AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
To appease the millions of insatiable television viewers, the BBC teamed up with BBC America to create a new show featuring Richard Hammond, one of the legs to the entertaining tripod of Top Gear presenters.
While the show is not necessarily a Top Gear spin-off, Richard Hammond’s Crash Course is still an over-the-top experience that challenges Hammond behind the wheel of giant machinery, documenting his adventures, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
This is not your average road test, Hammond will operate heavy machines including logging equipment in Oregan, an industrial trash compactor in Florida, cranes and magnets of a Louisiana salvage yard, as well as a M1A2 Abrams main battle tank.
For the tank segment, Hammond and the crew of BBC visited Fort Bliss of El Paso, Texas. The American military is understandably reluctant in allowing civilians to operate equipment, but the soldiers of the U.S. Army artillery and armor brigades base gave him tank driving 101 just the same.
Having undergone intensive training, Hammond was finally ready to operate the Abrams and fire its cannons and 50-caliber machine gun, crushing vehicles including a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle, a 1968 Ford Mustang and a 1979 Porsche 928 *sigh.
Look out for the debut on April 16, 2012, airing on BBC America.
[Source: New York Times]
It is not common for a car company to take legal action against a publication or TV show based on their opinion of the product, but Tesla did just that after TopGear aired an episode in 2008, featuring the all-electric Tesla Roadster.
According to Tesla, TopGear showed their car in a less than perfect light, claiming it suffered from poor range and even had a problem with the brakes.
The program claimed that the Tesla ran out of range in just 55-miles, well short of the 200-miles its makers suggests. This according to Tesla has been an ongoing cause of concern for its to be customers and hence sued the BBC program for libel.
However, at a ruling on Wednesday at the High Court in London, U.K., the honorable Justice Tugendhat sided with the BBC and said that no TopGear viewer would have reasonably compared the cars performance on the track to compare with the cars ability on the road.
A car would be driven far more aggressively on the track, and would thus be less efficient than when used on public roads.
Tugendhat went on to say; “In my judgment, the words complained of are wholly incapable of conveying any meaning at all to the effect that the claimant [Tesla] misled anyone.”
The judgement in favor of TopGear and its broadcaster the BBC was verbally handed out on Wednesday before lunch time.
Tesla however pointed out five other counts of complaints against TopGear, saying it staged some of the footage, like when the car was being pushed into the garage and also that just a faulty fuse was made to be looked as if the brakes had malfunctioned.
The case will resume in a few weeks time. We will keep you posted on this developing news story.
[Source: The Guardian]
Not so long ago, we told you about the special edition satellite navigation device by TomTom which features the voice of the Stig (!) and Jeremy Clarkson, both of TopGear fame.
Now due to a clause found in BBC’s own contact, this device had to be pulled off the shelves. According to the BBC, all its presenters “must take particular care not to endorse any product or service which could be covered in the programmes on which they work.”
Since this TomTom device could have easily been featured in an episode of TopGear, it would breach the contract rules and thus cannot be allowed to be put on sale.
However, the issue only came out after the device had already gone on sale. A reported 54,000 of these TopGear special edition sat nav’s have been sold thus far, however the BBC is not allowed to make any money due to its breach, and thus will have to donate all proceeds from its sale to its charity – BBC Children In Need.
Similarly, TomTom will also make a donation from its profits to a charity of its choice.
Clarkson, who had nothing to do with the brokering of this deal will also make no money from this transaction. However, anyone who currently owns this now very rare TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition, could sell it for a profit.
No word yet if this BBC clause will effect the new Forza4 video game, which also features the voice of Jeremy Clarkson.
[Source: The Guardian]
Jeremy Clarkson, the host of Top Gear, is in hot water again for a comment he made in his column. While he was discussing the eco feature on his LG flat screen TV, he said that using the feature “dims the screen so much, every programme looks like it’s being presented by Lenny Henry in a cave.”
For those who don’t know, Lenny Henry is a black comedian. The two do, however, have a history of insulting each other after they cohosted a celebrity telethon.
Previously, Clarkson managed to insult the entire population of Mexico when speaking about a new super car company based in the country. Clarkson also offended the Muslim community when he, James May and Richard Hammond dressed in the traditional garments of the religion’s women during their Christmas special episode. Past rude comments have required public apologies but there is no indication as to whether his latest foul comment will require similar action.
