01x09 - Berks to the Future: Stuttgart, Germany


Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


Danke. Danke und willkommen in der Grosse Tour which this week comes from Germany!


Ja. We're here. We're here.

Specifically... Specifically, we are in the city of Stuttgart.

Except we nearly weren't.

Because one of your local Green politicians tried to ban us from coming here.

I don't want to embarrass the poor man on television.

So I've hidden his identity.




That's good.

That's appropriate.

I certainly don't want to tell you his name.

Which is... Andreas Kasdorf.



Not a popular man. But you elected him.

Anyway, he says that we'd be unwelcome here because this is a very bicycle-friendly place.

It... It isn't. It's the home of Mercedes and Porsche.

And Germany -


- Exactly.


Germany is the cradle of the automobile. The car was actually invented here.

It's the last place on Earth you can drive a car as fast as it will go on the motorway.


It's true.

All true.

This is a true fact. This is a true fact.

The Germans are the only people on Earth who really know how to make a car.

This is-


It's a true fact.

It's true.

I'll tell you a story.

There was a Mercedes engineer and a Jaguar engineer having dinner one night.

The Mercedes engineer said, "Ve haf..."

Forgive the accent.

"Ve haf a quality test at ze Mercedes factory.

Every night, ve take a car off ze line at random.

Ve put a cat in it, close ze doors.

If... When ve come back in ze morning, ve know the door seals are vorking correctly if ze cat has suffocated."




The Jaguar engineer said, "We've got something very similar at our factory.

We take a car off the line at random.

We put a cat in it. We close the door.

And we know the car's been built properly if, when we come back in the morning, the cat hasn't escaped.


That is...

True story.

Yeah. True story.

The strange thing is, it isn't just cars that are built well here.

It's absolutely everything.

Except wine.

Yes, except wine. Sorry.


Well, come on!

Now come on!

You drink that stuff?

I wouldn't wash my hair in it.


Are you sure?

It is literally everything, though.

German soft toys, better than anybody else's soft toys.

Cameras, kitchen appliances.

The Queen of England, she's German.

She is. That's why she's still working even though she's a hundred and forty seventeen years old.

There is no word here for "that'll do".

There is no ambiguity at all in Germany.

You certainly see this with films.

The names you have for American films.

I've got some here. Remember Airplane?

Airplane, yes.

In Germany, it was called The Unbelievable Journey In The Crazy Airplane.

That is a comprehensive title.

You know where you are with that.

What was Jaws?


The what? The Weisse...?

The White Shark.

It should have been The Massive Shark That Explodes Eventually.

You know where you're going with that.

What was... What was Basic Instinct?


Just not A Brief Glimpse Of Sharon Stone's v*g1n*?

Shall we get on with the show?

Yes, good idea.

Because in tonight's car programme...

Richard walks a dog.

James hangs around a gym.

And I say "Good shot."

Good shot.

But before all that, I'd like to talk about the original Honda NSX.

We have a picture of it here.

When that car was launched in 1990, it was considered remarkable because it was fast and exciting like a Ferrari, but unlike a Ferrari of the time, it was also incredibly reliable and very, very easy to drive.

Honda killed that car off 12 years ago.

But finally, they've come up with a replacement.

So I've been down to our track to see what it's like.

This is it.

It costs ã138.000.

Around the same as a Porsche 911 Turbo S.

And it has the futuristic lines you would expect of a rare-breed Honda.

Power comes from a 3.5 litre twin-turbo V6.

Backed up by a squadron of electric motors.

Together, they give the NSX 573 horsepower.

So you would assume the performance is something to shout about.

Now, if you ask Honda for the technical information on this car, they will email you a file so enormous that it actually breaks the internet.

And yet, nowhere in it does it mention the 0-60 time.

They simply refuse to tell us what it is.

I know 0-60 times are irrelevant in the real world and they're rather childish, but look, this is a supercar.

It's top trumps, isn't it? It's important.

So I'm gonna find out what it is for you using this.

It is a data-o-logger.

Right. Put it in Track mode.

Here we go. Launch control.

Foot on the brake. Mash the pedal.




I'm not sure that was quite as neck-snapping as a Nissan GTR, but it wasn't far off.

Let's see what I did.


3.2 seconds 0-60.

Which means it isn't quite as fast as a McLaren 570S, or a 911 Turbo S, or a Ferrari 488 GTB.

