The long-running, hugely popular British TV series “Top Gear” is known for tackling some wild and weird challenges relating to cars in all their glory. And the show’s chatty, cheeky hosts set themselves a doozey of a challenge in a special episode now out on DVD with the provocative title “Top Gear: The Worst Car in the History of the World.”
Trouble is, there’s a serious amount of meandering and dawdling and detouring that goes on before two of the show’s regular hosts – Jeremy Clarkson and James May (Richard Hammond is inexplicably absent) – get around to awarding the booby prize.
The program’s premise is solid. While there are plenty of cheapo Iron Curtain-era clunkers that could easily quality for the dubious title (Yugo, anyone?), the real scorn should go to a company that usually produces fine cars but that somehow came out with a true piece of rubbish.
And so the hosts dabble around, teasing and profiling various cars and pointing our their major and minor flaws (the Ford GT is dissed for being too wide, another car is knocked for coming equipped with a cassette tape player, a certain Rolls Royce is scorned for coming with hand-made parts that are difficult to replace).
The guys also deconstruct a Citroen convertible whose top-down procedure is ridiculously complicated, and they examine the difficulties of employing the Saab Sensonic transmission for anything other than going forward. But most of this is just chatty filler while the guys dither around (at one point they even go off golfing) and hint at the smashing fate they have planned for the winning, or losing, vehicle.
When it’s all revealed (no spoilers here), the whole thing proves to be a gimmicky disappointment. This “Top Gear” escapade merely proves to be a clever idea that runs out of gas well before the climax.
- Dennis King