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The Grand Tour

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The Grand Tour studio tent is back in Whitby, England for various complicated reasons, some of which are James’s fault. In this show, Jeremy Clarkson tests the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, desperately trying to remain impartial despite knowing that Richard Hammond owns one, and then compares it to the track-focused BMW M4 GTS. Also in this episode, the hosts become unusually ecological as they attempt to create cars made of truly sustainable materials before taking part in what’s billed as a green motorsport event.

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I actually like the drone crashing in every episode; does anyone know if it was planned or just something that happened in the first one that they built off of?

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This is more like it. A tour of Italy in three expensive cars. Something they've done before, but this time with the added twist of pitting European refinement against American brashness. And with a bit of history about the original grand tours, which I found interesting. 

And some actual character stuff, with Jeremy being torn between sophisticated europhilia and the need to shout and drive fast and mock people after he beats them. In real life, Clarkson is not a foreigner to the finer things in life, particularly when it comes to being a food connoisseur. And, as mentioned, real life Hammond is more of an artist than a mindless buffoon (I remember him repairing that painting in Vietnam, with some level of talent).

That Aston Martin is a truly gorgeous car.  The only one of the three that I'd want.

I've not been to Whitby for a very long time, but I remember it being a nice town. And famous, of course, for being the place that Dracula's ship docked when he came to Britain (in the novel). Being back in the UK seemed to help with the in-studio segments. They weren't trying to get laughs from an unfamiliar audience.

Very good point about car manufacturers not exactly making their cars the epitome of desirability. And the Juke is a horrible, horrible car.

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Another meh episode not worth repeat viewings but there were a few things I liked:

  • The seagull taking out the drone and pooping on it
  • Germy Clarkson
  • the bit may not work but I do like that celebrities are game for being "killed" on screen
  • the visual of Richard Hammond in the TT and later, looking through the bumper
  • one of the "yobbos" kind of resembled Matt LeBlanc

I didn't love the intro for Conversation Street and I don't get X-Ray's reference to The American and Arby's.

Edited to add: Good on them for their tough review of the GT3 & M4 RS.

Edited by halopub · Reason: additional thought.

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I liked this episode the most so far, except killing the celebrities instead of having an interview is going to get old fast. None of the new intros bother me because I'm sure it's meant to just keep the BBC from suing them.

Clarkson's quip about someone who tries really hard but doesn't succeed, an obvious dig at the new TC, was hilarious. I've been waiting for PETA to protest that they made a meat car.

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Enjoyed this episode more than I did the last two.

Still think that the celebrity guest deaths was old since episode two.  Make it stop, guys!  Is it true that the BBC say they can't actually interview celebrity guests?  That makes sense, I guess, since in all the world, only the BBC does that, so for TGT to do it would be an obvious rip-off...  Right?

Keep wondering what the quad will crash into next.

And please replace The American.  With anybody.  With my olde Granny, if you must.  Or at least tell him to STFU.  Unprofessional-looking pillock!

If the BBC has the patent on celebrity interviews, I suppose they also have the patent on 'special' episodes?  

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Folks on another forum were suggesting Nico Rosberg or Jensen Button.

According to The Radio Times there will be a travel episode to Namibia after Christmas. I think TGT are just not going to call it, or the previous show a Grand Tour or Christmas "special."

Edited by halopub · Reason: grammar

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I actually loved this one, it was such a callback to the classic TG challenges they use to do. But I'm a sucker for any challenge that forces the guys to build things and has Jeremy truly cracking up over something at least once (I love that he seemingly can't stand upright when he's really tickled over something and bends over at the waist, laughing).

I'm not in love with the celebrities dying every ep, but I do love the different ways they are having the drone crash each time.

Edited by emma675
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Hubby and I binge-watched the four eps to date yesterday and loved everyone of them.  It is great to have the boys back.  BBC can pound sand.

Edited by b2H

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7 hours ago, emma675 said:

I actually loved this one, it was such a callback to the classic TG challenges they use to do.

True, but I think there was some role-switching involved, for sake of "avoiding infringement."

Typically the role of "intentional destroyer of worlds" falls to Jeremy, but here it was James.

James seems more the kind to create a living framework, but Richard had it here.  (Plus, we know Richard is afraid of insects, and that was a huge habitat for them.)

And Richard seems more the type to create a car that looks like it's out of a cartoon (seriously, that looked like something out of the Flintstones), but that one was Jeremy's.