That's why they're not mentioning it.

Honda is happy to quote the top speed.

Which is 191 miles an hour.

But that too is slower than its rivals from Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren.

So has the new NSX got anything in the performance department that makes it rise above its supercar peers?

Well, yes, actually.

Firstly, there are the brakes, which are fly-by-wire.

There is no physical connection to the pedal.

That's because they have to harvest energy to recharge the battery system.

It's a much cleverer version of that than you get on the Porsche 918, a car that costs five times as much.

Then there's the hybrid system.

It uses not one electric motor, as you might expect, but three.

And the way it uses them is well good.

The one at the back is the wingman for the petrol engine, filling the power gaps when the turbos lag.

This gives the NSX ballistic pick-up at any speed.

Look, instant shove. It's lovely.

But it's the two at the front that are the real party-piece because they drive a wheel each totally independently of each other.

Which means this car has a sort of space-age four-wheel drive.

And that means extraordinary things happen when you throw it into a corner.

So, as you approach a corner like this one, computers are measuring the speed, they're measuring G-force, steering input, and so forth.

They're adding power to the wheel or taking power away from the wheel as it's needed.

Then you get perfectly flat, perfectly controlled corners.

It is a bit like driving a Honda Civic!

There are people who would say that technology like this in a car, helping it feel secure, will make it dull.

But it doesn't feel dull to me.

It feels tremendous.

I'm going fast and I'm relaxing.

What's wrong with that?

But the futuristic four-wheel drive isn't the only piece of 23rd-century engineering on the NSX.

The aerodynamics, for example, are so clever, they can cool all the motors while providing vast amounts of grip-enhancing downforce to the front and rear wheels.

And it does all this without anything as old-fashioned as huge wings and spoilers.

It's not just the technology, which is brilliant, it's that that technology is on this car.

Yes, we have hybrid supercars.

We have the LaFerrari, the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918.

But they're in the million-pound bracket.

This is only an eighth of the price of the LaFerrari, and it's actually cleverer.


I love this.

I love the way it looks. I love the sounds it makes.

I like the sophistication of the hybrid drive.

I like the performance.

I like the steering. I like the interior.

I really, really like it.

And I find myself wanting one quite badly.

The original NSX made owning a supercar less painful and less expensive.

This has done the same for the hybrid supercar.

It really is a worthy successor.



James, Honda...

Honda took ten years to develop that car. - And?

Ten years is an enormous amount of time to do a car.

You can't criticise something because people spent too long on it.

People aren't gonna say "I'm not gonna look round Cologne cathedral.

They took 600 years to build it!"


Anyway, I love it. I love that car.

Anyway, look, we've heard what you've got to say about the NSX.

Now it's time to hand it over to a man who thinks that...

Well, potted plants are a Communist plot.

Yep. Here he comes. It's the American!

Come to England. sh1t weather. sh1t beer.

Jeremy: And he's off!

Clearly in a tremendous mood.

But it is very wet out there.

Wipers flapping away as he powers onto the Isn't Straight.

Looking good.

Where I come from, this thing's badge is inaccurate.

Kind of like a loser's Cadillac.

And yet, strangely, we're still waiting for Cadillac's hybrid supercar.

Right, now, flying into Your Name Here, this really is a good day to have four-wheel drive.

I'm sure even the American can appreciate the Honda's hi-tech features.

What is this Space Invaders sh1t?

Jeremy: Clearly not.

Right, full power for the Isn't again.

Electric ain't for engines. It's for lights and chairs.

Jeremy: He is not a modern man, is he?

Right, carving through the standing water.

Into Old Lady's House.

Slithering about a bit.

Now he's leaning on it for the Unsettled section.

Past the hangars and up to Sub Station.

Hard on those wi-fi brakes for the second-to-last corner.

How's he gonna manage through here?

Yes, stepping out a bit under power.

Through Field Of Sheep, keeping it tidy through there, and across the line!



Right, let's see now where the NSX goes on our lap board.

Let's have a look.


Oh, dear, James.



Why didn't you tell us it was very slow?

It's streaming wet!

So hang on a minute.

We've had a review from a tortoise and a wet lap.

Which means we've learnt precisely nothing.

Um... Yeah, you're right. Nothing at all.

Nothing at all.

So let's move on.

