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A wise person once said: the only difference between men and their boys is the size of their toys. The BBC Top Gear gang seem determined to demonstrate this maxim in no uncertain terms. In previous editions, the guys have played “car darts” and “car bowls”, using whole cars and a gas-powered cannon of the kind used in movie car stunts. This week they borrowed a Boeing 747-400 from Virgin Atlantic, and used it to test how well various cars resisted crosswinds. “Not Very Well” is the answer, in the face of crosswinds like those from just two of the 747’s 55,000 lb GE Turbofans. At last they’re not afraid to make fools of themselves.

After bragging that he’s acquired one of the 28 Ford GT40s that will be sold in the UK, Jeremy Clarkson was subjected to a typical car park situation: the car’s doors overlap on to the roof, which means he can’t get in if there’s another car parked less than two feet away. (Cue shots of his rear end on the steering wheel, unable to turn around.) The way he drove while testing it, the car did about 4 miles per gallon (mpg) which, by their calculations, isn’t enough for Jezza to get from home to the Top Gear studios – just 76 miles – on one tank. Not that he cares: he’s been licking Ford’s boots since he tested one last year, and now he’s the cat that got the cream.

Aren’t I awfully enthusiastic about cars for someone who can’t drive at all? Just let me get settled, with a workshop of my own, and a few ideas I have bubbling around may end up on the road. They involve electric (or hybrid) cars, where I don’t think current DC motor models are efficient enough at getting power to the road: there are A.C. concepts I learned about years ago that are not being used today. I have some ideas for putting those into practice, but I can’t say any more until I actually try them.

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Written by brian t

July 18, 2004 at 9:28 pm

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