 

Still, gloriously funny and felt right on.

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Richard Hammond and James May introduce a test between the civilised Mazda MX5 and the stripped-out Zenos E10, against the stunning backdrop of Morocco. Unfortunately, the pair’s adventure is ruined by the arrival of the horribly dressed Jeremy Clarkson in the horribly expensive Alfa Romeo 4C Spider.

Teaser

I've been looking forward to this one since the TV critics raved about the footage from the Game of Thrones set.

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2 hours ago, halopub said:

I've been looking forward to this one since the TV critics raved about the footage from the Game of Thrones set.

I want to see the one where they go swimming with cars, down the west coast!  

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I've been giving some thought about what I'd like to see in future episodes. To make each show a little more organized, I'd appreciate some overarching themes that tie together separate segments. Some other ideas:

  • A serious road trip across Mongolia
    • Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman made an impression on me when they did it ten years ago. I'd avoid the subsequent Russian Road of Bones part of the trip, though.
  • James May building a vehicle for the folks at Wasteland Weekend.
  • Jay Leno's got his own car show but I'd like to see more of David Letterman's collection. TPTB could close some roads and race the famous Newman Volvo.
  • The growing popularity of unrestored classic cars
  • If not full interaction, have celebrity car enthusiasts make silent cameos in the background

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Neat! I don't think I've heard about that.

I enjoyed this episode a lot. The cinematography was as saturated and gorgeous as expected. Plus they did a much better job of balancing the more scripted silliness with genuine moments.

I only had a few minor quibbles. The Battleship Game was my kind of ridiculousness, with the nod to old school Top Gear conkers and May doing his victory dance. I just wish the segment hadn't broken up the Morocco film. And then the setup of Hammond supposedly believing he's discovered an ancient civilization really could have been cut.

I can see why the TV critics liked the snippets they saw of the race around the sets. I would have loved even more driver perspective shots of the cars going through those narrow openings and then between the pillars.

Things I dug:

  • jams made
  • Cows on the truck roof
  • Clarkson version of profundity: You've done enough when you stop wanting to be an idiot
  • David Attenborough has never said that
  • The shipping container hovering over Golden Earring
  • Anytime they use Dusty Springfield for a sequence
  • the Alfa has a range of, oh 300 yards
  • All the guys asking the animals nicely to cooperate
  • James having fun speeding around in the Zenos
  • How can the Zenos not have doors? "I furnish my cats with doors."
  • Scripted or not, a lot of the sequential asides from the guys on the trip and at Battleship made me laugh
  • The 70s and 80s references
    • the casual reference to one hit wonder "Pass the Dutchie"
    • Jewel of the Nile

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The Grand Tour tent is in Kakslauttanen, Finland, deep within the Arctic Circle with a show in which Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson compare the Ford Mustang V8 and the Ford Focus RS, James May recounts the bitter 1960s battle for endurance racing supremacy between Ferrari and Ford, and the presenters run through some ideal Christmas gifts for car fans.

I'll have to rewatch to gather all my thoughts but it was fun to see the trio in such good moods, the GT40 film was classic and the Christmas section was funny. I cackled at the Darcy line. And I actually understood the argument about which chocolate bar is messier.

With the Ford Mustang, I caught two digs at Top Gear's Hoonicorn tour of London but there were probably more.

I am confused about...Andy Garcia. Were there any other random people in the collage of famous Finns? Should they have gone with Conan O'Brien as Tarja Halonen?

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Great show, enjoyed every minute of it.

Not entirely certain why Clarkson caved so easily at the end of the Mustang segment.  He was basically correct -- courses for horses.  Sure, the V8 is sexier, but my buddy just sold the V8 he's been driving locally for 10 years.  He confided that in those 10 years, he spent a quarter of a million bucks in gasolene.

The GT-40 segment was excellent.  You can always trust old Ferrari to persuade someone else to build a great car.  My favourite story is when a Ferrari-owner tried to make a suggestion for improvements to his car.  Ferrari told him that he had no intention of taking advice from a guy who made tractors for a living.  After that verbal slap-in-the-face, the guy branched out from tractors...  His name?  Ferruccio Lamborghini.  

"How hard can it be?"

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I'm not a car person, but even I know that Mustangs aren't good at corners. Long straight Roman roads, sure. But city streets? I suppose they've improved that aspect over the years. And it just looked somehow wrong in England. Anyone else feel that?

