The Grand Tour continued the tradition the three started working on Top gear, where they had extraordinary adventures with cars that really weren’t designed to meet the challenge. Fortunately for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, their new producers had much deeper pockets and their expeditions became even bigger.
Their first real adventure on The Grand Tour were involved in the humble Beach Buggy – made famous by the Meyers Manx – where they mainly drove along the coastline to Namibia’s northern border. The next was to transport fish from the coast of Mozambique to a small village inland – and it went as expected. The following season featured not one, but three specials involving chasing some animals in Columbia, driving RVs through an American desert, and teaming up to build a custom 4×4 called John across Mongolia from the middle of nowhere to civilization. The following season featured only specials – from driving boats in Cambodia and Vietnam to searching for lost treasure in Madagascar and cruising the north of Scotland on classic American luxury ships.
Finally, the trio welcomed a new season with a journey through the far north of Scandinavia in two rally cars – and an Audi. Each of these adventures has been incredible and we can’t wait for what comes next. Here are ten of the best second-hand cars from The Grand Tour specials.
10/10 Jeremy’s Lincoln Continental
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the three presenters were not allowed to film in countries other than the British Isles, so they decided to import three American luxury barges and tour the north coast of Scotland. Richard Hammond bought a Buick Riviera Boattail, James May a Cadillac Coupe DeVille, and Jeremy Clarkson and Lincoln Continental Mark V.
Jeremy’s Lincoln was the tallest of the bunch and the hardest to drive in the city of Edinburgh. After driving around looking for the little piece of America somewhere in the far north, the three decided to modify their cars to look more American. The Continental even acted as a wavemaker to help James’ Caddy cross a floating bridge. In the end, Jeremy kept his Lincoln to himself.
9/10 Buick Riviera by Hammond
During the same Scotland Special – cleverly named Lochdown – Richard Hammond’s Buick Riviera caused the most trouble. The Boattail Riviera was not a particularly successful model, but has since gained popularity.
During their modification session, Hammond fitted his Riviera with a supercharger and a Dodge Charger Daytona-style rear wing. The episode also saw the Buick overheat, get stuck in a ditch and knock over a caravan – all correct Grand Tour fashion. Like Jeremy, Hammond kept his Riviera, which currently sits in his shed, as he decides what to do with it.
8/10 James’ Fiat Panda 4×4
The Grand Tour‘s Columbia Special is one of the funniest of them all. The three were tasked with photographing some rare animals in a region of the country. For the task, they each purchased an all-terrain vehicle suitable for the trails and fields they would be driving on. Jeremy bought a sensible Jeep Wrangler, Hammond a ridiculous Chevy Silverado and James did the quintessential James May thing of buying a small 4×4 – in this case a Fiat Panda.
Amazingly, the little Panda did everything the Jeep and the huge Silverado did, despite its low power. The three modified their vehicles and the Panda turned into a wildlife-watching curtain with camouflage netting and a camouflage pillowcase for James’ head. The whole episode is quite entertaining, especially their resistance to talking about a particular South American crop.
7/10 Hammond’s Chevrolet Silverado Monster Truck
The Columbia Special saw many entertaining situations. Some of the best usually involved Hammond trying to drive his crazy Chevy Silverado monster truck. For starters, the truck was bubble-wrapped and had to be towed ashore – a series of events such as the use of James’ Panda as an anchor, a screaming Hammond and the destruction of beach properties. Fairly standard work for the three presenters.
Another hilarious situation was when Hammond ran into a ditch in the road and Jeremy and James built a bridge over the roof of the Silverado. Hammond also had a terrible time navigating the huge vehicle in the ancient city of Cartagena. In the end, the huge Chevy made it to the finish line without too much trouble, even if it was the slowest of the three.
6/10 Jeremy’s Bentley Continental V8 ‘MFB’
The last Grand Tour special filmed before the pandemic hit was’A huge yacht‘ in which the three went in search of pirate treasures on the islands of Réunion and Madagascar. Each presenter bought a performance car for use on the scenic roads of Reunion. Jeremy bought a Bentley Continental GT V8 – an extremely comfortable and luxurious GT car.
