With Season 2 of the Grand Tour just around the corner, what are your favorite episodes from Season 1?
For some people, the very first episode, “The Holy Trinity,” was their favorite. The opening sequence was of course the most amazing scene from the entire series! Add in the three amazing cars used in the episode, along with the time the Boys spent together on the track, which had that familiar tone we have all come to love, made for one great episode! Yet I enjoyed several others even more.
One episode I enjoyed the most was Episode 9 “Berks to the Future.” It was great to see Jeremy Clarkson coming up with another crazy car with his Mercedes-Benz/Land Rover Discovery contraption dubbed, “The Excellent.” It was of course nothing like being “excellent” in any way… What it was, however, was completely amazing in the way only Jeremy Clarkson could make it!
Another favorite of mine was Episode 11, “Italian Lessons.” Here we see the boys back in full swing, with the loveable buffoonery and antagonistic humor that they alone seem to uniquely pull off. Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond are a trio made in television heaven and we get to see their special comraderie in full effect as they drive through the amazing countryside.
That all being said, my favorite episodes of all are Episodes 7 & 8, "The Beach (Buggy) Boys” Parts 1 & 2. This is where the trio drives 1,000 miles (1,600 km) along Namibia's Skeleton Coast up to Angola in custom-made beach buggies. These two episodes are reminiscent of the famous journeys the trio would make on the old Top Gear specials; except that instead of making the trip on a shoe-string budget in dilapidated vehicles that barely worked when purchased, they had a budget which enabled them to build any beach buggies they wanted. This was great because, instead of seeing how good their shopping skills were when purchasing a vehicle on a budget, we were able to see what the trio could do (or not do) when they were able to properly prepare for their journey.
Predictably, Jeremy Clarkson placed an oversized V8 motor in his modified Volkswagen Beatle, because: “Power!” This of course caused him no end of grief on the trip, since the V8 motor was too big to fit properly in the vehicle.
James May, of course, built a perfect replica of a classic beach buggy; including using the 60 HP air-cooled motor classically used during the original beach buggy craze started by Bruce Myers back in the 1960s. This buggy would have been great for an afternoon run up the beach, but it turned out that it was not so great for an epic multi-day thousand-mile quest in Africa.
Surprisingly, Richard Hammond built the best vehicle for the trip by far; which had a properly sized and powered engine, all-terrain tires, improved suspension, and lights. The Hamster is of course happy to rough-it when camping out, whereas Jeremy Clarkson and James May are more into “Glamping.” It was fun watching the famous antagonism among the trio come back as Richard Hammond ended up getting the short-end of the camping stick. He roughed it, and the other two camped in glamorous luxury.
I found the “Beach (Buggy) Boys” episodes to be some of the most entertaining and memorable television produced in 2016. But of course, as a Staff Writer for GT Nation, I am just a bit biased!
So what are your favorite episodes from Season 1 of the Grand Tour?
Keep driving sober my friends!
My thanks, as always, to Larry for his help with this article.