Top Gear Thursday: Defender of Three-Wheeled Car Strikes Back at Jeremy Clarkson

Watch out, Jeremy Clarkson!

 

Jeremy Clarkson has long made fun of the three-wheeled car known as the Reliant Robin. Clarkson jokes about them and has even rolled them over on Top Gear.

But one fan of the car has struck back. Bernard Reeves, 67, spent six months working on a Reliant Robin that his neighbor gave him – and he’s turned it into a military “machine of death” (our phrase) – complete with tank tracks and heavy artillery, including a three machine guns.

Reeves calls it the Rugged Robin.

“He kept on pushing them over,” Reeves told the Daily Mail of Clarkson’s jokes about the car. “He’s been so mean to them. So when the lady across the road gave me a Reliant I thought I would do something silly with it.”

• Top Gear UK reports on two Steve McQueen-related bits of car news this week. First, a 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing car that was used for the movie Le Mans is up for auction. Built in 1968, the car had a racing career before the 1971 movie, as well as appearances in vintage racing events after the film. In the film itself, it was used as the camera car.

The GT40 used as a camera car in the movie 'Le Mans'. (Top Gear)

Second, Ferrari has just reclaimed the 275 GTB4 that McQueen bought while he was starring in Bullitt, the 1968 movie famed for its car chases. “Clearly, 390 cubic inches of Ford Mustang V8 didn’t quell Steve McQueen’s insatiable appetite for horsepower,” writes Top Gear.

The Ferrari 275 GTB4 originally owned by Steve McQueen. (Top Gear)

Sometime in the 1980s one of the car’s owners apparently made modifications, turning it into a convertible, but Ferrari’s “Classiche” department is going to be restoring the car to its original factory-release state.

• Top Gear in Britain has just released this outtake of James May, aka Captain Slow, breaking a speed record with a Bugatti – a record he manages to hold for just about an hour.

• Richard Hammond is offering his support to a charity that provides information about childhood brain injuries. Hammond himself suffered neurological damage from a car crash in 2006. He said the Children’s Trust Brain Injury Hub will provide “families with the information they need and a forum to share their experiences. I’m proud to give it my backing.” (via Get Surrey)

• Jeremy Clarkson has videotaped a message to bicyclists participating in Help for Heroes Race Across America. The participants are eight wounded vets who are biking more than 3,000 miles here in the U.S.

• South Africa is prepared for Top Gear Live this weekend in Durban. Richard, James and Jeremy are bringing two big loop-the-loops with them, and the city is getting ready to honor one of its own automotive heroes, Durban-born McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray.

“The public might be surprised to know that one of the world’s most influential race-car designers comes from right here in KwaZulu-Natal,”  James Cooke-Priest, chief operations officer for Top Gear Live, told iol Motoring.

• On this week’s “lost” episode of Top Gear, Jeremy drives a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Richard takes out the Queen’s Rover P5 and The Stig compares a BMW M3 to the Audi S4. The show also looks at how the Liberal Democrats fare on a racetrack. And the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is chef Jamie Oliver.

• With the discovery of the lost season, BBC America has been able to futher fill in the photographic record of Top Gear‘s hosts. Here, or shall we say “hair,” is the result:

• Just so you know, BBC America’s own Asha Leo has definite petrol-head cred. Here’s a photo of The Brit List host posing with the Lamborghini Gallardo she drove in the Super Car Run in 2007.

Two beauties.

The five-day event took Asha from London’s Hyde Park to the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

• “I’m like Jeremy Clarkson,” Scottish singer Amy Macdonald tells the BBC. “I like all cars. It’s just a hobby of mine.” Even though she says “Slow It Down,” the song on her new album, is about her overall attitude to living her life, she still says she loves fast cars.

“I have a Ferrari 458,” Macdonald said, “which shocks a lot of people, especially when I get out of that, they usually expect older men to get out of it.”

The singer also wants to get a racing license.

“I’ve done a few track days,” she said, “and I’ve always felt exhilarated afterwards.”