Top Gear's Crapcan Not-Porsche Coupe Challenge Was the Best
Jag versus Mitsubishi versus BMW to see who can stand up to brutal vehicular abuse.
The best part about Top Gear has to be the challenges, doesn't it? There's something inherently addicting about watching three professional goofballs wring out three unfortunate crapboxes in various forms of scripted mayhem. Of the many challenges the trio undertook, I distinctly remember the "Three Cheap Coupes That Aren't Porsches" in season 6's episode 2 as one of the high points.
The premise of the challenge is itself a reference to the previous season's endeavor; in season five, three sub-£1,500 Porsches were procured and abused for the purpose of pandemonium. Really, the variants of the chosen Porsches were unsurprising—the trio of 924, 944, and 928 was so easily predicted, it almost detracted from the fun.
The first challenge of season six was a direct response to the aforementioned Porschepalooza. Clarkson, Hammond, and May met up at Millbrook Proving Ground, each with a £1,500 (or under) sports coupe devoid of any sort of Porsche crest. The resulting fleet couldn't have been more motley; Clarkson buzzed up in a bedraggled 1991 Mistubishi Starion, Hammond in a beat 1983 BMW 635 CSi, and May in a leaky, smoky 1982 Jaguar XJS.
I won't spoil which heap won for those who haven't seen the episode, nor will I go through each challenge, but some high points include a ride-quality test over cobbled road, a high-speed oval sprint, and participation in a legitimate sanctioned endurance race. The Jag, as you'd expect, was by far the most unreliable contender, and Hammond's Bimmer, which looked somewhat clean at first glance, was actually surprisingly ragged. The Starion? Well, those weren't solidly constructed when fresh off the factory floor.
There were of course other memorable moments during the episode, but that challenge is why I consider it to be Top Gear at its very best.
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