- Has anyone counted the screws - building a flat pack in Mongolia (Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

With only a few days to go until The Grand Tour returns to Amazon Prime for its third series the Sunday Times has devoted part of its driving section to the return of the show, with an episode guide written by script editor Richard 'Sniff Petrol' Porter. As we are all excited to see the trio and what they get up to I thought you might like to hear what there is to look forward to.

Before I start I should say that rather mysteriously episodes 5, 9 and 12 have not been described, but they may well contain the solo films which the trio have made. As they have not been included in Mr Porter's list I have not included them in mine, so it's not that I can't count from 1-14, it's just that, as with other things, they've obviously decided some concealment is more tantalising than revealing everything. Also I have based the subject headings/titles on those used in The Times by Richard Porter so if they're not the final titles take it up with him! I was at the preview so I know some of them aren’t fully edited yet.

Episode 1 - Motown Muscle

As has already been reported, the first episode is centred in Detroit. Called 'Motown Muscle' in the Times report on Sunday 13th January, I went to the preview on 15th January and it was called 'Motown Funk'. No matter, the content remains the same.

Once at the heart of the US car industry the city is now a shadow of itself. Clarkson, Hammond and May travel to Detroit to see what it is like today, finding the car factories derelict and the urban farming movement having taken over part of the centre of the city.

Muscles (Image Amazon prime)

Muscles (Image Amazon prime)

The trio are obviously not happy about this and so they set out to return Detroit to the 'petrol head playground' it once was, with street drag racing and abandoned factories you can race around. Jeremy has a Ford Mustang tuned by a company called RTR (Ready to Rock), James has a Hennessey Exorcist Camaro and Richard a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Described as '..a true battle of good versus evil, with Jon Bon Jovi in the middle....' this should be an episode to gladden the heart of any petrolhead.

Episodes 2 and 3 - SNAP!

This is 'The Colombia Special' which was filmed a year ago and has generated a lot of interest. Clarkson, Hammond and May are given the task of taking photographs that live up to the standard of the Amazon screen saver photos. Initially reluctant to spend months as nature photographers, the trio then decide that they can cheat and the photography can be done from cars. If they choose the right location, in this case the most bio diverse place on earth, it might only take a few days.

Photography in Colombia (Image Ellis O'Brien)

Photography in Colombia (Image Ellis O'Brien)

They buy a Jeep Wrangler, a Chevrolet Silverado pick-up and a Fiat Panda 4x4 and head to Colombia. To quote Mr Porter '...What happens next is an adventure of such size and scale that it’s been split into two parts for your viewing pleasure, as the trio embark on a journey of incredible beauty, majesty, peril and wonder. And also a thing involving donkeys that’s a bit weird'. I like donkeys, so I'm quite interested in donkey power as well as horse power in this one. It certainly looks exciting from the know well know trailer of Hammond on a rickety bridge.

Episode 4 - What the Truck?

In order to test pick up trucks which are the backbone of the developing world and a market dominated by Japanese brands, Clarkson Hammond and May choose some European pick up trucks. The European versions might be aimed at vets in Yorkshire and tradesmen but they need to be able to cope with everything the Japanese versions can cope with if they are to be successful. The title has now been confirmed as 'Pick Up Put Downs'.

Three men in camoflague (Image Ellis O'Brien)

Three men in camoflague (Image Ellis O'Brien)

Clarkson, Hammond and May try out a VW Amarok, a Ford Ranger and a Mercedes X-class to see which copes best in what is described by Mr Porter as '... brutal simulation of harsh, lawless life in a subsistence existence. Which may also be handy if this whole Brexit situation takes a turn for the worse.'

Episode 6 - China in their hands

In this episode the trio look at what to buy if you're a Chinese business man on a budget. This is a problem, because there aren't any 20-year-old luxury cars at bargain prices in China. Clarkson Hammond and May decide that as Chinese people travel to the UK to buy clothes, watches and other consumer goods they could buy a used luxury car and have it shipped back to China. The title has now been confrimed as ' China - Food for thought'.

Pic @anniesmita111 on Instagram

Pic @anniesmita111 on Instagram

Armed with this business model the trio go to Chongqing '...., the biggest city you’ve probably never heard of...' as Clarkson says, to demonstrate an old Mercedes S 600, an ageing BMW 750iL and a Cadillac STS. Apparently they also get attacked by fire drones, and we have already seen May in a rather fetching green shiny suit......

Episode 7 - Och Aye the views

Clarkson, Hammond and May know that classic cars are quite expensive these days, with prices rising. Obviously Jaguar E-types, Aston Martin DB5s and even old Minis are classics and worth more than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

Would you take James's advice on a route? (Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

Would you take James's advice on a route? (Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

There are other cars though, now rare and desirable for example the Alfa Romeo GTV6, the Lancia Gamma coupé and the Fiat X1/9 which haven't risen in value. The trio buy examples of those cars and travel to the top of Scotland to see who has chosen most wisely. There are spectacular roads and scenery to be found, but will their cars be as spectacular? The scenery will have us all wanting to drive to Scotland that's for sure.

