had suffered an off while the boys were filming it running around in North Yorkshire alongside a Ferrari F40 and Jaguar XJ220. Neither McGuinness nor the other two vehicles/hosts are said to have sustained damage, though the Lambo took a beating, potentially providing us with some top-flight entertainment later this year.

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Pre-Production Alpine A110 Bursts Into Flames During Top Gear Shoot

Top Gear presenters Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan narrowly evaded injury when a pre-production Alpine A110 caught fire while the duo participated in last week’s Monte Carlo Rally. Apparently the two had been blasting down stage SS17 when the engine warning light came on. Sometime later, flames were seen beneath the vehicle and the two were advised to pull over immediately.

Fire crews were unable to control the blaze and the car ended up completely obliterated. Alpine and Renault have said they are conducting a full investigation to see what went wrong but are currently attributing the mishap to a “technical incident.” They are also suspending all testing of pre-production models until they can determine the true cause of the fire.

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Cutting the Crap: The Grand Tour Loses Dead Weight Segments for Season Two

I’ve said before that automotive television is frequently terrible. Cars don’t have a lot of on-screen charisma without someone inside them, meaning most automotive presenters are forced into awkward acting attempts to “add drama,” despite not being actors.

The exception are shows that don’t rely on gimmicks and allow endearing hosts to be themselves. Top Gear has been a prime example of this since the mid-2000s, improved further by having presenters that act believably in unbelievable ways.

However, when the team that originally made it great left to create The Grand Tour, it wandered dangerously close to becoming an unintentional parody of the old show. Thankfully, most of the past month has been littered with news proving they’re shying away from hokey antics for more substantive programming.

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Rare Rides: Maserati Merak SS From 1981 - a Seventies Time Warp

We’ve featured a Maserati previously in our Rare Rides series — a bespoke Quattroporte shooting brake which drew mixed styling opinions from the informed and gracious peanut gallery of the B&B. Today though, we step back in time to something closer to the traditional two-door, sporty exotica that makes up much of the brand’s history.

Presenting a Maserati Merak, this one decked out in special SS trim.

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Rare Rides: Ferrari-Powered 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, the Superior Sister of Saab and Alfa Romeo

It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.

But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.

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Richard Hammond Apparently Unable to Be Killed by Automobiles

The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond has survived God’s most-recent attempt to murder him with a motor vehicle. If you recall, the former Top Gear presenter suffered serious head injuries in 2006 when the jet-propelled dragster he was driving wrecked at 288mph. Earlier this year, Hammond also “fell off” a motorcycle in Mozambique traveling at high speeds, knocking himself unconscious.

In his latest accident, Hammond was piloting an electric supercar as it tumbled off the road — busting into flames seconds after he crawled from the wreckage. “It was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening ,” Jeremy Clarkson tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “But incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.”

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QOTD: Are You Watching 'The Grand Tour'?

Top Gear had been the most popular car show in the world for a decade. It was one of my favorite things to watch — all the way back to the awkward first season where 15 people who liked the WRX showed up to a studio at a rural airport to watch three men discuss cars. (The show unceremoniously exchanged one of those three men in season two for James May).

Watching over the years proved very entertaining, even though toward the end of the run the script poked holes in the Joking Car Guys illusion we’d mostly been able to believe in seasons past. Still, I looked forward to the Cheap Car Challenges and the adventures of the three as they’d drive across foreign lands in whatever falling-apart heap they’d selected from the local Bolivian version of AutoTrader.

And then a one-two punch happened, and Amazon promised us more. More cars, more of the trio, more gags — all the things we wanted, things that made so many rage against the BBC when it fired the controversial Clarkson.

But more is the primary issue with The Grand Tour.

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How I Got Fired From Top Gear Without Punching Anyone

On September 11, 2012, my career as a print-magazine motoring journalist came to a semi-abrupt end. And unlike my much more famous colleague in the UK, I didn’t have to punch anyone to get fired from Top Gear.

That’s not to say I didn’t go out with a bang.

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Top Gear, Ruined

If there was any doubt surrounding the future certain failure of Top Gear, it was put to rest today.

Eddie Jordan — famous for running a Formula 1 team into the ground, being the Irish orange yin to David Coulthard’s pasty, Scottish yang during BBC Formula 1 coverage, and for making Bernie Ecclestone look like a normal-sized human being — has been tipped as the third host of Top Gear, reports Radio Times.

Plot lost.

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  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.