Yes, let's do that by popping some loose change in the ticket machine so we can park awhile on Conversation Street.



OK, now...

I've got some conversation.


Last night at midnight, there was alarm in Stuttgart.

The Green Party that runs the city asked everyone here not to use wood-burning stoves and not to drive their car today.


Because of the smog.


Am I making this up?

There it is.


I can't...

I can't imagine anything clearer.

That is... That is gin-clear, but according to the Green Party...

I'm not making this up.

You're all from Stuttgart, yes?

There is an alarm today because of the smog.



Where is it?

How clear is it on a good day?

We've got a photograph here of Beijing on now.

Let us compare and contrast...


.. Beijing on a smoggy day with Stuttgart on a...

Not the same.

.. a smoggy day.

Can I just ask, what would you have done if they'd have actually ordered you not to drive cars?

At the moment, it's an advisory.

If they said you are banned from driving cars, what would you have done?

Come on the train? That's unbelievable.

But this is the thing that we don't really understand about Germany.

Once something becomes a rule, it is a rule.

I once had a very interesting conversation with two friends of mine.

One is from California and one is from Germany.

We were talking about losing your driving licence.

The Californian said, "In Germany, what would happen if you lost your licence and then you drove your car?"

The German said, "No, you cannot do this."


He says, "I know you're not supposed to, but what if you did?"

He said, "No. You cannot drive. You have no licence."


The Californian went, "Yeah, man, "but late one night, you just... hell, you go for a drive."

The German went, "It is impossible to drive without a licence!"



There's an interesting thing I discovered here.

On a motorway, obviously you can drive as fast as you like.

You get people sometimes, not often, cos your lane discipline is unbelievable, but sometimes they sit in the outside lane just dawdling.

If you tailgate them... OK? I've got the fines here.

You get a 400 euro fine, two penalty points, and a three-month ban for tailgating.

That is extreme. Ouch!


But if you overtake them on the inside, just go past them on the inside, that's a 150 euro fine, and one point.

Well, there you go.

No. This is where it gets really good.

If you go on the hard shoulder to overtake, the emergency lane, that's also one point but only a 90 euro fine.

There's your answer. That's what you do!

No, no.

No, because... Aha. You may think that.

But if you fit your car with blue lights, flashing blue lights, basically, you turn you car into a police car, you get... I've got the point fines here.

20 euro fine and no points at all!

What? You're joking!


No, you don't understand.

That is true.

That is very strange to our ears.

Cos if you tried that at home in the UK, you would be charged with impersonating a police officer, and you would never get out of prison, ever.

People say Germans have no sense of humour.

If you want to know what no sense of humour is, impersonate a policeman in Britain.

Then you'll know what no sense of humour is.

Right, that is the end of Conversation Strasse.


We all like the idea of a sports utility vehicle.

A car that can handle the Australian outback at the weekend and then set a new lap record at Hockenheim on a Monday morning.

But even the German car-makers can't seem to make the concept work.

We've got this from Audi. The RS Q3.

Which is a dismal car.

BMW have the X4, I think that's called.

Don't want one of those, either.

Mercedes have this horrible monster.

They're all just rubbish.

And let me guess. You have a solution.

Yes, I do.

Oh, God.

Yes, I do. A car that is both sporty and utilitarian.

This will be good.

Ye of little faith. Watch this.

Jeremy: This is a Land Rover Discovery doing utilitarian things in Britain's muddy underbelly.

And obviously a machine like this cannot possibly be converted into a sports car.

Or can it?

First of all, we have to remove this rather ungainly body.

You can't do that with a modern car because the body is the chassis. It's the skeleton.

If you take it away, you're left with nothing more than a collection of unjoined-up parts.

However, you can remove the body on an old Discovery like this, using nothing more than one of these.


After just 40 minutes with no help from anyone else, I ended up with this.

Obviously it's still utilitarian.

It will still wade through rivers and crawl its way up muddy banks.

But now there's a... a sporty flavour as well.

Without the heavy body, it feels nimble, agile, light.

If it weren't for the fact that the windscreen is now very close to my face, it would feel like a Lamborghini Gallardo.

The only real problem with this is that Britain is a police state, and if I took this on a public road, I'd be stopped immediately by the constabulary who would point out that I was contravening about...

4.870 different laws.

It's not warm, either.

Oh, no, that's stupid!

