Clarkson and the Top Gear Car Survey

I used to think that Jeremy Clarkson was a thoroughly objectionable person. He didn’t seem to care about anything other than some seriously horrible cars, and for little else. Even when his co-presenters joined the show it seemed he hated them too and deliberately would go out of his way to belittle, abuse and anger them.

Then things started to change, it seems he’s mellowed and last night a huge turning point was reached. I’m agreeing with him.


I think it started when my Father pointed me to a newspaper article Clarkson had written about Private Health insurance. He had been discussing how expensive it is and when you added up all your payments through your life you could have paid for a whole list of operations multiple times, I seem to remember silly figures such as three liver transplants, etc. When it all came down to it, it was much cheaper to put some money aside into a savings account throughout your life, and if you ever needed healthcare and you wished it to be private, then pay for it.

That was the first ray of light, and ever since then I’ve been seeing a change in his attitude to his co-presenters and with his cars on Top Gear. I was starting to like him more and more.

Then last night the team were reviewing three sports coupes. The BMW M6, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and the Porsche 911 Carrera S. During their review the gorgeous Vantage was not doing well and I was concerned. The team placed much on the speed, acceleration and performance, seemingly placing little weight on the sheer good looks.

For me, driving a car you love is the key. When I walk towards or away from my Honda S2000 I always take a second look and smile. I love it. I love the shape, the colour, the design. There’s also the same feeling when I drive it. Yet the team seem to forget that I don’t get to close off a road when I’m taking it out. I drive to the shops, pick up friends, drive up to see the parents in Aberdeen across camera and radar ridden roads. I’ll never see the rear end of eighty-odd (if I’m lucky).

So what concerns me are those looks, both smile enducing and different, the comfort and the feel of driving that car at regular, legal speeds. That meant for me the corporate, sales fleet, and often aggressive, dangerous driven BMW is out. The Porsche is old, the styling is incredibly old and just hasn’t changed enough with the times. Plus it tends to be associated with people who have moved up in their lifestyle and want to pose to others…or those going through a mid life crisis!

That left the Vantage, and let me say it doesn’t leave the Vantage, it actually rises to the top. It looks beautiful, grand, and sleek. It’s a gorgeous looking car that would raise a smile even when you don’t own it. Never mind when the accelerator drops a little and you hear that animal roar begin. The Aston Martin oozes class, style, sexiness and good looks way more than the others.

So when the team sat down to eat their meal and deliberate for the cameras, I couldn’t believe that Clarkson fought back and chose it over the rest, and for the same reasons. The tide had most definitely turned.

Then, that very same episode, the Honda S2000 was declared the best car to own, and for the second year running. Being an owner I felt great, and then Clarkson took it further it’s the best sports car, his co-presenters argued with him, but he wouldn’t back down and he firmly believed it. That was it, I liked him even more. With all that choice out there he was backing the S2000, something I’d heard he had said from a friend some time ago.

Am I turning into Clarkson? Who cares, all I know is he’s right. The S2000 is a great sports car (and the owners agree), Private Health Insurance is a waste of time (I’d pay premiums for my heart problems anyway) and the Aston Martin is awesome, definitely beating that competition.

6 comments on “Clarkson and the Top Gear Car Survey”

  1. Malcolm Reply

    My view of Jeremy Clarkson is affected by his attitude to caravans and those who have the temerity to tow them on the public roads. His main dislike seems to be his perception that we slow everyone down and will not allow others to overtake.

    While there may be those who tow with vehicles which are underpowered for the size of caravan they tow, these same people may be driving with a complete disregard of others’ safety, and I agree that they should not be permitted on the roads. A relative of mine, who was a novice to caravanning, was sold a caravan by a reputable dealer who assured him that his Ford Sierra would tow it. Of course it did, given a level road on which to start, and not much of a desire to get to the destination in a hurry, but when it came to stopping, or negotiating a corner, the safety aspect was alarming.

    As to speed, Jeremy ignores the fact that where the speed limit is 60 or 70 mph, the towed caravan is restricted by law to 10mph less than those figures. To make matters worse, when I am finally passed, the angry driver from behind often realises that it is the little car in front which is holding us all back.

    Jeremy conveniently never mentions pollution in his tirades about caravans. Per capita per mile, I produce less pollution towing my caravan with a properly maintained car than Jeremy does flying to Spain (or wherever he goes on holiday).

    Finally, as I have never taken a holiday outside the UK, I contribute to the economy by spending all my holiday money in this country.

    So if Richard is correct, and Jeremy has mellowed, then perhaps he will stop his illogical rant against the caravanning fraternity.

  2. Pablo Reply

    I find Clarkson amusing at best. Well, amusing like three schoolboys telling fart jokes over and over again. Its funny, but does wear thin after a while as its very easy to keep saying how bad things are and ridiculing people for others enjoyment is again at best limited entertainment.

    He has written “some” sensible articles and i will admit that i enjoy most of the driving shows he hosts, but he does pick and choose information from articles, emails, etc to make fun and quite often bully those around him. Not funny. not clever.

    Although it may sound like i don’t like him, thats not quite accurate. Its just that i feel indifferent towards him and the material he produces. Its quick and easy trash. Like a hello magazine, you read it, chuck it and forget it.

    As for cars: Big, cumbersome, powerful and very throaty wins every time. I don’t care about cornering, time to 60, blah. Give me a car that looks like sex on wheels, has prescence on the road and sounds like a JCB in a tunnel.

    Based on that: The vantage wins by miles.

  3. Lee Reply

    He won’t have many caravans left to moan at soon, Richard Hammond is doing a good job blowing them up on Brainic 😉

  4. Frankie Reply

    I’m afraid Clarkson falls into my category of people I shouldn’t like but do because he makes me laugh. It’s not a huge category but it’s still a rather shameful one.

    I think health insurance can be a good thing for people who really, really find it hard to save money.

  5. Richard Reply

    Patrick! I haven’t changed!…okay, I have, but Clarkson definitely has too. He was on last night and was agreeing with his co-hosts and acknowledging the failings of his lovely new Ford GT.

    Agreed Frankie, health insurance is good for that, but a decent investment fund will do much better than any health policy.

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