10 Best Top Gear Episodes To Relive The Good Ol’ Days - SUV VEHICLE

10 Best Top Gear Episodes To Relive The Good Ol’ Days


There truly is nothing quite like tuning in to witness the camaraderie and expert insights of three violently British friends as they embark on automotive adventures, reviewing the latest and greatest cars from manufacturers, and partaking in outrageous challenges. Of course, we are talking about none other than the iconic trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May hosting the world’s most beloved motoring show, Top Gear. With its roots tracing back to its original airing in 1977 on the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC), Top Gear truly took off after its revival in 2002 and became the gold standard for automotive journalism, so much so that it expanded to multiple countries.




Top Gear was the show you could turn on to get all your automotive news all while having a laugh. It gave us an unforgettable journey spanning 240 episodes, including 13 specials, of pure automotive excellence. For countless enthusiasts, Top Gear served as the gateway to a lifelong passion for automobiles, with select episodes leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Whether it was the thrill of embarking on daring adventures across foreign countries in unsuspecting vehicles, the hilarious antics of the trio, or the showcase of extraordinary vehicles, Top Gear’s episodes are jam-packed with unforgettable moments. As fans of the show reminisce on a time long past, we have curated a selection of ten of some of the most memorable episodes that promise to reignite the passion and experience of watching them for the first time.

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In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from the BBC and TopGear. The episodes are ranked based on their impact among viewers, automotive cultural significance, and displays of artistic journalism.



10 Caravan Holiday

Season 8, Episode 6

Can Top Gear Survive a Caravan Holiday with the caravan on fire
BBC – TopGear

In the hilarious Top Gear episode titled “Caravan Holiday,” Clarkson, Hammond, and May set out on a quest to uncover the reasons behind the road nuisances caused by caravaners. Their chosen method? An eventful caravan holiday. The journey kicks off with Clarkson introducing their caravan of choice, an Elddis Shamal XL, and May unveiling the tow car, a Kia Cerato. However, their venture doesn’t go as smoothly as they planned, as May struggles to exceed 30 mph while towing the caravan. The abysmal speed caused a queue of frustrated motorists behind them, causing Jeremy to purchase a sign to direct people around the caravan.


Along the way, mishaps ensue, from smashing plates during lunch to Top Gear Dog’s car sickness-induced vomiting brought on by the wind-catching nature of the now 30-foot-long vehicle. Arriving in Dorset, their navigation woes lead to encounters with the police and an unintentional awning demolition. Their attempts to enjoy traditional caravan activities, such as cooking and showering, are met with even more issues, culminating in a caravan fire that engulfs their belongings and a neighboring caravan, requiring the intervention of the fire department.

Back in the studio, Clarkson humorously concludes the episode by jokingly proposing a ban on caravaning should they ever come into power. With its blend of comedic mishaps and insightful observations on the quirks of caravan culture, “Caravan Holiday” earns its spot as one of the funniest and most memorable episodes by the beloved trio of hosts.


Highlights

  • Kia Cerato “Best Tow Car”
  • Crashing the caravan
  • Top Gear Dog
  • Action from the fire burning the caravan down

9 Revealing The Stig As Michael Schumacher

Season 13, Episode 1

The Stig in a white suit sat next to Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear studio
BBC – TopGear

In a historic moment for Top Gear fans, the series thirteen premiere aired on June 21, 2009, promising an unprecedented revelation: the identity of the mysterious Stig. Jeremy Clarkson, in his newspaper column, teased the highly anticipated event, stating that The Stig was tired of the endless speculations about his identity. Amidst mounting anticipation, the episode unfolded with The Stig setting a blistering lap time of 1:10.7 in a black Ferrari FXX around the iconic test track, before making a dramatic entrance into the studio.


As the audience roared for The Stig to reveal himself, the tension reached its peak when the mysterious driver removed his helmet, unveiling none other than Formula One legend Michael Schumacher. The revelation sent shock waves through the studio, marking the first time the show publicly acknowledged the identity of the Stig. In a subsequent interview, Schumacher embodied The Stig’s persona, displaying his characteristic stoicism and quirky sense of humor.

However, the episode took a comedic turn when Schumacher, now unmasked as the Stig, attempted to navigate the Suzuki Liana around the track. Instead of showcasing his legendary driving prowess, the former F1 champion comically struggled with the vehicle, culminating in a series of mishaps, including colliding with a camera tripod and losing his way. Clarkson concluded the segment with a tongue-in-cheek observation that perhaps Schumacher wasn’t the true Stig after all.