Everyone’s favourite car show will return to television on June 12. The hit BBC show Top Gear has been on break since the 16th season ended on February 27 with only 6 episodes. Some of the highlights of last season included Hammond driving the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40, May driving around in NASA’s new lunar rover and Clarkson racing the sun in a Jaguar XJ.
What can be expected from the new season? Unofficial sources reported that Prince Harry may be a guest on the Top Gear track. However you can bet the trio will be putting the McLaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador through their paces.
Over 70 years ago, the Battle of Britain was waged in an effort to stop Hitler’s army from invading the United Kingdom. While Britain may have won that pivotal contest, it looks like the Germans are about to make off with one of the UK’s cultural jewels, as the BBC prepares to sell the print version of Top Gear.
German publishing firm Bauer is considered a leading candidate to purchase the magazine, as well as Burda, another German outfit. British publishers Haymarket and Future are also said to be involved in the bidding process. Top Gear is actually being sold as part of the entire BBC magazines suite, which suggests that the state owned broadcaster is looking to divest itself entirely from print.
[Source: This Is Money]
Last weekend, an episode of the popular BBC2 show Top Gear sparked controversy when comments made by the presenters caused upset in Mexico, including a formal complaint lodged by ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora, in which he described the comments from Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson as ‘xenophobic and humiliating.’
Now the BBC has responded directly. In a letter addressed to Sr. Mora, it said it was sorry if had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humor and culture.
It also stated that there was no vindictiveness behind the comments, even if they might have been “rude” and “mischievous.”
“Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganized and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organized,” the corporation said.
The BBC announcement went on to say that such stereotype-based comedy is in line with BBC programming guidelines, provided the audience expects it, as is the case with Top Gear.
When you bought that new electric car of yours, we bet you thought you’d be saving all kinds of mad money. We hate to break it to you, but it turns out it is probably going to cost you more than an gas car in the long run.
Many people buy electric cars because of the lower refueling and maintenance costs, but when you try to sell it down the road, you’re going to lose out. A report from the BBC says that in U.K., an electric vehicle is about 13 percent more expensive to operate than a similar gas-powered car during the first three years of ownership.
If you live in the U.K and are planning to purchase the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car, you’ll have to pay about 10,600 pounds (that’s around $16,391) that’s driven a combined 36,000 miles over the first three years. Compare that to the 9,339 pounds ($11,834) you’d expect to shell out for a gas-powered Fiat 500 Lounge. The EV cost also counts the in the 5,000 pound ($6,335) tax credit they’d receive from the British government.
Taking into consideration that the higher cost is related to the depreciation of the i-MiEV, which has a sticker price of 28,990 pounds ($36,731), making it three times more expensive than the Fiat. Both of these cars will lose about half their respective values over the first three years, and the i-MiEV’s depreciation costs more than offset the 2,848 pounds ($3,609) in refueling costs the Mitsubishi owners will save over the three years.
And when you think about it, Mitsubishi gets more points once London’s congestion charge is added in. This can total up to 5,100 pounds ($6,461) of expenses to drivers of gas-powered vehicles that wouldn’t apply to EV owners.
The reputation of Top Gear‘s “The Stig” has become synonymous with anonymity and was quite possibly one of the industry’s greatest mysteries. In a way it gave viewers a lot to chat about, with this growing aura of secrecy around The Stig. But now Ben Collins has been ousted as The Stig from Top Gear due to a breach in a non-disclosure agreement and we have to wonder…was Ben the only Stig for the past few years to ever entertain our eyes?
We can’t help our skepticism to believe that Collins was the one and only Stig, but rather one of the drivers that played the Stig’s identity. Collins has quite the driving resume, having competed in American Le Mans, Formula Three, GT3, ASCAR and NASCAR.
Now knowing how big of a secret The Stig’s identity is to Top Gear, we find it really odd that Collins would risk that portion of his career for the sake of publishing an autobiography. But maybe he was taking some notes from Perry McCarthy, the former Black Stig that also appeared on Top Gear. When McCarthy published his autobiography, Top Gear killed off the Black Stig.
