Jeremy Clarkson played a major role in transforming Top Gear into a global brand before an incident involving a steak led to his departure from the BBC. Now, he stars alongside Richard Hammond and James May on The Grand Tour. Away from TV matters, what are the cars Jezza has chosen to drive himself?
Overfinch Range Rover 580S
Clarkson was spotted getting into this Overfinch Range Rover 580S back in 2003. The 4.4-litre engine would have been tuned by Overfinch for a 0-62 mph time of 7.3 seconds – 1.9 seconds quicker than standard. We think it’s likely to be a press car, but you can imagine a standard Range Rover just wouldn’t be fast enough for Clarkson.
Jeremy Clarkson is a keen supporter of Help for Heroes. Here, his Porsche 911 Carrera was spotted while visiting an event held by the charity.
One millionth Range Rover
As patron of the Help for Heroes charity, the one millionth Range Rover of the production line was handed to Clarkson before being sold at auction to raise funds.
Clarkson’s disdain of cyclists has caused controversy in the past. You might be surprised, then, to see him pictured on a lady’s bicycle at Venice Beach.
Before TV stardom with Top Gear brought him to our screens, Clarkson was prolific as a motoring journalist. Back in the early days, the Volkswagen Scirocco was one of his favourites.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The epitome of the hot hatch scene in the early 1990s, the RS Cosworth became synonymous with joyriding and insurance premium hikes. Legend has it this is the only car Jezza has owned that he gave a name to. It was Gary, in case you’re wondering.
Fame and fortune delivered money and success, to the point where Jeremy could buy a brand new Ferrari. Famously documented in Top Gear magazine, he agonised over colour and trim, and later regretted opting for the GTS model with the lift-out roof panel.
Clarkson has owned a number of Jaguars over the years, but the XJR with its supercharged 4.0-litre V8 engine was one of the particular highlights. Jeremy’s old car went under the hammer at auction, selling for only £3,400 despite the famous previous owner.
Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon
Described by Jezza as being the safest way of transporting your family, save for buying an armoured personnel carrier. If it’s good enough to be used by the United Nations, it’s probably more than sufficient for use on the school run.
Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG
The car that seemingly kick-started Clarkson’s love affair with AMG Mercedes products. A 5.5-litre supercharged V8 engine, producing 469hp, was sufficient to transform a two-tonne roadster into a 200mph Autobahn machine.
That’s right, Jezza has owned not one, not two, but three Volvo XC90s over the years. If that isn’t an endorsement for the ultimate family vehicle, we don’t know what is.
Making use of his industry contacts, Jeremy was able to secure one of the few Ford GTs imported to the UK, having enjoyed his drive of a prototype model. Things were less positive when the GT arrived, leading to Clarkson returning the car to Ford for a refund due to the now-famous problems with the alarm system. He later bought the car back, however.
Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG
The next car in the Mercedes AMG series. Lacking the supercharger of the SL55 AMG, the smaller SLK version made do with just 355hp.
Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
Having sold the Ford GT, Clarkson opted for the soft-top version of the baby Lamborghini. With a 513hp V10 engine, the Spyder is still capable of almost 200mph.
Range Rover TDV8 Vogue SE
Described by him as being the ‘best car in the world’ it was logical that Jezza would have a third-generation Range Rover. Despite his lust for power, even he could see the advantages of choosing the twin-turbocharged diesel V8 over the supercharged petrol version.
Despite the success and fortune, Clarkson has always maintained his love of effective engineering. That’s why he made room in the garage, among the supercars, for a humble first-generation Ford Focus.
Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser
“The Grosser is fitted with so many ornaments it could almost be twinned with Elton John’s head,” said Clarkson when describing the rather large Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz CLK Black Series
Not many cars receive the maximum five-star review from Jeremy Clarkson, which means the Mercedes-Benz CLK Black Series is part of a select group. “I’m not sure that anyone’s life is quite complete unless they have one,” said Clarkson in 2008. Praise indeed.
Alfa Romeo GTV6
According to Top Gear, in order to be classed as a true petrolhead, you must, at some point in your life, own an Alfa Romeo. For Clarkson, the choice was a GTV6 – the sweet-sounding Alfa with a wonderful Busso V6 engine.
Chump and Sons Ltd is an independent television production company founded and owned by Clarkson, Hammond, May and Andy Willman. Four Reliant Robins were acquired as company cars, including one owned by Clarkson.
In his book, Round the Bend, Clarkson claimed “I buy on the strength of a frameless window in a pillarless door”, which explains why he bought a Honda CRX. It’s one of a number of cars featuring a frameless window, including…
BMW 3.0 CSL
…a BMW 3.0 CSL. This must rank as one of Clarkson’s best purchases – and it stemmed from the days before he was famous. A GTV6, 600 Grosser, Escort Cosworth and a 3.0 CSL – what a selection!
Ford Cortina 1600E
Back in the day, the Ford Cortina 1600E was the choice of the connoisseur, featuring Rostyle wheels, a black vinyl roof and the engine from the 1600 GT. It also happened to be Clarkson’s first car.
Lotus Elise 111S
In his book, Driven to Distraction, Clarkson describes some of the cars owned by his wife. Of the Lotus Elise 111S, he said she sent it back for sports exhausts because it wasn’t loud enough. Brilliant.
- In pictures: the wackiest Top Gear challenge cars
- Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?
- The Grand Tour video game lets you race against Jeremy Clarkson