Happily, both these problems would be solved when I fitted it with the body from a sports car.

And this is the sports car I've gone for.

A 1978 MGB.

Highly-trained men are now removing its skin which will then be mated in a delicate two-hour operation... to the internal organs of the mud-plugging V8.

The following morning my incredible car was ready.

It is incredible that in a shed I have created something which has... eluded the combined might of the motor industry.

It is a proper sports utility vehicle.

I call it the MGD, and now I'm going to find out how well it works on a road.

This is... magnificent.

And it is quick. Oh, yeah.

To demonstrate just how quick, I'm going to do a drag race against the motor industry's idea of an SUV.


Little bit of play there.


Let's do this.

Come on! Yes, look at this.

The 1.5-litre diesel... is no match for the 3.9-litre V8 MGD.

Come on, Pride of Britain!

Yes! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Ah... ah... ah.

Oh, God.

The brakes don't work.

With the performance box ticked, I continued my testing.

In many ways, the MGD puts me in mind of an Audi R8 Spyder.

I mean, OK, in the Audi, the dials would work.

And the switches. And the brakes.

And the steering.

And it's a bit less bouncy, but... both of them are four-wheel-drive, two-seater, drop-head V8s.

There is, however, one very big difference between the two cars.

You can't do this in an Audi.

Oh, yes. Yes.

Moments ago I was haring round a handling track, and now look.

(CHUCKLES) It's brilliant.

Oh, no! Not now, you b*st*rd.


I mean, you wonderful thing.

Choke. Oh.

Yeah, that...


It's on its shutdown thing.

It's just to save fuel, it goes on two cylinders sometimes.


Once the engine management thingy had run its... diagnostic program, I was back on the move.

Here we go.


Mighty four-wheel-drive system hauling me up that.


What the hell?

Argh! Aargh!

I'm stopping. Stopping.

Oh, Lord, that is not right, is it?

As I got going for the second time, I realised I'd been a bit of a chump.

The mistake I've made, of course, is that I've introduced you to this car before I've really tested it.

That's not what car-makers do.

They test a car and then show it to the press and the public.

I'm doing that the other way round.

I'm introducing this to you before I've done the testing and...


Oh, for Christ's sake.


You little beauty.

Er, now, yes, what was I saying?

I think the issue is really you're watching my workings-out here.

What you really want to see is the finished product.

That's what I should have done.

Oh, Christ's sake.



At this point, I decided, for no particular reason, to scrap the MG idea and go for something else instead.

This is what I chose.

A 1980s Mercedes SL.

Partly because it's the very essence of quiet, urban restraint, taste and elegance.

It's a car that was driven by Bobby Ewing in Dallas.

Mostly, though, I chose it because it would fit more snugly on the Discovery chassis.


This time, the men worked tirelessly for nearly a whole day to marry the two cars and the result was spectacular.

It's a car I have justifiably called...

The Excellent.

The internal organs from a Landrover Discovery mated to the beautiful skin of a glamorous Mercedes SL.

To create a vision of pure...

What's the word?

Others: Rubbish.

It's not rubbish.

Richard: Did you paint it with a brush or a bucket?

It's got those headlights that swivel when you go round a bend.

So they point at the road.

OK, let me ask you this.

Which would you rather have?

The Excellent or that Porsche?

Both: That Porsche.


Because it's better in every single way.

To prove my cynical colleagues wrong, I invited them to go for a drive.

Oh, kind.

See? It's an optional extra for the shorter gentleman.

Are you comfy, Hammond?


Is this as in as I can get?


Right, listen to this.


Oh, no, it moves!

We'd only gone a few miles before Richard and James completely changed their minds and realised that The Excellent was the best car they'd ever been in.

No, we haven't. Stop saying things in voiceover that aren't true.

I thought you'd changed your mind.

No! Maybe a bit. It's worse than I thought.

Can I put the heater on?

That's not connected.

Is it not?


What's that dial down there?


Why have you got that one, not that one?

That doesn't work.

Has it got a fuel gauge?

Not as such.

Has it got a temperature gauge?

Not really.

There's a lot of wires hanging out of the dash that aren't connected to things.

You haven't given it an interior.


Richard: I can see the road.

Jeremy: I can as well.

Richard: No, there's a hole in the floor.

While Hammond and May had one or two minor issues, they both agreed that if I were to put my car into production, it would make me a fortune.