While the BBC initially remained tight-lipped about whether Schumacher’s appearance was a mere stunt, subsequent reports confirmed his role as the Stig during the Ferrari FXX segment. The revelation of Schumacher as the Stig marked a significant moment in Top Gear history, blurring the lines between reality and fiction while adding an extra layer of intrigue to the show’s iconic mystery driver.

Highlights

  • Ferrari FXX record-breaking lap around the test track
  • The Stig identity “revealed”
  • Michael Schumacher appearing on the show

8 Bugatti Veyron Vs. Eurofighter Typhoon

Season 10, Episode 3

Bugatti Veyron vs Euro Fighter Tyhpoon drag race
BBC – TopGear


In a thrilling display of speed and power, Top Gear presented one of its iconic matchups between automotive and aerial marvels. In this episode, viewers were treated to the spectacle of a high-stakes race between the Bugatti Veyron, hailed as the epitome of automotive engineering and speed at the time, and the Eurofighter Typhoon, a fighter jet renowned for its unparalleled agility and speed.

As anticipation mounted, the stage was set for an exhilarating flat-out speed challenge unlike any other seen on the show. The atmosphere crackled with excitement as Richard Hammond took the wheel of the Bugatti Veyron, channeling his trademark enthusiasm and adrenaline-fueled energy.

Against the backdrop of roaring engines and soaring expectations, the Veyron hurtled down the runway, its sleek contours cutting through the air with ferocious determination. However, it’s a race against the clock and gravity as the Eurofighter Typhoon unleashed its full might, streaking across the sky with breathtaking speed and precision.


In a dramatic climax, the Eurofighter Typhoon surged ahead, crossing the finish line with a commanding lead over the Veyron. Despite the inevitable outcome, the race is a testament to the show creating the most exciting matchups possible in the pursuit of entertainment and journalism.

Highlights

  • Drag race against a fighter jet
  • Pure display of speed
  • The Bugatti Veyron was the fastest car in the world at the time

7 American Special

Season 9, Episode 3

Top Gear run out of Alabama with offensive cars dodge pickup truck
BBC – TopGear

In what started as a typical Top Gear adventure, the “American Special” episode quickly spiraled into infamy, leaving a more violent mark on the show’s history. Tasked with a seemingly straightforward challenge of purchasing used cars for $1,000 and embarking on a journey from Miami to New Orleans, the presenters soon found themselves in a series of events that would devolve into chaos.


As they traversed through the heart of America, the trio encountered unexpected challenges with their American-made vehicles. However, it was during the fourth challenge in Alabama that things took a dramatic turn. Tasked with painting their cars with “questionable slogans,” the trio unwittingly ignited a firestorm of controversy in the deeply Republican state.

With slogans like “Hillary for President,” the whole team found themselves at odds with the conservative locals, sparking outrage and hostility. The situation quickly escalated as the cast and crew became targets of aggression, enduring a barrage of stones and ultimately being forced to flee the town.

Reflecting on the wild experience, Jeremy Clarkson succinctly summed up the ordeal with his blunt advice: “Don’t go to America.” The “American Special” episode stands as a cautionary tale of the unpredictability of travel and the delicate balance between humor and cultural sensitivities, solidifying its place as one of the most infamous moments in Top Gear history.


Highlights

  • Cheap car challenge
  • Borderline violent comedy
  • Memorable experience

6 U.S. Road Trip, Race To The Mexican Border

Season 19, Episode 2

Top Gear race to the border with yellow Lexus LFA Blue Aston Martin Vanquish and Black Dodge Viper
BBC – TopGear

In a spectacular showcase of automotive selection, Top Gear embarked on an exhilarating road trip through the Western United States, featuring an eclectic lineup of cars. Jeremy Clarkson led the pack in the magnificent Lexus LFA, its glorious sound echoing through the vast landscapes.

Meanwhile, Richard Hammond opted for the raw power of the Dodge SRT Viper, exuding pure American muscle and performance. Not to be outdone, James May embraced the sophistication of a true icon, the Aston Martin Vanquish, channeling his inner James Bond as he cruised the open roads in style. As the trio journeyed through breathtaking scenery, the road trip unfolded into a thrilling fun-fest of automotive antics.


Drag races ignited the competitive spirit of the trio, with each car unleashing its full potential. Burnouts and donuts littered the whole trip. However, the adventure reached new heights of excitement with an unexpected twist: an aerial laser-tag game. Faced with the challenge of evading two Aermacchi SF.260 jets armed with laser guns, the presenters found themselves in a high-stakes battle.