However, the next two eps are going to be in Namibia. When I think Namibia and I think cars, I think Fury Road! This is promising...

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11 hours ago, Joe said:

I suppose they've improved that aspect over the years.

Traditionally, American cars aren't made to turn corners.  They commented on the show that the 2016 Mustang was the first with independent rear suspension.  So, it might get around corners now.

My 1959 Mini 850 had independent suspension on all four corners.  Just saying...

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Sigh. The outrage over stuff these guys say would be more convincing if it wasn't so obviously manufactured with an agenda already in mind.

What's also incredibly annoying is that actual legitimate news outlets are now more than happy to produce stories based on nothing more than 'some people on twitter freaked out about something'. Some websites can get away with that stuff, but the Guardian asks me for money whenever I go on their site. I'm not paying for this sort of shitty, non-journalism.

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I was briefly annoyed, but then got over it. Normally it's Jeremy who is controversy-baiting, fair enough for someone else to have a go.

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On 12/26/2016 at 6:26 AM, Joe said:

And it just looked somehow wrong in England. Anyone else feel that?

Yeah, it didn't fit the atmosphere, really, of either London or Somerset. At least the Mustang didn't look cartoonishly wrong, like the F150 did in Top Gear season 6.

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Namibia special.

I hope it's okay with the mods that we combine the episode threads for the two-parter.

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In the first of two special shows, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are challenged to complete an epic journey across Namibia in three beach buggies, each built to their personal spec. What starts off as a simple determination to win an argument with their boss turns into an amazing adventure across some of the most incredible desert scenery Africa has to offer.

Kingfisher Kustoms describes the buggy builds(alt link)

  • More pics on Shifting Lanes(alt link)
  • Kingfisher provides a little bit of detail on what input the producers and hosts offer during the process
  • There is also some info on timelines, filming logistics and spare equipment

The ship wreck is the Eduard Bohlen.

I laughed at the line about the prolapsed V8 and"He's got a 90 horsepower engine but a 4 horsepower foot."

Edited by Athena · Reason: amended episode title

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Easily my least favorite episode so far.  Drive one way, drive back, drive another way, drive back.  Not interesting, not particularly funny either.  The comments about the cars and the fish guts were the only chuckles.  I hope part 2 is a major improvement.  

Edited by pastafarian

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I don't know, I liked it. At least it didn't have the two things I don't like about GT: 1)The American  and 2) the celebrity kill segment. Some of my favorite original TG episodes were the touring ones and this wanted to be as good as the one Hammond bought and brought back his car from,  but it was a little short. The start was slow, but it's a two show story so I'll cut them some slack. 

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I liked it a great deal.

When these three go walkabout, the level of personal stupidity comes to a max.  And yet, they manage to show us the wonder of whatever part of the world they are travelling in.  I for one sort of envy them the experience.  

Don't know what part #2 will bring, but they've shown us the vast isolation of the coastal sands, so hopefully, next time, we get to see some of the populated areas, and the people that live there.

You could have accurately predicted the precise vehicle they would all roll up in, barring the actual colour of the paint.  May with a classic, Hammond with high performance, and Clarkson with extreme to the point of ridiculous.  (I was expecting a flat-six Porsche engine in Clarkson's vehicle, but he out-extremed even that idea!)

One thing they didn't seem to take into account was that your average Beach Buggy isn't all that great as an off-road vehicle.  No 4-wheel drive, and not even a limit-slip diff in sight!

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Dorset Echo:

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The Grand Tour travelling tent arrives [in] Stuttgart, Germany, the home of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. In this show, James May takes the new Honda NSX supercar to the Eboladrome to push its cutting-edge hybrid technology to the limit and Richard Hammond immerses himself in the world of doomsday preppers as he constructs a ‘bugout’ vehicle that will allow him to survive a bleak future of nuclear winters, alien invasions and massed herds of zombies. Meanwhile, in a less realistic attempt at engineering, Jeremy Clarkson invents a new kind of fashionable SUV.

Also in this show, the hosts attempt to meet the future demands of electric cars by harnessing power from the currently untapped actions of everyday life.

They set up the tent at Ludwigsburg Palace.

Edited to add: Trailer

Edited by halopub · Reason: added link

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I've never seen James May as gleeful as he was playing hot potato with that sex toy.

According to X-Ray, script editor/critical wordsmith Richard Porter writes the trivia. Also, Giovanni was apparently genuinely terrified of the parasailing but was "too polite" to mention his fear of heights beforehand.