No, we didn't agree to that, either.

Jeremy: Look, I've done the maths. Honestly.

The Discovery was £2,500.

Mercedes £4,500. £7,000 for the work.

That's 14,000 quid. I could sell this for £120.000.

No, you couldn't.

Yes, I could.

A Cayenne Turbo is 120.

A Cayenne Turbo is a proper car built by Porsche.

This is two scrap cars glued together by a Muppet.

It isn't designed for people like you.

What, people with eyes?

People who can dress themselves in the morning?

Jeremy: I'll tell you exactly who will buy this car.

People who use roundy-ended scissors.


No, they won't.

Footballers like Ferraris.

Yeah, and Bentleys and Range Rovers.

And Aston Martins.

Not this thing.

To prove them wrong again, I decided to head for the nearby Chelsea training ground.

These are people who understand cars, not like you two.

James: Yeah, they understand cars, that's why they buy Range Rovers and Aston Martins.

Jeremy: They buy those things cos they didn't know that you could do this.

I like my car.

Richard: It's sh1t.

They're flocking to it, aren't they?

You just watch.

Do you mind if I go and stand next to something else?

Soon some players arrived, which gave Richard and James a chance to show off their footballing knowledge.

You're really tall. You should play in goal.

Yeah, I do, I play in goal.

I'm the goalkeeper.

I know that.

What part of Chelsea are you from?

I'm from Belgium.


How do you know they're footballers?

Well, do you not recognise them?

They're in football outfits.

He doesn't recognise you.

Where's... Where's Alex Ferguson?

Why don't we ask him?

At this point I dismissed my ignorant colleagues so that I could operate the subtitle machine.


Can you do keepy-uppy?


Take a shot at me.

Well, that's ridiculous. What can I do with that?

You're supposed to jump.

...flipping horrific.

So you've butchered a classic car?

Right, watch this. Little toss...


You need to think of...






Having established that all top professional footballers loved my car, we got back on the road.

Did you get any orders?

I noticed that the car park was still full of Mercedes G-Class.

I saw that.


I could put this into an auction, one of those posh, up-market ones, and it would sell for ã120.000.

It would not!

To prove them wrong again...


Gentlemen, people are examining...

Richard: Yeah, they are the organisers.

James: They're wondering about their carpet.

"Handcrafted by a renowned British atelier... sympathetically marries the chassis with..."

Did you write this?

Course I wrote it.

"The interior would benefit from some minor attention."

Well, it would.

With a hand grenade.

Lot number 132.

Soon the auction was under way.

Ferrari 308 GTB, at ã118.000.

Lot number 127, start me with this at 300.000.

And many of the punters were happy to pay six-figure sums for the cars on offer.

At 270.000.

285 for the Countach.

The Countach just went for ã285.000.

I think I'm gonna sell The Excellent for more than that.

And then it was time.

Moving on to lot number 138A.

The Excellent.

It's a fantastic handcrafted, very unusual machine, as you can see.

I don't want you...

Beautiful, stylish Mercedes Benz coachwork.

Very unusual, unique...


Here for sale this afternoon.

Start me if you will on this at...


At ã425...

Any advance at 400?

ã500. 550 anywhere?

Richard: Somebody's bid?

600 here.

650. 650. 700 now.

We're rattling up.

Auctioneer: 700 here. 700. 800 now.

Let's go for 1.000.


Let's get going. Come on, let's sell this car.

ã1.000 here on my right.

Are you bidding?


Jeremy, are you bidding?

Auctioneer: 2.000 if you wish.

It's 2.000 and five. Two, five.

3.000 now. It's 3.000 here. Three, five anywhere?

Three, one.

At 3.100.


At ã3.500.

It cost me 14.000.


At ã4.000...

At ã4.000. any more?


At ã4.000.

Come and see us after.

You just lost ten grand.

He could have just thrown it down the lavatory.



It was rubbish.

Hold on.

You were bidding on your own car.


Well, a bit. I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

But even then it didn't work because you only sold it for four grand.

It cost you 14.000 to make so you cost our production company ã10.000.

No, no, not true.

I put a reserve on it.

What reserve?



So it didn't sell at all, which means you cost us ã14.000?

Well, yes, but we've ended up with The Excellent.

No, we're stuck with The Excellent.