From the roar of engines to the thrill of competition, the Western United States road trip epitomized the essence of Top Gear’s unique blend of automotive entertainment and adventure. With a diverse array of cars and a series of challenges, it captured the imagination of viewers, leaving them eagerly anticipating the next epic journey on the world’s most iconic motoring show.

Highlights

  • Lexus LFA V10 soundtrack
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Massive displays of straight-line speed on American highways


5 £1500 Police Car Challenge

Season 11, Episode 1

Police Car Challenge Top Gear Lexus Fiat Suzuki
BBC – TopGear

In a classic Top Gear challenge, the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May set out on a mission to create the ultimate police car, armed with a budget of £1,500 each. The task? To surpass the capabilities of the standard-issue Vauxhall Astra diesel used by the UK police force.

However, true to their style, the presenters opted for a James Bond-inspired approach rather than practicality, leading to a series of hilarious moments. James May, in his analytical manner, outfitted his Lexus LS400 with a rear-mounted paint gun. However, the effectiveness of his gadget is called into question, as its practicality in law enforcement remains useless at best.


Meanwhile, Richard Hammond’s Suzuki Vitara is equipped with a self-deploying spike strip, intended to immobilize fleeing vehicles. But Hammond’s hopes are cut short when his contraption fails to deploy, creating more comedic unpredictability in their DIY police cars. The episode’s humor reaches its peak when the trio sets out to apprehend a “most wanted” criminal, only to discover that the elusive culprit is none other than the show’s mysterious test driver, the Stig. As the trio try to make light creations and face off against their own test driver, the episode unfolds into an adventure filled with laughter and expected banter, putting it high on the list of “classic” Top Gear episodes.

Highlights

  • Challenge episode where the trio are responsible for their creations
  • Outrageous ideas create even more outrageous moments of hilarity
  • One of the funniest segments, and it is a mere slice of the full episode


4 Africa Special

Season 19, Episodes 6 And 7

Crossing the river Top Gear Africa Special Jeremy's BMW wagon
BBC – TopGear

In an epic Top Gear adventure, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May embark on a journey through Africa, tasked with finding the true source of the river Nile. The challenge begins with the trio each purchasing a used estate car (read Wagon for those in the U.S.) for £1,500 in Britain, ranging from a BMW 528i Touring to a Subaru Impreza WRX Estate.

As they converge in rural Uganda, the true nature of their challenge is unveiled, leading them on a quest filled with twists and turns. Their expedition takes them through breathtaking landscapes and challenging terrain, from the discovery of Lake Victoria to navigating through the Rwenzori Mountains.


Along the way, they encounter a series of obstacles, including vehicle modifications gone awry and a treacherous river crossing with a makeshift car ferry. Despite the trials and tribulations, their camaraderie perseveres as they press onward in search of the elusive source. In a climactic race to be remembered as the discoverer, James ultimately uncovers the source first, albeit a humble pond beneath large rocks.

With flags planted and a humorous caption immortalizing the moment, the trio commemorates their journey with a blend of humor and triumph. All the events throughout this two-part special are widely regarded as some of the best of the best of the Top Gear team. As the credits roll, the crew’s names are playfully adorned with honorary titles, echoing the spirit of exploration that defines their unforgettable adventure through Africa.


Highlights

  • Two-part series
  • Incredible scenery
  • Absurd obstacles to get through, IE a road that blew up multiple tires
  • One of the best showcases of triumph from the trio

3 The Indestructible Toyota Hilux

Season 3, Episode 5

Killing a Toyota Hilux Top Gear episode in the studio
BBC – TopGear

Starting the top three of our list, in this Top Gear episode, Jeremy Clarkson subjects a Toyota Hilux pickup truck to the ultimate tests of durability. The episode unfolds as Clarkson pushes the truck to its limits, subjecting it to a series of extreme challenges. From submerging it in water and ramming into trees and buildings to dropping a caravan on it and setting it ablaze, the Hilux endured relentless punishment, yet, remarkably, continued to run. Throughout the testing, the one rule was that no parts could be replaced, the truck needed to continue working on its own.


The ultimate test came when the truck was placed atop a building slated for demolition and subjected to the full force of an explosive blast. Astonishingly, after the dust settles, the Hilux miraculously springs back to life with a battery reconnected and a bit of diesel. As Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May return to the studio, they reveal the battered yet resilient truck driving in, a display of Toyota’s reputation for producing some of the most durable vehicles in the world. The episode is a testament to the Hilux’s legendary toughness, along with being an incredible bit of automotive journalism to subject a vehicle to this extent of durability testing.