UPDATE: The BBC has lost an appeal in the British courts system to block publishing house HarperCollins from confirming the identity of The Stig. That hearing was attended by Ben Collins.
James May, one third of the popular BBC show “Top Gear” and the presenter known as “Captain Slow”, was awarded an honorary doctorate at his alma matter of Lancaster University.
May, who graduated with a degree in music, took a somewhat different path, despite being a passionate musician. Stints at major car magazines, the Channel 4 television network and even the British civil service all followed his graduation.
“It’s very nostalgic, what with work commitments I haven’t been back for 10 years,” said May. “I walked round the campus and it was very emotional, it doesn’t really come flooding back but, more like a wall covered in posters, it hit me instantly.”
Top Gear has returned for their 15th season with presenters May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson.
If you’re tired about hearing of all the automotive recalls that seem to be hitting the news daily, you’ll want to get behind the Motormouse. So it’s not the ideal family vehicle, but it will look good next to your PC.
Inspired by the Porsche 911, you may have seen the Motormouse on the BBC TV show “Dragon’s Den.” Available in three colors – silver, red and black – you’ll want to test drive this beauty at the office, or give it to Dad this Father’s Day.
Fitting right in the palm of your hand, the Motormouse comes equipped with a 2.4 GHz USB receiver so it can wirelessly connect to your keyboard. It also comes with a host of standard features, such as a truck that actually opens (not big enough for sporting equipment or luggage, but it can store batteries and its receiver).
Designed to catch the attention of your cubicle mates, this superbly crafted classic sports car features exquisite detail, a slim silhouette for superior comfort and a high-quality paint finish with chrome alloy wheels. And you’ll be flying through document pages and Internet sites while you’re behind the wheel – the ultra-wide ‘spare tire’ scroll wheel, that is.
If you’re planning on giving it away, the Motormouse’s special gift box comes complete with a soft carrying pouch, super-glide mouse mat and batteries. Buy if for about $50 on the Motormouse site.
A Bugatti Veyron that appeared on the BBC hit show Top Gear was owned by a man recently sent to jail for pretending to be a member of Kuwait’s royal family and bilking retired nurses out of their pensions.
Koroush Pour operated a leasing firm in the upscale Kensington district of London. According to the UKPA, Pour operated what is essentially a Ponzi scheme, using other people’s money to cover various debts and financial obligations. Pour managed to defraud banks and other clients out of $875,000 before he was caught.
The BBC is about to expand on the mystery surrounding Top Gear’s ‘The Stig’ by asking not only who he is, but also where.
Now while 40 year old men who play with cars can wonder who the Stig really is, their children can hunt for the silent hot-shoe in a new series of books the BBC is launching based on the popular Where’s Waldo? series.
Called Where’s Stig? the books will be illustrated by Rod Hunt and feature ‘The Stig’ carefully hidden amongst throngs of shoppers at the mall or folks at the zoo. And who knows, maybe some of the pages will feature other Top Gear characters, although searching for an abnormally tall Jeremy Clarkson with his curly mop of hair might not prove so challenging.
BBC Books will officially launch the Where’s Stig? book on September 17th.
[Source: Design You Trust]
Top Gear host's big-mouth gets him in trouble again
Caption: Clarkson, known for his big mouth, driving the Ariel Atom
In an uncharacteristically-Clarkson-esque move, Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson apologized after calling British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a, “one-eyed Scottish idiot.”
Apparently the remarks, made while Clarkson was at a press conference about Top Gear Live show in Sydney, Australia, created quite a stir back in the U.K. It wasn’t so much that Prime Minister Brown was upset, but rather other influential members of parliament and the House of Lords, as well as advocacy groups for the blind, which did not appreciate the association of incompetence with loss of sight.
Clarkson, it should be noted, is paid two million pounds a year by the publicly owned (aka, government run) BBC. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Prime Minister Brown, it should be noted, only has sight in one eye following a rugby accident in his teens.
“In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the Prime Minister’s personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologize,” said Clarkson.
This is hardly Clarkson’s first faux pas, in fact during the Sydney press conference he made other disparaging remarks, commenting that the Top Gear motorcycle stunt-men are from France and that, “if they get killed it’s not the end of the world.”
Last year Clarkson made headlines for commenting that truck drivers regularly murder prostitutes.