Top Gear Muscle Cars Episode, Released Feb 21, 2012

Last week, Top Gear returned on the History Channel in the USA with Rutledge Wood, Adam Ferrara, and Tanner Foust. It was entertaining as they drove big rigs. But it paled in comparison to tonight’s Muscle Cars episode in which Rutledge drove a 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8, Adam drove a 2012 Mustang GT, and Tanner drove a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS (automatic). Competing in three competitions, they set out to see which retro revision is the best of the lot.

The first competition was to do a drag race in the LA river. But they each drove their 1970 counterparts for half the race. And those cars were really cool, too. Unfortunately, my favorite is the Mustang, and this race did not bode well for Adam. I Tweeted him about it, and he fessed up to his f’up. That’s okay. He really did look good driving it. And he made up for it in the next round. Oh, the Camaro won that round with Tanner driving it.

The second competition was to do a slalom in a drive-in theater. But there was a catch. The driver had to wear an electrical stimulus device at the mercy of the other two bystander contestants. Adam went first in the Mustang, and each other contestant found that they could not beat his time, even though, to paraphrase Tanner, the Mustang has inferior and out-dated live axle technology.

The third and final competition was to drive the car around a NASCAR oval track and try and get as close to The Stig’s top speed in the respective car. Adam went first, again, and tried to match Stig’s 153mph, but came up short at 141. Before Adam went, Tanner set the rule that once out of pit road, the lap started. Tanner went after Adam. Now, Tanner had added a spoiler to his Camaro to try and make it more aerodynamically sound to try and best The Stig. As he left pit road, the spoiler ripped off. He stopped, turned around, and went back to pit road to fix it. However, he disqualified himself based on his own rule agreed upon by all the contestants. Fail. Victory belonged not to Adam but to Rutledge who got 153mph in the SRT8.

There we have it, a 3 way tie. But, as Tanner said, muscle cars are all about the 1/4 mile. I would have to say he is right and the edge really is the Camaro’s in this episode. Not that I am a fan of the Camaro, since clearly I am a Mustang fan. This episode was highly entertaining, yet it didn’t stop with this Camaro-Mustang-Challenger competition.

Rutledge and Tanner took a Roush Stage 3 Mustang and Boss 302 out to the desert to race two horses. Thrilling stuff–at least with Tanner behind the wheel of the 302. Rutledge didn’t even press the Stage 3. In any case, Tanner had some really good things to say about the 302. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Numbers don’t lie, and The Stig gives us the perspective that we need. The Boss 302 was faster–that’s right, faster–than the Roush Stage 3, even though the Roush has more power and a heftier price tag. The Boss 302 was equally as fast as the Aston Martin Vantage V12. Astonishing, right? Equally astonishing: The Roush Stage 3 barely, and I mean barely, beat the Evo. I know what you are thinking: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? That speaks to the high quality of the Mitsubishi favorite and the poor balance of the Roush. Haven’t I said in the past not to get a Roush? Well, if I didn’t, I was thinking it, because they have no objective resale value, but now the proof is in the pudding. Just kidding. It’s not like the track could utilize the Roush’s strengths. It all depends on your desired application, but I digress.

The show was great, and I hope you all got to see it.

Hot laps:
1:19.5 – Ford Fiesta Rallycross (Tanner’s)
1:22.0 – Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR
1:22.4 – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
1:22.8 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
1:23.3 – Ferrari 458 Italia
1:23.4 – Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce
1:25.3 – Porsche Panamera Turbo
1:26.9 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni
1:27.2 – Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
1:27.4 – Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
1:27.6 – Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
1:28.2 – Aston Martin V12 Vantage
1:28.2 – Ford Mustang Boss 302
1:28.4 – Lotus Evora (wet)
1:28.5 – Ferrari California
1:28.9 – Roush Mustang Stage 3
1:29.2 – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR
1:30.0 – Subaru Impreza WRX STI
1:30.0 – BMW X6 M
1:39.0 – Hennessey F-150 VelociRaptor 600

Featured Car List

  1. Aston Martin V12 Vantage
  2. Aston Martin V8 Vantage
  3. Audi R8 GT
  4. Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
  5. Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
  6. Chevrolet Camaro SS
  7. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
  8. Dodge Challenger SRT-8
  9. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR
  10. Ferrari 458 Italia
  11. Ferrari California
  12. Ford Fiesta Rallycross (Tanner’s)
  13. Ford Mustang Boss 302
  14. Ford Mustang Boss 302
  15. Ford Mustang GT
  16. Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni
  17. Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
  18. Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce
  19. Lexus LFA
  20. Lotus Evora
  21. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
  22. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR
  23. Morgan Aero SuperSports
  24. Porsche 911 GT2RS
  25. Porsche Panamera Turbo
  26. Roush Mustang Stage 3
  27. Subaru Impreza WRX STI Wagon