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I am so glad these 3 guys do a show for my entertainment.  I seriously love them.  The show did start out a bit slow, but they always make me laugh. I would camp, if it was like how Jeremy and James camped after shopping! That was a nice set up! 

I loved James' happy dance when they finally reached an actual road. 

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This was fun to watch, but it looked like it was hell to film (until James and Jeremy bought their camping equipment). I probably would have killed Jeremy after the first day for his "navigating" skills that had them going in circles and then James later on when they got stuck in that sand that billowed up like baby powder.

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3 hours ago, Subrookie said:

How does a hood mounted ram air intake on a rear engined car work....? 

Depends.

A mid- or rear-engined vehicle may still have the radiator and/or oil cooler located at the front.  (I belive this was the case with Clarkson's V8 abort-i-buggy.)  So air intakes on the front of the vehicle can direct air through the cooling system, even though the engine is at the rear.

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2 hours ago, Subrookie said:

I thought the radiator was in the rear and that's why he had to cut a hole in the fiberglass on the back to fix it? 

OK, I'm not certain, and the links posted by @halopub above to pages on the construction of the vehicles, simply don't work for me.  But if you look at this picture, you will see two green panels on the front of Clarkson's buggy.  I believe these are mesh screens that allow air through to a front-mounted radiator.  

In this image we see Clarkson explaining to May that he tore up the mesh to get to the bleed valve for the radiator.  And in this final image we can just about make out the curved frame/grille of the radiator cooling fan, and what might be the radiator itself immediately underneath.  

So it appears that the cooling system for the V8 buggy does include a front-mounted radiator and fan.  That being the case, Clarkson's boxy, ugly scoop (which looks like it was rapidly knocked up out of some alloy skid-plate) might actually funnel some additional airflow through to the rad.

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As much as I enjoy Jeremy’s writing, in his car reviews he sometimes plays too much with points and counterpoints, leaving me confused as to whether he actually liked the car. James is better at including just the right amount of technical exposition while telling a clear story that even a lay car fan can understand. The NSX review was fantastic and I felt like I got the car in a nutshell. The hybrid sports car is “1/8 the price of a LaFerrari” but “cleverer,” can ride as smoothly as a Honda Civic and has “space-age four wheel drive.”

It’s hard not to compare James’ work to Chris Harris’ own NSX review, which was one of the stronger segments on recent Top Gear. But with all of its exuberant technical detail, I was left to conclude that yes, the NSX is a great car from Honda, but I'm not going to remember much else. The review didn't stand out from all the other well photographed films out there.

In X-Ray Richard Porter did mention that the NSX’s drive-by-wire brakes are, by law, backed up by a conventional hydraulic system. Not that it's really feasible but I'd love to see that three engine, drive-by-wire wheel system on a non-sports car to see how it would handle winter weather.

The Excellent:

  • They really like using chassis from those old Land Rover Discoveries. The stripped down one looked like a ton of fun to drive.
  • Whether it was intentional or not, they got in a Dacia reference - which I only know from the old Sandero running gag five years ago.
  • I laughed every time Jeremy had to push the MG back onto the chassis.
  • I really like that they didn’t ruin some random place for the MGD and drove around at a testing ground for military vehicles.
  • They so casually brought into those Chelsea players without identifying them or telling us what they actually said.
    • Are there any rats in here?
  • I liked the anticipated rebuttals to Jeremy’s voiceover.

Electricity generation:

  • They could have gone further with this and should have – in Japan. There is some genuinely interesting work being done to capture energy from people just walking around in stadiums and airports.
  • Richard’s real life dog looked so skeptical. Hee!

Other thoughts:

  • I think they conflated Stuttgart with the place they were, a couple miles away.
  • I kind of get the air quality alert. In cities like New York there can be air quality alerts on sunny, relatively clear days, when weather prevents outdoor ozone from dissipating. The haze might not look bad but the air is oppressive to breathe.

I think it would take a few viewings to catch all the little details they sneaked in. From X-Ray:

  • Albern mensch: silly man
  • Mittelgrossen mann: medium sized man
  • Menschlicher hund: human dog
  • “Well good – British street slang meaning very, very good indeed. Used in this programme by the urban gangsta, James May.”