Highlights

  • Toyota truck durability
  • Incredible reliability tests you wouldn’t see anywhere else
  • Demolition of a building with a vehicle on it


2 Vietnam Motorbike Special

Season 12, Episode 8

Vietnam Motorbike Special Top Gear standing near water
BBC – TopGear

Truly considered Top Gear’s most epic adventure, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May embark on a journey through Vietnam that is equal parts exhilarating and comedic. The trio begins with the challenge of purchasing vehicles on a limited budget, only to find themselves navigating the complexities of Vietnamese currency and the exorbitant cost of cars.

Ultimately, they opt for motorcycles, setting the stage for a series of misadventures as they traverse the country from Saigon to Hạ Long City. Along the way, they encounter the warmth and generosity of the Vietnamese people, forging memories that will last a lifetime.


The episode is masterfully edited, accompanied by a powerful musical score that enhances the emotional impact of their journey. From the highs of stunning vistas to the lows of mechanical breakdowns, the Top Gear team captures the essence of exploration and adventure. It showcases the joy of travel, especially when shared with close friends, and highlights the resilience and beauty of Vietnam. In the end, despite their challenges and setbacks, the trio reaches their destination, Ba Hàng Bar, floating amidst the picturesque islands of Hạ Long Bay.

As the credits roll, the Top Gear team pays homage to the cinematic legacy of Vietnam with a clever nod to Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Overall, the Vietnam special of Top Gear is a captivating blend of adventure, camaraderie, and cultural exploration, leaving viewers inspired to embark on their own journeys of discovery.

Highlights

  • Breathtaking views
  • Hilarious antics sprinkled throughout the adventure
  • A cultural exploration into the automotive world of a country across the world


1 Holy Trinity Reviews

Season 21, Episodes 2 And 5, Season 22, Episode 5

McLaren P1 black sliding around a corner of Spa Francorchamps
BBC – TopGear

In a trio of Top Gear episodes dedicated to reviewing the Holy Trinity of supercars, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond each take center stage to showcase the pinnacle of automotive engineering and performance for its time. Through their masterful storytelling, editing, and music selection, these segments exemplify the art of automotive journalism, captivating enthusiasts and invoking true emotions felt by those who love cars along with everything surrounding them.


Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the McLaren P1 is a pure display of speed and precision. Against the backdrop of Bruges, Belgium, he takes the P1 around town, highlighting its hybrid powertrain’s seamless integration of electric motors and twin-turbo V8 engine. From navigating city streets to tearing up Spa Francorchamps, Clarkson paints a vivid picture of the P1’s mind-blowing speed and agility. He lauds McLaren for creating a masterpiece of British engineering, acknowledging its unbelievable performance while being reminded of its potential lack of passion. Ultimately, Clarkson declared the P1 a brilliant car, setting a new standard for supercars.

James May’s review of the Ferrari LaFerrari celebrates the essence of a supercar. Against the majestic backdrop of Italian mountains, he rejoices in the noises of the LaFerrari’s V12 engine, emphasizing its visceral driving experience. May contrasts Ferrari’s traditional approach to supercar design with its reluctance to embrace electric technology, highlighting the LaFerrari’s lack of an electric-only mode. Yet, as he pushes the LaFerrari to its limits on the Fiorano test track, May’s joyous expression reflects his admiration for its unmatched performance and esthetics. In the end, he declares the LaFerrari the best of the Holy Trinity, embodying the epitome of automotive excellence.


Richard Hammond’s review of the Porsche 918 Spyder at Yas Marina Circuit focuses on the car’s pioneering hybrid technology and future-proof design. He marvels at the 918 Spyder’s blistering acceleration and impeccable handling, praising Porsche for utilizing hybrid technology not just to enhance performance but also to meet future emissions and efficiency regulations. Hammond’s assessment showcases the significance of the 918 Spyder in advancing the supercar landscape, offering a glimpse into a sustainable future without compromising on performance or driving pleasure.

Collectively, these segments demonstrate Top Gear’s unrivaled ability to showcase the world’s most extraordinary cars with unparalleled flair and expertise. Through a combination of thrilling driving footage, insightful commentary, and captivating storytelling, Clarkson, May, and Hammond elevate automotive journalism to an art form, rightfully earning its place at the top of this list.


Highlights

  • The world’s best supercars at the time
  • Masterful storytelling and editing
  • Displays of adrenaline and speed not found in other pieces of media



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