It's really difficult to know, working with you, things like this, is it ambition or are you a lunatic?

Sadly there isn't time to answer that question, because it's time to play Celebrity Brain Crash.


Our guest this week is a local girl who is responsible for one of my all time favourite pop songs, 99 Red Balloons.

She is a singer, she's an armpit hair enthusiast and she's an all- round good sport.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Nena!


Where is she?

I've got no idea. Um...

Oh. Oh, no...

It's hard to see through the smog, but yes, that is...

Oh, no.

What's happened here is...

Nena... yes, she's been carried away by 99... red balloons.

Oh, no.



Does that mean she's not coming on, then?

Well, James, she's floated up into the stratosphere, her eyelids have frozen over and her lungs are inside out.

So that is a no.

It's OK, though.

We anticipated that Nena may float away.

We have a back-up plan. We'll activate it. You sit down.

You see, the thing is... that more and more stuff, these days, is being powered by rechargeable batteries.

You know, phones, laptops. That sort of thing.

And this is giving the world a bit of a problem.

Because in Britain, our power companies only produce five per cent more power than we need.

We're only just coping.

It's actually worse in the United States cos they produce 16% less than they actually need, which means they have to import electricity.

So what is gonna happen as more and more people are buying and using electric cars?

We're gonna need more power. We may not be able to cope.

The solution, you may think, is to build more power stations.

But if you even suggest that, weird-beard environmentalists run around waving their arms in the air, going, "What about the polar bear and the bats and the newt?"

Anyway, the point is we are going to need more and more power to charge the batteries in our phones, laptops and cars.

Where are we gonna get it from?

This got us thinking.

How much electricity could we possibly generate every day just during our normal lives?

And what if we could harness it in some way?

James: This is an office block in the centre of London.

Like many office blocks, it has a revolving door, which spins constantly as people come and go.

So, why not simply connect that door to a generator and turn all that spinning into electricity?

Richard: And it's not just revolving doors, either.

Many of us have dogs and every day we take those dogs for a walk.

A dog scampers hither and thither, running ahead and snouting under hedgerows.

So why not attach it to a trailer like this?

Dog pulls the trailer along.

Inside this wheel is a dynamo.

It makes electricity, goes along these wires and into this capacitor, and when that dial reads 100%, I'm charging my phone, So, dog's harnessed.

That was easy. Attached to the trailer.

All I've got to do is set her going.

And I've even planned for that. So, here we go.



Yeah! Your favourite!


Maybe this dog's broken?

Meanwhile, back in London, James was charging his phone from a contraption he'd fitted to the revolving door.

And even Jeremy had decided to get in on the action.

Jeremy: This school sports day, in my mind, is a power station.

All we have to do is fit the children with harnesses and I could have this charged up in no time at all.


Here we go!

Straightaway we can see that charge is being produced.

Not much, but some.

Come on, all of you! Come on!

Put your back into it! Catch him! Chop-chop!

This is the work of a genius.

Richard: Back in the countryside, I'd mended my dog and things were going well here too.

As you can see, the dog is now running, the wheels are turning, electricity is being generated.

He's basically a four-legged Sellafield!

Sadly, however, in London, it was the middle of the day and no one had been using James's door.

As a result, his phone was dying.

So he had to get radical.




Richard: Apart from a couple of hiccups...


You'll have to put a little bit more effort in than that.

...everything was going well.

The power was flooding in.

Oh, yes!


And we were forced to conclude that it had been a successful day for all of us.

Well, when I say all of us...

No. Look, listen.

I can see why you're here. Um...

Obviously, fitting children with harnesses and then videoing them, and they're not my children...

I got... I got 45% charge in my phone.

I got 41% charge.

I got a different sort of charge.

Anyway, since we had proved - well, Hammond and I had proved - that it was possible to charge up a telephone-

I began to wonder if we could charge up a car using nothing more than vanity.


James: In London alone, there are over 750 gyms, and every day they are full of people picking things up and putting them down again so they can be more attractive.

So why not use all this colossal effort?

Let's harness it!

And that's exactly what we have done.

Ten of the machines in this gym have been connected to a device which produces a smooth flow of electricity that's sent outside to this G- Wiz in the car park.

Right now the battery is flat.

So I'm going to plug it in and then after eight hours, we'll see how far I can drive on electricity that's been generated in there.