When they discovered they had to go to Madagascar, they modified their cars and turned Jeremy’s Bentley into what is probably one of the coolest cars ever seen by the three presenters on both Top gear and The Grand Tour. The Bentley did fantastic off-road driving on Madagascar’s horrendous roads and was eventually used to race away from an exploding beach.
5/10 Hammond’s Ford Focus RS ‘Fury’
Hammond’s choice for the treasure hunt was a Ford Focus RS, a gorgeous hot four-wheel drive hatchback with a punchy turbo inline-4 engine. The Focus RS did quite well in the highway drag race at Reunion, but it’s what Hammond did with the vehicle in preparation for Madagascar that was extremely impressive.
Instead of doing what Jeremy did with his Bentley, Hammond swapped the conventional wheels of the Focus RS for off-road tracks, the same ones often used for driving in thick snow. While this drastically reduced the Focus’s top speed, it worked quite well for conquering rough terrain – if Hammond was careful. Unfortunately, the tracks came loose a few times, causing Hammond to replace them with normal wheels again. In the end, the clutch was completely destroyed before reaching the end, which was the first time he failed to finish one of their specials.
4/10 James’ Caterham Seven
The last car ofA huge yacht‘ was James May’s Caterham Seven. He apparently chose this car because he always wanted to and this time he did. After the episode aired, he admitted it was the wrong car for the job, but he still enjoyed it.
The Caterham did a fantastic job on Reunion’s paved roads, but James adapted it for Madagascar. The resulting Caterham had more in common with a tractor than the car it was originally based on, but it worked. Admittedly, James and the interior of his car got covered in warm mud for most of the journey, but he made it to the end without major problems. Plus, it was hilarious to see him constantly covered in dirt as he drove.
3/10 Jeremy’s V8 Beach Buggy
The trio’s first real adventure on The Grand Tour This involved driving along the coast of Namibia in three purpose-built beach buggies. James did the right thing and turned the humble VW Beetle into the vision of the original Meyers Manx. Hammond did much the same thing, apart from the raised suspension, off-road tires and huge roll cage. Jeremy, on the other hand, stuffed a 3.5-litre V8 from a Range Rover into the back of his vehicle.
As you probably guessed, the weight of the V8 caused a ride height and fuel economy problem, but it persevered. Later in the episode, the V8 overheated and caused the accelerator pedal problems due to the undulating dirt road, so Jeremy used a high-tech method to control the accelerator – a piece of string. Finally, all three buggies reached the end point, resulting in a fantastically entertaining adventure.
2/10 John the 4×4
Just like the Polar Special from their time Top gear, the Mongolia Special saw the three team up to reach the finish. Initially, they were dropped off by helicopter and left in the middle of a grassy field. A few minutes later, three crates were dropped into the air, and when they opened them, the three realized they contained vehicle parts – much like the crated Willy’s Jeep from World War II.
The three started building their custom 4×4 – well, two of them anyway. Once they got on the road and got a feel for it, they called it “John” because it was a reliable vehicle. Over the next few days, James and Jeremy John drove, making sure Hammond didn’t move more than a few feet, as he was prone to accidents. They eventually reached civilization, with most of John still intact. Even for non-car enthusiasts, the Mongolia Special is a fantastic hour and a half of viewing about three friends who ‘bleep’.
1/10 James’ Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII
The Grand TourOn the most recent excursion, they drove through northern Scandinavia, from Norway, through Sweden and finally to a runway in Finland – all while staying north of the Arctic Circle. To complete this journey, the three were told to buy rally-bred models. Hammond bought a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, James a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII and Jeremy an Audi RS4 B7 – pretend it was a Sport Quattro.
A Scandinavian movie is a brilliant special and brought the three presenters back to their normal selves after the pandemic lockdowns and struggles to get film licenses. While the challenges they faced were brilliant, the hero of the episode was definitely James’ Mitsubishi. He crashed in a very unfamiliar Captain Slow fashion while racing through a tunnel, and he fell through the ice while driving over a frozen lake. But despite the busted front end and the water getting in everywhere, he still managed to ride to the end. It has since become one of the most memorable cars used by the three, and we can’t wait for the next Polish Special to arrive.