A serviceable episode from the lads tonight. I’m yet to be convinced we can expect greatness from the locals, but episode 2 did provide solid entertainment.
The show opened with a piece on the HSV Clubsport R8, which quickly, and thankfully, took a turn for something that sounds truly mad. The brutes from Walkinshaw Performance have strapped a supercharger on the already well powered V8. The symphony of V8 grunt and supercharged torque was music to the ears of anyone who has enjoyed the delights of supercharger whine. The car is good for a mammoth 470kW apparently. Yikes! They ran the car twice on Top Gear Australia test track, first with bling 22 inch wheels, second with moderate bling 20 inch wheels. We all know the theory—lighter wheels are best for performance—but according to Stiggo the smaller 20 inch wheels with more forgiving rubber were over three seconds a lap quicker.
According to the sales data Australians bought more V8s than ever before in 2008. So much for the fuel crisis. This inspired Warren and Steve to build a couple of electric cars on a $3000 budget. Steve took charge of a lightweight Suzuki Mighty Boy, while Warren loaded up an HZ Kingswood wagon with a bunch of regular old car batteries. Steve’s nutball idea to power his car with four cordless drills sounded kind of fun, but it just didn’t work. There were some good laughs here, though.
In the middle of the episode, and from nowhere, it seemed, they fired up a Model T Ford. Fifteen million of Henry’s finest were sold back in the day, a figure that, amazingly, still sees the T in the top 10 selling cars of all time. They look like a bitch to drive, however!
One final challenge for James and Warren was a reverse race around Oran Park raceway. James was at the wheel of a Ford Territory, Warren in a Commodore. All mirrors and windows were covered over, with James relying solely on the Territory’s reverse camera and in-dash screen. While Warren had just the rear window to guide him through the course, littered with obstacles. Okay, so it wasn’t great viewing, but, again, it was good harmless fun.
Ian Moss picked up a (not so) fast car to burn his name in the road as tonight’s guest. He’s a pretty good subject, with some great tales to tell no doubt. But, he’s always been a shy bloke and Warren still has a way to go to put his subjects at ease. Even with his elbow resting on the window sill leading into the main straight, ‘Mossy’ was able to set the second quickest time around the track.
Another nod in the direction of the film and production crews who, so far in Series 2, continue to get the ‘Top Gear look’ just right.