Home > Car Culture > Something to be proud of?

Something to be proud of?

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The following quote, from right around 1:28, kind of sums it up for me:

“We have an amazing history tied in with our Automotive world here in the US.  It’s something that as an American you have to be proud of.”


  • An automobile dominated transportation system that excludes or is actively hostile towards pedestrian, cyclist, and wheelchair users?
  • A transportation fleet that uses excessive amounts of fuel imported from countries that are actively hostile towards us?  (Currently $26 Billion *a month*)
  • Automobile related air and water pollution?
  • Over 32,000 people killed *every year* in motor vehicle accidents?  (For context, only about 5,000 Americans have ever been killed by terrorism since the 1960’s)
  • A massive automobile industry funded lobbying effort that actively fights safety improvements?

Proud?  Not so much.

For those not familiar with Top Gear on BBC America, the UK produced show “explores the male mind” by looking at all things related to cars with 3 quirky Brits as hosts.  (Well, 4 if you include “The Stig“)  Even if you hate cars, which I don’t, it’s a really funny show.  60 Minutes recently profiled the show and it’s hosts.  My favorite quote comes from the lead host, Jeremy Clarkson: “All BMWs are driven by people who are psychologically unfit to drive anything more powerful than an electric razor”.  I’ve enjoyed watching a few episodes, especially the 2 where “Captain Slow” drives a Bugatti Veyron and a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport around Volkswagen’s test track at speeds of >240 mph.  These episodes are a lesson in physics and the financial costs involved in pushing automobile speeds to their limits.

From the looks of the attached trailer, the Americanized History Channel version of Top Gear looks likely to disappoint.  It sounds like an ode to the muscle car with three unremarkable hosts who are simply excited at the chance of driving “other people’s fast cars legally”.  In other words, kind of like most Chinese food you get in the US:  It tastes Ok, but it’s nothing like the original.

Categories: Car Culture
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