“Chris Evans cracks me up. He’s going to be going on and on about how cars were better in the old days. I’m here to tell you they weren’t. They sucked.”
Not our words, the words of Matt LeBlanc – the surprise hit of the not-so-new series of Top Gear. His delightfully deadpan delivery is in stark contrast to the too-many-Haribos approach of Chris Evans.
LeBlanc was speaking at the wheel of a new Rolls-Royce Dawn, following Evans, who just happened to be driving a Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible.
The Corniche was, to all intents and purposes, a two-door version of the hugely successful Silver Shadow, available as both a coupe and convertible. The Top Gear example was built in 1978 and has covered a mere 13,275 miles since new.
The Dawn, on the other hand, is the latest addition to the Rolls-Royce range. It’s powered by the same 6.6-litre V12 you’d find in the Wraith, but Rolls-Royce is keen to point out that 80% of the body panels are unique.
So don’t call it a Rolls-Royce Wraith convertible. But is the Dawn superior to the Corniche? Sounds like LeBlanc and Evans have already made up their minds.
From Geneva to Hollywood
From a pair of high Rollers on the coast of Ireland, to a historic journey to Geneva. The Jaguar E-Type famously made its debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, where it caused quite a stir.
But that was not before test driver Norman Dewis drove through the night to deliver an E-Type in time for the show. He left Coventry at 7pm and arrived just in time, allowing 20 minutes for a quick pre-show spruce-up.
This week’s episode sees Rory Reid retracing Norman’s steps, only this time he’s at the wheel of a Jaguar F-Type SVR. The hardcore F-Type was launched at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show and is able to hit 200mph. It’s fair to say the E-Type was quick, but not that quick.
Meanwhile, fresh from emerging as the best thing since sliced bread, Chris Harris grabs the keys to the new BMW M2. The baby Bimmer is a pint-size M3/M4, delivering 370hp from its 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged engine.
We expect, nay insist, on some sideways action, Mr Harris.
This week’s Stars in a Rallycross Car are comedian Jennifer Saunders and The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood. And to think the critics claimed the show would struggle to find Hollywood A-listers in the post Clarkson years…
The word on social media street is that, after a shaky start, Top Gear is finding its feet. Matt LeBlanc providing the glue that sticks the show together and Messrs Harris and Reid adding genuine insight, knowledge and enthusiasm.
Final episode: 3rd July
A quick heads-up regarding the final episode in the series. If England manage to see off Iceland in their Euro 2016 Last 16 match (and it’s a big if), they will play their quarter-final match at 8pm on Sunday 3rd July.
In the knowledge that some folk might want to watch some cars and the football, the BBC will shift Top Gear to 6.30pm on BBC2 to avoid a clash. If England lose, Top Gear will air at the normal time. Got that?