Come on, you're slacking.

Right. Unplug from the gym.

Let's see how far we go.

Look at this. This is epic because I'm driving along in a car, sort of.

No fossil fuel has been burned, and no atoms have been split.

Nothing's been fracked up.

Look, there's a man pushing that pushchair.

Stick a little dynamo on that, kid gets some fresh air, I get more battery charge.

It's difficult to see who loses from this arrangement.

I get a trip home, effectively for nothing, the people going to the gym feel good, look good, they become healthier, the NHS saves money, cos people are less likely to have strokes and what have you.

If one person in a hundred gets a free gy...

Hang on.

I was enjoying driving on pedal and cross-trainer power!


And with that, I think it's back to the tent.


James... James May, how far did you get after eight hours of charging?

Actually, it was better than I expected.

I did 21 miles.

Hang on, though. To get from our office in London to my home in nearly Wales, that's 130 miles, 21 miles at...

So six stops at gyms, eight hours a time, and the actual driving, it would take me three days to get home!

Or, Hammond, just an idea, you could maybe get a petrol-powered car, put some petrol in it, and be home in two hours.

That's a better... I'm gonna do that.

Yes. So there we are.

That's the future, and it's made of petrol.

So we've addressed that nicely.

Moving on...


There are people all over the world who believe we are permanently on the verge of nuclear war, alien invasion or zombie attack.

It isn't a niche thing.

There's 120.000 of these people at least.

They call themselves preppers.


Shut up.


And these preppers, in order to prepare for an extinction-level event, stock their homes with essential supplies, they go out into the woods and practise tactics, and they create what they call bug-out cars.

They're brilliant. Here is one. Look.

Look at that!

Yeah! I know!

No, Hammond, that is not brilliant.

It is.

Are you saying we can prepare for a nuclear attack by putting some spikes on the wheels of a Hyundai?

What if the nuclear attack comes from the back of the Hyundai?

All you're gonna do with that car is snag your jumper on it.

Oh, don't be so negative.

In this show you have wasted 14.000 of our pounds on your stupid Mercedes car.

You have wasted all of our time with your sweat-powered electric car.

This is my thing. Let me do it.

You do realise there's no such thing as a zombie, don't you?

Don't spoil it for him.


I like the idea of being a prepper, so I thought I'd have a go at making my own bug-out car.


This is what I came up with.

It started life as a VW campervan, high-top version.

But I've stripped it of its hippie heritage to turn it into a vehicle that can bare its teeth in a dangerous, post-apocalyptic world.

And I love it!

I'm so unbelievably pleased with this thing.

I feel invincible, ready, prepared.

Which is hardly surprising, given the modifications I've made.

At the front, a battering ram.

You can be pretty sure the roads won't be clear.

The ram itself is fitted with spikes for fending off zombies at close quarters.

Then, up top, a bank of powerful rally lights to cut through the murky soup of a nuclear winter.

Of course, not everyone I meet will be friendly.

So, up here... weapons rack.

Everything I need to defend myself against cannibals and zombies.

Round here, water. Essential.

Subtle stuff too. I don't want to stand out, hence the camouflage paint.

But perhaps most importantly, the whole of my bug-out campervan has been armour-plated.

I really have thought of everything!

No, you haven't!

All you've done is ruined a perfectly good campervan.

No, I haven't! It's brilliant.

It's bullet-proof all over!

Bullet-proof? Is it?


Is it?

Yes, it is.

Oh, yeah, sounds like it.

Tanks feel like that.

OK, then, these are guns. Use them.

What, on you?

No, on the van. Shoot it.

Are we ready, gentlemen?


Ha! Didn't go through!


Just chipped the paint. That's all you've done.

Yes. Hammond?


What you're suggesting is these aliens, they're going to travel trillions of miles using a propulsion system that we can't even conceive and then they're going to try and take over the world using .177 air rifles?

Well, if they do, I shall be ready for them.

Especially given what I've done in here.

Inside, I've turned this once- humble campervan into literally the highest-tech command centre imaginable.

Up front, carbon dioxide scrubbers, just like the ones on Apollo 13.

They will purify the air, even in case of radiation.

And you can measure that radiation on these systems up here.

Water. You may not be able to find it.

Need to make it. It's essential.

I've fitted a system that recycles urine.

Basically you do your number ones up there.