Richard Porter also provided Jeremy’s auction description of The Excellent:

“Hand-crafted by a renowned British atelier, The Excellent sympathetically marries the chassis of the esteemed Land Rover Discovery in sought-after mark 1 specification to the body of a Mercedes SL of the so-called ‘Dallas’ shape, rightly regarded as an exemplar of understated style. Benefiting from the revered 3.9-litre V8 engine, originally by Buick of the United States and substantially improved by the Rover company of Solihull, The Excellent boasts effortless on-road performance whilst the subtle but ingenious application of a Birmingham-engineered separate chassis and four-wheel-drive system promises enviable ability on more demanding terrain. Cosmetically, the exterior of The Excellent is in exceptional order and resplendent in a grey colour from the Mazda company of Japan. This car exudes good taste, as indeed does its creator. Conversely, the interior would benefit from some minor attention but its hard-working condition in no way compromises the great joy this very special machine beings to any right-thinking occupant. The Excellent represents a unique opportunity to acquire an exquisite piece of forward thinking design and engineering, and one that is sure to become a landmark in the evolution of the automobile.”

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23 hours ago, halopub said:

The Excellent:

  • They really like using chassis from those old Land Rover Discoveries. The stripped down one looked like a ton of fun to drive.
  • Whether it was intentional or not, they got in a Dacia reference - which I only know from the old Sandero running gag five years ago.
  • I laughed every time Jeremy had to push the MG back onto the chassis.
  • I really like that they didn’t ruin some random place for the MGD and drove around at a testing ground for military vehicles.
  • They so casually brought into those Chelsea players without identifying them or telling us what they actually said.
    • Are there any rats in here?
  • I liked the anticipated rebuttals to Jeremy’s voiceover.

The first version of The Excellent (MG-B body) looked good!  If that body/chassis marriage were accomplished seriously, I think it be a very interesting one-off special.  Of course, doing the job properly would cost a tidy sum, and wouldn't match up with JC's "how hard could it be?" history and reputation.

The Mercedes version didn't appeal to me quite so much, because I prefer the MG to the Merc., I guess.  But again, if done properly, the marriage might produce an interesting car!

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The build may have been half-assed but I agree that there was lovely potential in Jeremy's MGD. Kind of like a charming, junior monster truck that'd actually fit on the street of some countryside village.

10g7bigbbz7y.png

 

Richard Porter just tweeted a rewatch of the episode and says he heard MG tried to do something like Jeremy's MGD.

There must be professional customizers who have tried matching all sorts of neat car bodies to a chassis like this.

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2 hours ago, halopub said:

Kind of like a charming, junior monster truck that'd actually fit on the street of some countryside village.

You could park that in Sloane Square!  :-)  

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Funny!  I dislike The American, but I had no particular affection for The Stig either.  In both cases, they needed a competent driver, who could perhaps give a succinct verbal report.  The Stig and The American may be professional drivers, but neither of them can give any sort of verbal report.  And contrary to popular belief, neither of them are funny!

In one of the initial episodes of GT there was a test by a Belgian (I think) driver, followed by a report in French (I think) with Clarkson mis-translating with obvious bias.  I thought the driver was as competent as any, and the pseudo-translation somewhat amusing.  They should bring that Belgian back every episode, to test whatever cars they have.  Let The American sod orf to whatever retirement community is reserved for Chris Evans.  And The Stig can go with him, for all I care!

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People keep mentioning the American as being really terrible and all I can think is, he's barely noticeable. Do other people pay a lot more attention to the frankly dull lap tests than I do? I never cared how fast any of the cars were.

This wasn't a great episode. The stuff with Hammond's bug-out car was silly and pointless. Not really sure why they bothered. It wasn't informative or funny. It's this type of segment that drags the show down, so far in this first season.

I liked Jeremy making his MGD and the Excellent. He is capable of being charmingly funny, and even endearing, when he does this sort of thing - building his own vehicle, making a complete disaster of it then passionately defending it. Like when he built the P45 or the Hammerhead i-Thrust.

Them riffing on the German respect and adherence to rules was nice, especially because I was half expecting an 'only following orders' joke that didn't come. 

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The Grand Tour: Dumb Fight at the O.K. Coral sees the tent travelling to Nashville. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May introduce their attempt to save the world’s coral reefs. In the interests of conservation, the three travel to Barbados and begin an earnest attempt to establish a new reef using only some car bodyshells as a foundation. Their efforts start badly and then get worse, involving inept crane driving, useless boat steering, and an embarrassing moment with a local hotel. Also in this show, Jeremy finally indulges his series-long Alfa Romeo obsession with a test of the new, 500 horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio.

 

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