Episode 8 - Holiday Road

This episode is now confirmed with the title 'International Buffoons Vacation'. Lots of people love camper van holidays, for many the idea of hiring an RV and touring the southwestern US sounds like a really good holiday. As we know Clarkson, Hammond and May hate camping of any sort and driving a lorry with bunk beds in it does not appeal. Unfortunately for them Andy Wilman, the Grand Tour producer sent them to Nevada to find out more.

Image Jeremy CLarkson via Instagra

Image Jeremy CLarkson via Instagra

As Mr Porter says in his piece '... Having quickly had their worst suspicions confirmed, the presenters decide to abandon their shared RV and buy one each, which they can modify to suit their preferences and prejudices. Because what could go wrong with that? Apart from many things'. I can't image them spending any time sharing one RV so this may prove to be very entertaining.

Episode 10 - Hot Hot Hot

We know that Jeremy, Richard and James love hot hatchbacks because they’re affordable, practical and fast. Sadly they are told that these cars are for young people and not three middle aged men in faded jeans.

Hot Hot Hot ....and the cars...(Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

Hot Hot Hot ....and the cars...(Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

So, Mr Porter tells us '...after a bit of fun on the lesser-spotted Grand Tour rallycross track, the three are told to stop mucking about and get out there to see which of them can make their car seem the most appealing to millennials using slogans, stickers and the power of social media'. This should be a fun episode.

Episode 11 - A Grand Tour

The Grand Tour decide that we need advice on the best car to buy if you need to drive 600 miles from the shores Black Sea in Georgia to the edge of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan. Obviously we've all always wanted to know this.

Image @topgear_video on Instagram

Image @topgear_video on Instagram

Clarkson, Hammond and May decide to test the new Aston Martin DBS, the new Bentley Continental GT and the even newer BMW 8-series for a true grand tour across the Caucasus to answer the question no one asked. This was an epic journey and delighted local fans who came out in droves to see the filming.

Episode 13 - The Flat Pack

This episode is the Mongolia special with Jeremy, Richard and James being dropped into the wilderness of Mongolia and told to await a delivery. Unfortunately what is delievered are basic rations and the flat-packed parts they need to build a small off-road machine '...in which to escape to civilisation before they starve to death or strangle each other'. Hmm, strangulation might come quite close in this one I think!

Things look a bit rough in Mongolia (Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

Things look a bit rough in Mongolia (Image Ellis O'Brien and Amazon Prime)

The Mongolian landscape provides an amazing back drop for this adventure, we know they make it out alive, but how touch and go was it? According to Mr Porter, and to Mr Clarkson in some interviews yesterday '... Just putting the damn thing together was enough to make James want to bludgeon Jeremy with an exhaust manifold and it went downhill from there'. Just watching James get really annoyed should be interesting in itself, but it looks like an epic special.

Episode 14 - Funeral for a Ford

The Grand Tour thinks rumours that medium sized Ford saloons will no longer be made are terrible, as Mr Porter says '...for British people at least, the Ford family saloon is as much a part of our national DNA as the royal family or the BBC. Everyone knows someone who had a Mondeo or a Sierra or the daddy of them all, a Cortina. Most likely, it was your actual daddy'.

Classic Fords outside Lincoln Cathedral (My own Photo)

Classic Fords outside Lincoln Cathedral (My own Photo)

Jeremy's father had a Cortina, as did James's and the presenters set off on a nostalgic journey looking at the life of the medium-sized Ford saloon '... celebrating the subtle yet profound effect it has had on life in Britain as we know it'. I know a bit about this episode. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see the filming in Lincoln Cathedral at the end of October when my friend and I stood not ten feet from the trio as we sang a hymn with the assembled congregation. I'm hoping I won't hear myself on telly.

Solo Projects

Clarkson, Hammond and May have been making some films on their own. We will be able to see Jeremy powersliding a Lamborghini Urus across a frozen lake and apparently attempting to prove that the Citroën C3 Aircross is better than an elephant. Also Richard will throw caution to the wind and try another ultra-high performance electric supercar and James tests and rather enjoys the Alpine A110 at the Grand Tour track, he liked it so much he's bought one, reader.

James's Alpine is unveiled (Image James May on Drive Tribe)

James's Alpine is unveiled (Image James May on Drive Tribe)

There's also some fun with Clarkson and Hammond trying a project to speed up air travel using motorised hand luggage. For those of us who loved the serious film about Le Mans James made in previous series, good news, James gives us a guide to the cars of the Apollo astronauts and separately he does a history of the Porsche 917. Richard also has another solo film in which pays tribute to arguably the greatest racing driver of all time, Jim Clark.

James and a very very expensive car indeed (Image Ellis O'Brien)

James and a very very expensive car indeed (Image Ellis O'Brien)

So there you are, a quick run down of the episode list as described by Mr Porter in today's Sunday Times. What do you think, is there one which you are more excited to see than the others? I'm looking forward to James's serious solo films as they are always excellent and the full length specials. Let me know what you're excited to see in the comments below.

Here's the link to the original article, though there is a pay wall in place.

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You might also like to see my report on the Series 3 launch event and preview screening which I attended on 15th January in London, link below:-

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