On Episode 5, the guys try to find the one classic GM model that should go back into production to save GM and Tony Hawk test his skills in a Suzuki.

Warning: Spoilers are in the review. If you have seen the Top Gear UK episode where Jeremy, Richard, and James try to prove that Birtish Leyland built decent cars, Top Gear US uses the same tests on GM cars.

Segment 1: GM Competition Introduction

Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Pontiac Fiero
Buick Roadmaster Stationwagon

The guys arrive on the top of a parking garage in Detroit, Michigan, each arriving in a classic GM model. Adam arrives first in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Tanner arrives next in a Pontiac Fiero. Rutledge arrives last in Buick Roadmaster Stationwagon. The guys are handed an envelope and are told to drive 100 miles to Marshall, Michigan for their first challenge. Each host talks about the pros and cons of his car and how his car can save GM.

Segment 2: Car Tests

The Guys arrive to the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall and put the cars through a series of tests to prove which classic GM should be brought back. The first test is a 0 to 60 mph test. Rutledge goes first and his Roadmaster takes a shade over 9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Adam goes next in the Cutless and takes 12.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. Tanner goes last in the Fiero and takes 7 seconds to reach 60 mph. Tanner wins the first test. The second test involves the emergency break. Each host must drive his car up a 20% grade incline and engage the parking break. He must the exit his car, pick up a bowling ball, put the bowling ball in his car, and drive over the hill. Fastest time wins. Rutledge goes first and has no problem with the challenge. Adam goes next in his Cutlass and failed. His phone fell out and the emergency break failed to keep the Cutlass from sliding down the incline. Tanner goes last in his Fiero. One of the many recalls on the Fiero involved the emergency break. Tanner made it up the incline and engaged the emergency break. He got out of his car only for it to roll down the incline and hit Adam’s Cutlass. Rutledge won that test. He got so cocky that he tried to get his car up a 60% hill climb. His car failed. The third test involved handling. Each car must travel through a wet skid and navigate through the cones while holding ten 32 oz. cups of soda. Five seconds would be added for each spilled cup. Best time wins. Tanner went first and had two cups left. He threw his remaining cups at Rutledge and Adam. Rutledge went second and had five full cups left. Adam went last and had four cups left. Tanner did the course in 51 seconds but lost eight cups, so his final time was 1:31. Adam did the course in 1:09 but had lost six cups so his final time was 1:39. Rutledge did the course in 55 seconds but he lost 5 cups so his time was 1:20. Rutledge won the third test. For his victory, Adam and Tanner threw the rest of the soda at Rutledge. After three test, Tanner has one victory, Rutledge has two victories, and Adam has zero victories.

Segment 3: The News

First up, Google has invented a car that drives itself. The president of Google stated “It is amazing to me that we let humans drive cars. It is a bug that cars were invented before computers.” This did not sit well with the audience or the hosts. Tanners says that the Google president will never set foot on the Top Gear US set. The crowd loved Tanner’s statement. Adams says that if the Google president is using Google Maps, he will never find the set.  Rutledge announced that GM is planning to bring back the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 with a supercharged engine that produces 500 hp and maybe as high as 550 hp, which Rutledge says that is great news if you are a tree or a ditch. Adam also says that is great news for the organ donor program. Adam says he likes the new Camaro but he cannot see out of it. Finally, Adam announces that the city of Philadelphia police will fine people for leaving the cars unlocked while parked on the street.

Segment 4: Tony Hawk shreds in a Suzuki

Tony Hawk

Tony gets interviewed by Rutledge and the first thing Rutledge brings up in Tony’s hybrid, a Lexus LS600H. Tony says that he has been fascinated with Lexus since he was a kid.  Rutledge brings up the Tony Hawk video games and Tony’s career as a stunt driver. Tony got a Ferrari up to its top speed 300 kph on the Autobahn. Tony’s favorite car is a 1964 Corvette Stingray. Tony takes a shot around the Top Gear test track in the Suzuki SX4 and does the lap in 1:43.2.

Segment 5: More Car Tests

The fourth test involves suspension. The guys would line up in front of a rubble road and drive at 30 mph. Seven eggs will be placed in a colander that will be positioned above each host’s head. Whoever has the most eggs left wins. Adam went first, Tanner went second, and Rutledge went last. Rutledge had all off his eggs in tact and won the test. The guys throw eggs at each others cars. The fifth and final test involved build quality. Each car would be filled with water and each host would drive his car around the oval test track until the water level reached a below the steering wheel. Whichever car went the furthest won. Tanner went first and had to get help to get the car started since the car could not drive with the added weight from the water. Adam went next and lapped the Fiero. Rutledge went last and the Buick was filled with 20,000 lbs of water. The Buick lapped Fiero and passed the Cutlass. Rutledge won the final challenge.

Segment 6: The Winner

Top Gear Updated Buick Roadmaster

The winner of the GM Challenge is the Buick Roadmaster. The guys file into the Roadmaster and drive to GM headquaters with “PLEASE MAKE THIS CAR” written on the side using tape. To end the show, the Top Gear hosts reveal their version of an updated Buick Roadmaster.

Overall, this was a subpar episode. The is a carbon copy of the Top Gear UK Series 10, Episode 7, where the guys try to determine that British Leyland made at least one quality car. The tests used to test the GM cars were the same as the British Leyland tests. The humor and pranks were childish. The tests have been done by Top Gear UK. No modern cars were tested. The Stig was absent from the episode. If you want to see cars being put through tests, go watch the Top Gear British Leyland episode, not this episode. This episode was just as bad as the pilot episode, but the chemistry was better than in the pilot episode.

Final Verdict: 3 Stigs out of 10. This episode is available at www.history.com


Originally written on July 21, 2011

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