Operate the pumps.

They send the results up, across, and into the water purification system.

It emerges from that as purest drinking water.

Food. I'm gonna need it. I've got a chicken.

It lays eggs. They go in there.

And perhaps best of all, the paté de foie gras of the bug-out community-chicken soup.

I love all this. Setting out into the wilderness in my little house on wheels, knowing I've got everything I need, whatever happens.

What the...?

Am I penetrating his bulletproof armour?

Yes. And his food.


Oh! That's my own urine!

Are you two doing this?

Yes, he is!

I'd get out of the way if I were you.

The trouble with the chicken is, it moves around, making this a...


Oh, good idea!

Isn't it!

Right, reloading, James. Reloading.


Oh, yes!


Good shot.

Not bad, was it?

Sort of game over now, really.



It wasn't game over, though, because I went back to the drawing board and started again.

Three months' work.

I've used the same basic interior set-up, but I've completely re-thought the armour plating, so that whatever those two have...


Now, this is a Scimitar light reconnaissance tank.

It's small, it's quite fast, and it's quite manoeuvrable.

Its job is to skip around the battlefield like a goat and find stuff.

Now, look at Hammond, running around in a mad panic.

He thinks I'm gonna shoot him, but I'm not.

I'm just here to mark him with a laser.

He's gonna shoot him.

Yes, this is a Challenger 2 main battle tank.

And this really is a bug-out vehicle.

It's certainly a lot better than, I don't know, a Hyundai with spikes on the wheels.

It'll totally protect its occupants from radiation, nuclear fallout, gas, even a direct hit, thanks to its incredible armour, from any known battlefield weapon.

Then there's this gun, which is - there's no other word - enormous!

120mm. And it could hit a target - let's say Richard Hammond's van - while the tank itself is doing 30mph over rough ground.

I think, though, today I shall fire while stationary because I want to savour the moment.

OK, thank you, chaps. If we could stop there...

Right, going down.

Roger. Going down.

Oh, dear!

I've loaded the gun with a high-explosive shell.

It's a tracer shell, so we'll be able to monitor its progress as it arcs toward the target.

Oh, Commander Clarkson, this is fantastic!

I can see him right there. Have you got him?


You bastards!

Oh, just put him out of his misery, will you?


I'm not sure his bug-out vehicle was quite as strong as he may have led you to believe.


Many months later, I was ready to unveil my third attempt... an impregnable fortress.

Oh, yeah!

This is bug-out heaven!

I've used as my inspiration the armoured personnel carrier from Aliens, on the basis that if it can protect Sigourney Weaver from that metal bitey thing with teeth, it can keep me safe from Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

Underneath this beast are the basic elements of an Alvis Stalwart.

So it was already armour-plated, amphibious, massively powerful, six-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.

And what I've gone and done is improve it.


It's got a honeycombed lattice work of ceramic-steel armour plating.

It's three times thicker than the armour you'll find on the turret of an Abrams A1M1 tank.

In testing, I fired a 7.62 round at that hull, and all it left was a mark like that one.

This thing is incredible.

Whatever those two are planning this time, it won't work.

They won't be able to damage my soup now.


James: Drone feed stabilised.

Vehicle spotted in the open.

45 stand by to engage target.

45 stood to engage target.

This shell... is twice as powerful as the shell we fired from the tank.

And it can hit a target 13 miles away.

Loading weapon.

Hot room, gun loaded. Gun ready.

Fire mission, target number Uniform Tango 1805.

Altitude 35.

Direction 4600.

Gun target line 130. Ready 68.

Command approve.

45. Engage.

Command approve. 45. Fire.

They're bored. They've realised I'm unhurtable... and given up.

Five seconds to impact.

They probably think it's really funny.

They probably think I'm out here all...

45. Target destroyed.





Now, we went through the wreckage afterwards and this is all that remains of Richard Hammond.

He's just dust, and we know it is Hammond because we found this suspiciously white tooth...


...in it. That's...


That's him.

That's him.

So, there you are, preppers.

The tragic remains of Richard Hammond are proof positive that your hobby is utterly pointless.

You spilled him!

Spilt him on the floor.

Now you've got him all over your shoes.

I know. Even when he's dust, he's annoying.



On that terrible disappointment, it is time to end.

He's pretty much gone now.

Thank you very much for watching.

See you next time. Goodbye!